At Home with BRIC: Access Business Resources Anywhere!

By Gillian R. RSS Thu, April 30, 2020

Across Philadelphia, businesses are experiencing unexpected challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re currently thinking about entrepreneurship for the first time or you’re an established business owner, the Business Resource and Innovation Center (BRIC) has resources to help support your current needs.


Robust Online Resources and Databases

Did you know that most of BRIC’s business databases are available from anywhere? You just need your library card number and PIN. View our quick start guide to start using these business resources today!

Also available via the business databases are the online learning platforms and Universal Class. Enjoy free access to thousands of courses on taught by industry experts. You can take online courses in business, design, marketing, technology, project management, bookkeeping, and more! Universal Class offers a wide variety of subjects and learning at your own pace from real instructors. Courses include business, finance, entrepreneurship, accounting, office skills, computer training, web development, and more.

Don’t forget about our Digital Media portal, where you can find ebooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines! Access business, management, and leadership books via Overdrive, Hoopla, and RBdigital Audiobooks. Access current and back issues of top business magazines via RBdigital Magazines. Some of our favorite business magazines include AdWeek, The Economist, Entrepreneur, Fast Company, and Forbes.


Screenshot of the Free Library's business database page

Business databases are available online.


Simply Analytics Remote Access
We're happy to announce that our favorite demographics database, Simply Analytics, is now available remotely and providing free remote access for as long as the Free Library is closed to the public during the COVID-19 pandemic. Simply Analytics is a web-based mapping, analytics, and data visualization application that makes it easy for anyone to create interactive maps, charts, and reports. It offers more than 75,000 data variables related to demographics, employment, housing, market segments, businesses, consumer spending, brand preferences, and public health. The Simply Analytics team just added COVID-19 data at the national, state, and county levels from, which is updated daily with the latest numbers. View all of Simply Analytics features and this How-to guide to get you started. Additional assistance is available via their support section. Interested in more demographic information, or learning more about demographics, in general? Check out BRIC's guide to demographic research


Screenshot of the Free Library's business database page

Simply Analytics is a web-based mapping, analytics, and data visualization application.


Business Plan Toolkit Goes Digital 
BRIC’s most popular class, Business Plan Toolkit, is now available as a webinar! Learn how to use free resources to research your business plan professionally. Classes are broken down into five parts: introduction to business plans, competitive analysis, demographics, market research, and financials and additional resources. You can also access the presentation slides and class handouts to follow along at home and revisit anytime!


Screenshot of the Free Library's business database page

Business Plan Toolkit is now available as a webinar.


City, State, and Federal Resources

The City of Philadelphia is regularly compiling and updating resources for businesses affected by COVID-19. Be sure to sign up for the Department of Commerce’s newsletter, which will be distributed as new resources and information for businesses become available. Plus, make sure to check out their calendar of free webinars.

The Information For Pennsylvania Employees page includes assistance and resources for gig workers and the self-employed. The PA Department of Labor & Industry will continue to provide important employment benefit updates as well.


Screenshot of the Free Library's business database page

Businesses affected by COVID-19 can also find regularly updated resources from the City of Philadelphia.


Individual Assistance

Philadelphia VIP is hosting free virtual legal consultations for small businesses! These free one-hour remote legal consultations are with a volunteer attorney. Complete the application and learn more today.

Temple Small Business Development Center (SBDC) is holding open office hours via Zoom. Speak with someone face to face (virtually), Monday through Friday from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. Register for a meeting


Stay in touch with the BRIC online, on Twitter, and sign up for our newsletter.

Have a question for Free Library staff? Please submit it to our Ask a Librarian page and receive a response within two business days.

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