British Library, National Library of Scotland and Glasgow’s Mitchell Library open Scotland's first Business & IP Centre

The Mitchell Library in Glasgow. Photograph courtesy of Glasgow Life

The British Library today celebrates the opening of the first Business & IP Centre service in Scotland. Delivered in partnership with Glasgow Life, the National Library of Scotland and Santander, the new service in Glasgow’s Mitchell Library is the 12th National Network Centre modelled on the British Library’s Business & IP Centre, and the first ever to open in Scotland.

Opening its doors today on World IP Day, the new Centre will support entrepreneurs and small businesses in Glasgow to start, protect and grow their business through access to a wealth of free business and IP resources including information on patents, trade marks, designs and copyright. The service will harness the expertise of local public and private business, including Experts in Residence, and work with regional partners such as Scottish Enterprise, Business Gateway, the Chamber of Commerce, local universities and colleges and Glasgow-based enterprises to deliver a programme of free and low-cost workshops and events for anyone thinking of starting or growing their business. The events programme will include live streams of inspiring talks at the British Library, which in the past have included Mary Portas, ‘Queen of Shops’, Julie Deane, the British Library’s entrepreneur-in-residence and founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company, and Jack Dorsey, co-founder and CEO of Twitter.

Recent figures show that the Business & IP Centre and the National Network helps 63 people to become entrepreneurs every single day. The service has proved to be an accessible space for SMEs: 60% of users across the National Network last year were women and 39% were from a BAME background, compared with just 20% and 5% of business owners respectively. An independent report found that nine out of ten companies helped by the Business & IP Centre succeed past three years, compared with only six out of ten across the UK.

Scotland’s first Centre opens as the Philadelphia Free Library last week announced the opening of a new support service for start-ups inspired by the British Library’s BIPC.

Find out more about the services on offer here.

Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library, said: “We are delighted to join with our partners at Glasgow Life and the National Library of Scotland to mark the opening of the Business & IP Centre at the Mitchell Library in Glasgow. The Centre's National Network has a proven track record of harnessing the power of libraries to realise their potential as hubs for social and economic growth and democratising the path to entrepreneurship, and this launch – the first Centre to open in Scotland – is an exciting landmark for all involved.”

Dr John Scally, National Librarian at the National Library of Scotland, said: “Creativity and innovation among entrepreneurs and start-ups rely on the most up-to-date information and advice available. We have vast business and intellectual property resources in our collections and want businesses throughout Scotland to know that help and expertise is there. We are pleased to partner with the British Library and the Mitchell Library to open this service in Glasgow. By our combined efforts we will help local businesses thrive.”

Dr Bridget McConnell CBE, Chief Executive of Glasgow Life, said: “Glasgow is one of the most exciting cities in the UK in which to start a new business and I’m delighted that we will become the first city in Scotland to join the British Library’s UK-wide Business & IP National Network, enabling us to support everyone in the city who has a great business idea. The Mitchell Library has a rich history in helping entrepreneurs and new business start-ups. Today marks the start of an exciting new chapter in the Mitchell’s business support offer, working alongside the British Library and National Library of Scotland to deliver exciting workshops, digital skills classes, IP clinics and inspiring entrepreneur speakers alongside one-to-one business support within this new Business and IP Centre. It promises to be a truly fantastic asset for all those looking to start their own business in our city.”


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Notes to Editors

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 Business & IP Centre opened at the British Library in March 2006 with the help of London Development Agency funding. Since then, it has welcomed over 750,000 people through the doors and helped create an average of 550 businesses and 1,200 jobs every year, generating over £35 for the economy for every £1 of public money spent. The Centre provides entrepreneurs and SMEs with a free and low-cost programme of workshops, one to ones and networking events as well as intellectual property advice and access to high value databases, including global company and financial information and market research reports worth hundreds of thousands of pounds. This service is delivered to entrepreneurs across the UK via 13 National Network Centres located in major libraries, with a further three set to open in 2019-20. The Centre and its National Network  provides an accessible, inclusive business support service to entrepreneurs from all walks of life: on average, 60% of entrepreneurs who use the service are women and more than 40% are from a BAME background, compared with 20% and 5% of UK business owners respectively.

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots – an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture. The Library holds more than 29 million physical items dating back over 1000 years in addition to a growing library of e-books, e-journals and other digital material. Every week the Library collects around 3,000 new items. Most of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation. / @natlibscot / facebook

Glasgow Life is a charity that delivers cultural, sporting and learning activities on behalf of Glasgow City Council.

  • Glasgow Life operates the largest library service in Scotland, with 33 libraries across the city including the iconic Mitchell Library, 29 school libraries and a 24/7 online library service
  • In 2017/18 Glasgow Libraries had more than 5 million physical and virtual attendances recorded, up over half a million on attendances in 2007
  • There were 2.4 million books issued in 2017/18, up 6% on the previous year
  • There were more than 2.8 million usages of PCs and Wi-Fi across the city’s libraries, an increase of 1.7million usages (+156%) since 2007. This represents the change in how IT services are accessed within Library venues, including the introduction of free public access Wi-Fi across all sites
  • In 2017/18 issues from our expanding e-offer were 340,821, more than double the issues from 2016/17, and up more than 300,000 since the e-offer launched in 2013

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Ash Khan
The British Library
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