British Library network helps over 50 Brits become entrepreneurs every day

UK libraries open their doors to start-ups on Start-up Day 2018

Today, on Start-up Day 2018, the British Library’s Business & IP Centre (BIPC) and its National Network announce new national figures that it helped 52 people become entrepreneurs every single day in the past year.

Nearly 19,000 people were supported to set up and grow new businesses in the UK - a 15 per cent increase on the previous year and up by a third on the year before that. Amongst the impressive total of people helped between 2017 and 2018:

●     Over half (59%) were women

●     35 per cent were from black and Asian minority ethnic backgrounds

●     36 per cent were planning to start a business and 21 per cent were in the process of setting up a business

●     Almost 20 per cent (19%) were working on a side-hustle whilst being employed

●     12 per cent were unemployed or a student

●     32 per cent were 16-34 year olds

This is the biggest ever coordinated Start-up Day, which takes place across the British Library Business & IP Centre National Network and other city libraries across the UK, inviting everyone with a brilliant idea to visit their local library and take their first steps to turning that idea into a viable business. The event is unique in its scope, ambition and reach across the UK, driving creativity and innovation in public libraries around the country.

To mark Start-up Day, 17 libraries will host over 150 free workshops, talks and events around the country to equip budding business owners with the tools to turn their start-up dreams into reality. They will open their doors to over 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs keen to hear from a stellar line-up of seasoned business experts and entrepreneurs who’ll be sharing their know-how and insider tips.

The event also coincides with the expansion of the Business & IP Centre National Network with pilots in Glasgow, Nottingham and Cambridge - now totalling 13 Network libraries outside of the London nucleus. The National Network supports economic growth and entrepreneurship around the UK with its ‘walk in’ business support service and access to free market research and intellectual property resources, as well as free and low-cost training and advice.

A day of practical workshops and talks will inform attendees about how to protect their ideas, write a business plan, manage social media and pitch for investment. Start-up Day is open to all with ambitions to start up a business across the country, from the British Library in London and city libraries in Barnstaple, Birmingham, Cambridge, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull, King’s Lynn, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Northampton, Nottingham, Norwich, Thetford, Sheffield and Worcester.

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library said:  

“Start-up Day has become an unmissable event for aspiring business owners around the UK. This year I am particularly pleased to welcome Cambridge, Nottingham and Glasgow to our Business & IP Centre National Network. The British Library has a mission to help business to innovate and grow, both at St Pancras and across the UK – that means making sure everyone with a great business idea knows that they are welcome here.”

Isabel Oswell, Head of Business & Research Audiences at the British Library, said

“Start-up Day marks an important day in our calendar to celebrate what our Business & IP Centre and network offer to budding entrepreneurs every moment we open our doors. We aim to provide widespread access to everyone who wants to learn how to build a successful business, no matter what their background. Year on year, we’re proving that the Centres are an indispensable hub for ensuring start-ups and small businesses thrive.”

Julie Deane OBE, founder and CEO of Cambridge Satchel Company and Business & IP Centre Entrepreneur in Residence, said:

“One of Britain’s greatest exports is our business and start-up community. We need to ensure that it remains one of the best countries in the world to start and grow a business. A resource like the British Library’s Business & IP Centre would have helped me enormously as I was launching the Cambridge Satchel Company - these Centres give people the skills, information, confidence and connections they need to turn their business ideas into viable businesses.”

Start-up Day is presented in collaboration with Santander.

Santander Business Managing Director Sue Douthwaite said “Our collaboration with the British Library’s Business & IP Centre Start-up Day helps further our work with SMEs and start-ups. This initiative places us at the heart of the community, offering truly accessible banking expertise to SMEs and start-ups. It builds on the substantial work we have done with small businesses, and positions us at the forefront of efforts to help people and businesses in the UK prosper.”

Previous British Library Business & IP Centre users have said:

Paul Lindley, founder Ella’s Kitchen baby food
“I used the British Library to research trade mark registrations and the world of intellectual property – a critically vital area for any business but especially for consumer brands and businesses with their own designs and innovations”.

Tim Campbell MBE, founder Bright Ideas Trust
“There's no better place to start a business in London than the British Library's Business & IP Centre. The Centre gives small businesses and start-ups access to the types of valuable market research and information that's usually only accessible to large corporate companies - something I certainly took advantage of when I started my first business over ten years ago, and still do now”

Shaun Pulfrey, Chairman, inventor and founder of Tangle Teezer
“The Business & IP Centre helped us to sense check our strategy across marketing, operations and product development with experts from different industry backgrounds. This help was priceless”.

Liz Earle MBE, founder and Editor-in-Chief of Liz Earle Wellbeing magazine
“When starting my career in wellbeing, if I needed to carry out research I would always go to the British Library”.

Jane Ni Dhulchaointigh, inventor and founder of Sugru mouldable glue, named one of the ‘5 female inventors that changed our lives’
“When starting a new business getting the full picture of any market place is essential and the Business & IP Centre was a fantastic source of information. Being able to run IP searches was also critical ahead of launching such a unique product like Sugru”.

Notes to Editors

For more information, data and interviews, please contact:

Claudia Moselhi
Phone: 0752197 5756

For more information:

Evenings and weekends:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150

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The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

The British Library is the national library of the UK and one of the world’s greatest libraries. The Business & IP Centre, based at St Pancras in London, opened in March 2006 with the help of London Development Agency funding. Since then, it has welcomed over 350,000 people through the doors and has an excellent track record in supporting entrepreneurs and SMEs from all walks of life to start and grow businesses. The Centre provides free access to an unparalleled resource of business and intellectual property information (over £5 million worth), supplemented by one-to-one advice clinics, practical workshops and networking events, featuring ‘role model’ entrepreneurs.