Press release

Enterprising libraries: delivering entrepreneurs for the future

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Libraries across the country can now bid for additional funding to help budding local entrepreneurs.

The funding will help entrepreneurs enter the business world by transforming them into catalysts for local economic growth and social mobility.

Ten libraries will be awarded up to £45,000 under the Enterprising Libraries programme which aims to bring together and develop existing business and intellectual property support. Winning bids will develop their own approach to supporting local enterprise but the range of services could include:

  • free access to business and intellectual property databases and publications
  • market research, company data and information on patents, trademarks, design and copyright
  • provision of dedicated space within the library building
  • advice on funding, setting up and running a business
  • marketing and branding support
  • networking events for business people and entrepreneurs
  • mentoring and shadowing business opportunities

The Enterprising Libraries grant programme is the second stage of the £1.3 million Enterprising Libraries project, a partnership between the Department for Communities and Local Government, Arts Council England and the British Library.

The first stage of the programme is already underway, turning 6 city libraries in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle into a network of business and intellectual property centres to extend business expertise in the wider community.

Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said:

Our public libraries have always been a powerful motor of social mobility and like all public services they have had to evolve. Today they have an important role in supporting local economic growth and sparking entrepreneurial activity in the communities around them.

And we know from the success of the British Library programme, which has already created thousands of new jobs by unlocking their specialist expertise, that giving support to communities often excluded from business can produce budding local entrepreneurs from all backgrounds.

The Enterprising Libraries programme builds upon the success of the British Library’s Business & IP Centre (Business & Intellectual Property Centre) which has been offering these services since 2006. It has run over 4,000 workshops, helping create over 2,700 businesses and more than 3,300 jobs. These businesses have increased their turnover by £153 million with an average turnover increase per £1 invested of £8.80.

The British Library’s Business & IP Centre has also been successful in attracting users that are sometimes under-represented in enterprise including 52% women and 37% from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups. It is hoped that the Enterprising Libraries programme will continue this, by opening up business resources to diverse communities across the country.

Notes to editors

  1. The online application form for the commissioned grant is now closed. The deadline for applications was Monday 29 July 2013.

  2. For more information please see the Arts Council England website.

  3. To be eligible to submit an application as a lead organisation, you must be a public library, public library authority, network of public library authorities, or organisation managing a public library authority as defined under the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964.

  4. The Enterprising Libraries commissioned grant programme is a new £1.3 million partnership with Arts Council England providing £300,000, the Department for Communities and Local Government providing £600,000, and the British Library providing £376,000.

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