The British Library has revealed that it has supported 12,288 of the UK’s aspiring entrepreneurs and this has added £78 million gross value to local economies.
The Library’s National Network of 12 Business & IP Centres located in major UK libraries, between January 2016 and December 2018, supported 43,000 people.
Support came through direct face-to-face support, including a free programme of mentoring, training and intellectual property advice via their local city or town library.
This personalised, accessible approach is breaking through traditional barriers to starting and growing a successful business, reaching people who are under-represented in the business community.
Of those who started a new business 55% are women – over twice the national average, 31% are from a Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic background – over six times the national average and two-thirds are driven by making a social or environmental impact.
Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said:
This report shows that libraries are driving the UK’s regional and small business economy by equipping anyone, no matter what their background is, with the tools and expertise needed to become their own boss.
We look forward to partnering with even more libraries up and down the UK to create innovative hubs for aspiring entrepreneurs, as we work towards our goal of opening 20 Business & IP Centres by 2023 and expanding business support to high streets via branch libraries.
Businesses that have started with the libraries’ help continue to demonstrate impressively strong survival rates.
On average, over 40% of businesses fail after their first year of trading, yet of businesses started with the National Network’s support between 2012 and 2018, nine in ten were still trading in 2019.