Business & IP Centre Devon

Inspiring Stories

Every day Business & IP Centre provides support to small business owners, entrepreneurs and inventors, just like this one, helping them to grow their business.

We’ve helped 100s of individuals to move forward, through our online courses, the workshops and webinars from experts within their field, as well as providing access to our databases and IP specialists, all for free!

To start your own inspiring story, get in touch today.

From Beach Waste to Beautiful Bags

Karen’s business idea was prompted, when out on a beach walk with her children. Gale force winds and huge waves had hit the coastline in previous days, and when they arrived, they found masses of plastic littered all along the tideline.

Water bottles, fishing crates, PPE, barnacle encrusted gloves, and broken off pieces of fibreglass. Karen’s eco ethics wouldn’t let her simply stand by, or walk past. The entire family took what they could carry, and from then on, Karen has regularly cleaned her local beach, in the hope of raising awareness and inspiring others.

Rather fabulously Karen Bowskill from Beer, in Devon has managed to do more than just improve her local area by litter picking the beach, she’s actually found a use for the things she finds. Karen says: “I use this plastic to print with, onto fabrics diverted from landfill, to reinforce that we can all; create from waste”. An important message indeed!

Karen found BIPC Devon after searching on Instagram and Facebook for local business advice, and was signposted to BIPC through a friend.

She adds: “Once I had taught a few print workshops and sold several products, I began to believe that my business could become a success. I contacted BIPC Devon for professional advice on bookkeeping and an opportunity to sound out ideas with one of their advisors. I have attended several webinars and I especially found Rachel Oakes session on GrantFinder to be useful.”

Karen received a business support package worth £1,000 from BIPC Devon’s She Started It grant, to help her grow her business.

We provided Karen with a clearer vision of how to set her pricing structure for Tideline Prints, and put a social media marketing strategy in place.

Since then Karen has really excelled at building her own personal brand and has launched new product ranges with her printed fabrics including stylish leather tote bags with her beautiful prints in the lining, the bags themselves are made from re-purposed leather jackets!

Karen has grown her business from strength to strength and shares some beautiful images on her Instagram page: Karen told us: “Running my own business brings me the satisfaction that I am contributing towards a cleaner coastline, by doing something which I love. I am able to make my own choices and decide which directions to go in. The ultimate goal for my business is to educate and inspire others to consume less, reuse materials and to consider where their waste goes when they throw it away”.

Karen also told us: “I think I would have benefited from some confidence building sessions, and to access small, women only meet ups, so I felt connected to others in a similar situation.” We listened and BIPC Devon incorporated all of these things into our Women in Business Course. 12 weeks of free, tailored support for female entrepreneurs, find out more here:

Ready to start your own inspiring story?

Our databases cover things like market research and statistics, finding funding, guidance on intellectual property and so much more. We provide interactive webinars throughout the year to teach you things like writing a successful business plan, ways to make an impact at networking, and how to boss social media. You can book 1-1 business surgeries with experts from a variety of fields and so much more.

All of this is available, for free, to anyone in Devon who is thinking about starting a business. Simply pop into Exeter, Barnstaple or Paignton libraries, click the “get started” button or email us at to find out how we can help you launch or grow, the business of your dreams.

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