More stories about Inspiring
We offer inspiration and support to inventors, innovators and entrepreneurs. Our Business & IP Centre has earned the reputation of being the essential first port of call for anyone looking to research, develop, protect and market their business ideas.
This year we have welcomed nearly 32,000 people through the doors of the Business & IP Centre. We’ve held 424 workshops and events, offering direct advice, guidance and training to over 3,000 entrepreneurs and we have issued reader passes to more than 7,500 people describing themselves as business users.
Richard Lambert, Director General of the CBI said, ‘The British Library is truly a model of innovation for the public – and the private sector,’ while the Financial Times described the Business & IP Centre as a ‘boiler room for budding entrepreneurs to research their ideas and learn from those who have made fortunes already'.
In November 2007 the London Development Agency (LDA), which provided the original £1 million funding for the Centre, announced a further £2.4 million to fund the further development of the facility and its services because we met or exceeded all our previous targets.
Our sell-out networking events are a firm fixture on the calendar of hundreds of entrepreneurs. Sponsored by HSBC, the Inspiring Entrepreneurs series has featured business icons ranging from Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou to Martha Lane-Fox. Their advice and insights can be accessed by thousands more through the webcasts and podcasts we make available after each event.
The Library’s commitment to supporting women and ethnic minority groups was recognised at the Black Women in Business Awards in October, where we won Best Corporate category. To mark Enterprise Week (12–16 November 2007) we staged a packed programme of workshops, and role model events on hot topics such as social enterprise and teenage entrepreneurship.
In June 2007 we appointed Mark Sheahan to be the Library’s first ever Inventor in Residence. Over 12 months Mark is acting as the face of our intellectual property (IP) collections and services, offering free one-to-one advice sessions to aspiring inventors. So far he has advised more than 70 people as they develop products ranging from a fault detector for aeroplane fuselages to a device for decorating cakes.
Ethical entrepreneurs can gain valuable insights from Kresse Wesling, our latest expert to offer one-to-one sessions at the Business & IP Centre. Kresse has no fewer than three ecobusinesses to her name and was named Entrepreneur of the Year at the Shell Women of the Future Awards in 2007.