Eric Pickles announces £650,000 funding for British Library’s Business & IP Centres

Backing from communities secretary and Arts Council England to “transform” UK city libraries into hubs for small businesses

The British Library is on set to achieve national expansion plans for its Business & IP Centres after receiving £400,000 funding from the Department for local communities and local government and Arts Council England.

Eric Pickles, communities secretary, has pledged £300,000 towards the project with the Arts Council contributing an additional £100,000. The British Library will also make a contribution of £253,000 in cash and non-cash resources.

The funding will provide a boost to the British Library’s project to “transform” the UK’s city libraries into hubs for small businesses and entrepreneurs.

It will initially be used to enable Exeter Central Library and Northamptonshire Libraries to pilot a Business & IP Centre service to support local business owners and will also allow the British Library to consolidate its network of centres that are already operational in six cities across the UK – Newcastle, Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool and Sheffield.

Each centre provides entrepreneurs with face-to-face advice and training on how to start, protect or grow their business, and enables visitors to access market research databases and other relevant information.

The British Library intends for its regional Business & IP Centres to build on the success of its London centre which it says has helped to create 2,775 businesses from 2005-2012 and 3,345 jobs in new and existing businesses.

British Library chief executive, Roly Keating, said of the news:“Public libraries are of huge value to local communities.

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“As familiar and trusted public places, and access points to vast amounts of free information, libraries also have powerful potential as engines of innovation and growth.

“It is hugely exciting to welcome the library teams in Exeter and Northamptonshire into the Business & IP Centre network, and I extend our thanks to both the Department of Communities and Local Government and Arts Council England for enabling us to take another key step towards our goal.”

Communities secretary Pickles added:“Local communities are untapped business resources – filled with capable and bright individuals who just need a helping hand. By extending the Enterprising Libraries funding today, we can help grow Britain’s ever expanding pool of entrepreneurial talent and ensuring that local economic growth is supported across the country.”


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