The Big Ideas Generators Project: the story so far…

The Big Ideas Generators (BIG) project is a libraries-based programme supporting innovation and enterprise across 10 Greater Manchester library authorities. […]

The Big Ideas Generators (BIG) project is a libraries-based programme supporting innovation and enterprise across 10 Greater Manchester library authorities. Since its launch in mid-June 2017, there have been 106 activities across the region:
• 40 1-2-1 information surgeries
• 42 workshops
• 24 flagship events

9 of these activities took place in Bolton, reaching 43 people who wanted to learn more about setting up their own business or using technology in an enterprising way.

1-2-1 Information Surgeries

Delivered by the BIG team, these have been very successful, highlighting the gap in business support for people with early stage ideas that need somewhere to conceptualise them further. Offering these appointments allows people the opportunity to talk through ideas in a friendly, approachable environment. A member of the team helps to identify information resources and organisations to help with:
• business plans
• protecting your intellectual property
• developing your idea
• researching the market
• online and digital business

Feedback on these has been very positive:
Most helpful, as usual.
Interesting and informative.


These are small group learning sessions delivered by the BIG team. Topics covered here in Bolton include:
• Twitter for Beginners
• Cloud for Business: Your Mobile Office
• 3D Printing
• Free Online Tools

Responses or these sessions have also been overwhelmingly good:
Really useful, informative and interesting!
Covered everything I wanted to know re: Twitter

Photo credit: Tony Cottam, Bolton at Home. 2017

“Flagship” events

These are designed to be one-off larger events, delivered by commissioned partners such as Noise Orchestra, MadLab, DigiEnable and others.  Events run in Bolton include:
• Deciding on the Right Business Idea for You
• Building a Noise Machine with Noise Orchestra

These have been very well attended in Bolton, again with very positive feedback:
Very informative! A friendly and helpful tutor always helps.

Business Support

We have also worked with a number of business support agencies in the region who have been keen to get involved with the project. For example Business Bolton, the GM Business Growth Hub, LearnDirect and Bolton at Home have attended some of our events and workshops, offering appointments to attendees ready to access additional advice.

Monitoring and evaluation

The BIG team have been monitoring the progress of the project across all the GM libraries involved: so far over 500 places have been taken. There has been some dropout from bookings and, whilst this is inevitable for activities without a charge, interestingly this is decreasing as the project goes on, particularly at the 1-2-1 sessions.

It’s also worth noting that these figures only reflect two months of the project’s delivery!

We’ve also been reaching our inclusion targets:

• 60% of attendees are women
• 30% are from BAME communities

And overall, satisfaction levels are high:
• 93% were Very Satisfied with the Quality of Presenter
• 90% said they were Very Satisfied with the Inspirational content

Still to come…

Over the next couple of weeks we will be running workshops on using the online resource COBRA for market research and business information, marketing via social media and blogging for profit. Later in the year we will doing more with our 3D printer and looking at running a business online.

For more information, you can check out our page here.

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