National start-up day: Libraries kickstart the next generation of entrepreneurs

British Library network helps nearly 50 people become entrepreneurs every day

In the past year the British Library network supported almost 50 entrepreneurs every single day to grow their business (16,500). The British Library launches a national start-up day, with over 100 free workshops, talks and events taking place in city libraries around the country to equip budding business owners with the tools to turn their start-up dreams into reality.

The Business & IP Centre and its 10-strong National Network support entrepreneurs from all walks of life and have boosted support to the number of start-ups and small business owners by 44 per cent, compared with the previous year.  Many of these businesses were led by groups which are traditionally under-represented in the business world:  this year 53 per cent of businesses established were owned by women and 31 per cent by people from black and Asian minority ethnic backgrounds. 

The British Library Business & IP Centre and its National Network will open their doors to over 2,000 aspiring entrepreneurs keen to hear from a stellar line-up of seasoned business experts who’ll be sharing their know-how and insider tips.

Names behind some of Britain’s biggest brands will be on hand to answer questions and inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs. These include founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company Julie Deane OBE, the first winner of BBC’s The Apprentice and founder of the Bright Ideas Trust, Tim Campbell and speakers from Virgin Start-Up and Google Digital Garage who will be on hand to advise aspiring entrepreneurs on issues surrounding funding and maximising their online impact in today’s digital age.  

Practical workshops will arm attendees on how to protect their idea, write a business plan, develop a marketing strategy and research the market using the libraries’ up-to-the-minute intellectual property and business databases.

Research indicates that businesses who start up a business with the support of the Business & IP Centre network have a far greater chance of being successful. Currently in the UK over 60 per cent of businesses fail within the first three years of trading, but a recent independent evaluation has showed that 90 per cent of businesses that started up with the help of the Centre were still trading after year three.

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 Aberdeen, Birmingham, Exeter, Glasgow, Hull, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Northampton, Norwich, Nottingham, Newcastle and Sheffield.  

The initiative also has the backing of Margot James, Small Business Minister, who’ll be delivering a keynote address as part of the programme, said: “We want to make sure Britain is the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and initiatives like the British Library’s Start-up Day help make this happen. This is an exciting time in the UK to build a business and it is particularly pleasing to see ever more women and people from ethnic minority backgrounds gaining the confidence, skills and know-how to turn their ideas into successful businesses.”

Isabel Oswell, Head of Business & Research Audiences at the British Library, said: “Following the success of our inaugural Start-up Day last year, we’re delighted to launch another inspiring and informative day of events in city libraries across the country with some of the industry’s key ‘movers and shakers’. For those people, out there who have a business idea but aren’t sure what steps to take next, Start-up Day is a great place to begin”.

Ronan Harris, Google UK&I Managing Director, said:“’In the digital age, a basic understanding of how the online world works is useful; and when it comes to new business, it’s essential.

“We are delighted to collaborate with the British Library and bring our Google Digital Garage experts to 11 locations to ensure every entrepreneur has the digital skills needed to grow their business or launch the next big idea.”

Andrew Hutchison, Head of Strategy, Virgin Start-Up, said: “Virgin Start-Up has now supported over 1,900 entrepreneurs across the UK, we’ve experienced first-hand the levels or work and commitment start-ups have to put into their business during their infancy years.

“We’re proud to be one of the start-up community voices supporting the British Library with this event, the agenda is crammed with everything we know a start-up will need. I’m delighted we’ve got several of our inspirational Virgin Start-Up entrepreneurs down to tell their story and share their lessons.”

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