City Business Library reaches out to SMEs and start-ups during lockdown

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic upon business start-ups and small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in London and across the UK is being addressed by online services from the City Business Library.

The City of London Corporation-owned library, which is based in the Guildhall complex and currently closed due to Government advice on the outbreak, is offering online access to a wide range of business information and market research data.

The team of business advisers is encouraging people to make use of its extensive networks to help them plan for the future, for example, by starting or growing a business during the lockdown.

City Business Library’s services include:

  • Business advice

City Business Library is offering free 30-minute ‘bitesize’ video meetings with the in-house Business Adviser Team for anyone seeking advice and guidance on starting a business.

  • Access to reliable business information and market research data

During the lockdown, CBL membership sign-ups are continuing to provide remote access to a wide range of business information and market research data for customers who are looking to utilise their time at home to carry out business research. The CBL team is also emailing key information to customers, upon request, and supporting them remotely to interpret the data in order to make tangible future decisions for their business.

  • Free COVID-19 industry impact statements and outlooks for SMEs

CBL is working with several database suppliers to provide reliable business information to a large audience of SMEs and business start-ups. MarketLine and IBISWorld are major business research suppliers that are available remotely as part of the CBL subscription membership. However, in order to reach a wider audience and to support SMEs across the UK, both suppliers are creating free COVID-19 impact statements and outlooks. These reports focus on the economic impact of COVID-19 upon the UK and global industries and will help SMEs understand how this pandemic will affect their business, as well as assist them with their contingency planning.

  • City Business Library supporting and promoting the Mayor of London’s ‘Pay it Forward London’ Crowdfunding scheme.

CBL is working with the Greater London Authority to support the Mayor of London ‘Pay it Forward London’ initiative (, which aims to support small businesses to secure much-needed funds through the Crowdfunder website. Communities are being asked to support their local businesses with cash donations, in return for vouchers, goods, or services post lockdown. City Business Library has shared this scheme widely to its networks, and on social media.

CBL has also used its connections and partnerships to support London Councils to provide accurate company data, so that it could effectively contact local businesses about COVID-19 business grants.

Wendy Hyde, Chairman of the City of London Corporation’s Culture, Heritage and Libraries Committee, said:

City Business Library has always been passionate about helping a wide range of businesses to start and grow across London and the UK, regardless of the sector or size.

“From high-growth firms to side businesses, CBL is open to everyone and there has, arguably, never been a greater need for its valued services.”

Alexandra Leader, Manager, City Business Library, said:

“As a result of COVID-19, many business start-ups and SMEs are living through a great deal of uncertainty, so the Library’s team is committed to supporting as many businesses as possible during the lockdown to help them plan a business for the future.

“We are offering free business advice, as well as access to reliable business information, and we can also count upon a huge range of partners who can help established businesses build a contingency plan.

“City Business Library may be temporarily closed but, in the truest sense of the phrase, we are open for business.”

City Business Library, which is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, the governing body of the Square Mile, and provides paid-for and free services to help start and grow new businesses in London and across the UK.


Media enquiries and interviews:

Alexandra Leader, Manager of City Business Library, is available for media interviews. Please contact Andrew Buckingham for details.

Andrew Buckingham, Media Officer, City of London Corporation

M: +44 (0) 7795 333060


About the City of London Corporation:

The City of London Corporation is the governing body of the Square Mile dedicated to a vibrant and thriving City, supporting a diverse and sustainable London within a globally-successful UK.

About City Business Library:

City Business Library is based at Guildhall EC2, The City of London Corporation-owned library helps create and grow sustainable businesses in London and across the UK by providing access to essential business data and tailored business support.