British Library begins a major expansion of its Business and IP Centre network


British Library begins a major expansion of its Business and IP Centre network

From this week, the British Library will begin a major expansion of its Business and IP Centre (BIPC) network, ushering in a new era of opportunity for ambitious entrepreneurs in towns and regions.

The roll out will take the small business assistance services currently centered in 14 city center libraries and equip more than 100 across England by 2023, thanks to a £13 million investment announced by the government last year.

North Shields, Allerton (Liverpool) and Bolton will kick off the initiative followed next month by South Shields, Sunderland, Wakefield and Birmingham including its prison library.

BIPCs have a wide user base because they are open to anyone from all walks of life who have a business idea. Women make up more than half of those who use a trading center as a stepping stone into the industry, and a third come from underrepresented ethnic groups.

The centers will bring in local business leaders and role models, as well as host events and tailor-made training, in addition to providing key resources such as current market research and company databases.

According to recent research, BIPCs provided £78 million in gross added value to the UK economy between 2016 and the epidemic, resulting in the creation of 12,000 employment.

It’s time to start over. The Restart emergency online program, which was introduced during the lockdown to help business owners develop new skills and resilience, has attracted 3,600 participants.

“At their core, libraries are trustworthy locations with competent employees who have a mission to connect people with information,” says Liz Jolly, head librarian of the British Library. Our BIPC Network, which spans Glasgow to Brighton, harnesses the power of libraries by bringing in local expertise to help people from all walks of life transform an idea into a successful business.

“We’re ecstatic to begin the next phase of the network’s growth, which will see the network expand from 14 to over 100 new regional and local Centres across England, with a longer-term goal of expanding across the UK. Our mission is to put business support in every library, but we’re also learning lessons from the past year, by making sure more and more of our business and IP workshops, events and 1-1s are open to everyone online.”

“It’s fantastic that small businesses and entrepreneurs will now be able to access vital help and resources in more parts of the country,” Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said.


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