Start-ups in London Libraries

The Start-ups in London Libraries programme is designed to help aspiring and early-stage entrepreneurs from all walks of life to turn their business idea into a reality, or to elevate their new business to the next stage. Through our network of 10 London borough libraries, we deliver grass roots business support almost directly to your doorstep.

Whether you have always wanted to start a business, or have just taken your first steps into entrepreneurship, we will give you the skills, information and know-how you need to build a viable business.

How it works

Visit one of our partner libraries to access a range of free services including: 

  • quarterly free workshops for aspiring entrepreneurs and early stage start-ups - we offer two workshops (detailed below) to cover all the fundamentals of running a start-up
  • walk-in access to business resources and databases like COBRA
  • one-to-one business information sessions with borough SME Champions 
  • a programme of events, including live-screenings from the British Library's Business & IP Centre
You will also meet like-minded people and gain the confidence you need to make your business a success!

Have a look at the video below to see what some of the Business and IP Centre's success stories have to say about the influence of the BIPC on their businesses, and what they think about this latest initiative to make the BIPC resources and expertise even more accessible.

Our partner library network includes the following London boroughs:

The workshops

Start-ups in London Libraries offer two full-day workshops, which aim to put practical support in place for entrepreneurs at the earliest stage of their business development. These workshops are:

What next for my business?

Covers all the fundamentals of using the BIPC's and your library's resources to protect your intellectual property and develop a strategic roadmap for your business.

Get ready for business

Find out how to set up your business and avoid common start-up pitfalls in seven easy steps in this high energy and practical workshop. 

The combination of these two workshops will give you the insight and support to start and grow your business and, once completed, you will be awarded a personalised Start-ups in London Libraries certificate. 

The next dates for the workshops in each of the boroughs are: 

 What next for my business idea?   Get ready for business   
Bexley  8 October 21 November 
Croydon 10 December  18 December 
Greenwich  15 October  11 December 
Haringey  3 December  4 December 
Lambeth  22 October  31 October
Lewisham  5 November 7 November
Newham  12 November  14 November 
Southwark  26 November  5 December 
Tower Hamlets  19 November  20 November
Waltham Forest  5 November 6 November


To take part in the Start-ups in London Libraries workshops, you or your business needs to have a London-based postcode and you need to be:

The owner of a business which is either not trading or been registered at Companies House for fewer than 12 months.


You should be an aspiring entrepreneur with a business idea you want to develop.

If you fit into one of the above categories, then you are eligible to attend our free quarterly workshops. Find out more about the borough workshops, including the dates for the next round of workshops here. If you have any questions about the Start-ups in London Libraries scheme, contact your local SME Champion through the above links. 

Access more business resources online:

Free industry and IP guides

Up-to-date quality information on intellectual property and researching key industries, handpicked by our experts.

The project is fully funded by the European Regional Development Fund, the British Library, ten participating London boroughs and generously supported by J.P. Morgan and Arts Council England.

Upcoming workshops & events


Build a brand and sell your story

Learn how to brand your business without breaking the bank!

Workshop FREE

What next for my business idea?


Find out how the Start-ups in London Libraries programme can help you achieve business success.

Webinar FREE

Webinar: Preparing for Brexit: Goods Regulation New Approach

Designed to help businesses to ready themselves for the UK leaving the EU.

Workshop FREE

Can I protect a business idea?

Learn how intellectual property can protect you and help you profit from your business idea.

All business events