In the period between January 2016 to December 2018 the British library’s Business & IP Centres helped facilitate the creation of 12,288 new businesses and 7,843 additional jobs, according to the new report.

A link is also made in the report between the work undertaken by the centres and boosts to local economies totalling £78 million in gross value added. All this is claimed to have been achieved while delivering £6.95 in return for every £1 of public money invested.

“This report shows that libraries are driving the UK’s regional and small business economy by equipping anyone, no matter what their background is, with the tools and expertise needed to become their own boss,” noted Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library.

“We look forward to partnering with even more libraries up and down the UK to create innovative hubs for aspiring entrepreneurs, as we work towards our goal of opening 20 Business & IP Centres by 2023 and expanding business support to high streets via branch libraries,” he added.

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Demonstrable diversity

Of those who started a new business with the initiative:

  • 55% are women
  • 31% are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background
  • 17% live with a disability
  • 47% are based in the North of England
  • 29% are aged 35 and under
  • 22% are from the most deprived areas of the UK

In the three-year period charted by the report, the British library’s Business & IP Centres provided around 43,000 people with direct face-to-face support, including a free programme of mentoring, training and intellectual property advice via libraries in an individual’s local city or town.

Culture Secretary, Jeremy Wright, said the British library’s work in this field is “having a real impact in communities across the UK.” The network of Business & Intellectual Property Centres, started by the British library in 2006, is “helping to deliver the skills and training people of all backgrounds need to succeed,” he continued.

“By breaking down the barriers to women, black, Asian and minority ethnic groups looking to start up new businesses, the British Library is helping everyone to expand their ideas and grow our economy,” Wright concluded.

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