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Food Mania and Manchester's Central Library

Manchester central library

Manchester’s Central Library has a great history. Back in 1850, the Public Libraries Act was passed and in 1852 Manchester was the first local authority to provide a public lending and reference library – the opening was attended by none other than Charles Dickens! The current building (as pictured) was the result of a Council design competition and based on the Pantheon in Rome. It was opened in 1934 and has recently been refurbished.

At Just Bee, we love using the central library. There is a Business and IP (Intellectual Property) Centre which provides lots of useful research resources and support for local businesses. A few weeks ago, the IP Centre got in touch and asked if I’d like to be involved with its latest programme, Food Mania. The aim is to provide mentoring to people that are thinking about starting a food business; the mentors would be local entrepreneurs and business owners.
Food Mania event

This was very exciting to me, as one of my favourite pass-times is brainstorming business ideas, sharing my business journey, and helping people get their ideas off the ground. It’s no surprise we went on Dragons Den a few years ago!

When I arrived, there were seven other mentors including the Chairman of Booths supermarket, the MD of Runaway Brewery and Founder of Yettis Kitchen – all really interesting people with a wealth of knowledge and experience in business. 

The session was a little like ‘speed dating’, where budding entrepreneurs would have 10-15 minutes at each of the mentors’ tables to discuss their idea and ask questions. It was truly inspiring hearing people’s plans and it reminded me how challenging it can be to juggle a full-time job and start a business at the same time!

If you’d like to read more about the National Business and IP Centre, go to or follow on Twitter @BIPCGM

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