New British Library report confirms libraries are engines of economic recovery and growth

The First Art Newspaper on the Net    Established in 1996 Wednesday, May 22, 2024

New British Library report confirms libraries are engines of economic recovery and growth
BIPC Brighton Library. Photo: Luca Sage.

LONDON.- Published last month, Democratising Entrepreneurship 2.0 reveals the national impact the Business & IP Centre (BIPC) Network has had over a three year period. It shows how the British Library has continued to democratise entrepreneurship and support economic recovery at local, regional and national levels across the UK.

Between April 2020 and March 2023, the BIPC Network:

• delivered excellent value for money with a benefit cost ratio (BCR) of £6.63 for every £1 invested

• helped to create 18,175 new businesses, equivalent to 24 new businesses every working day

• facilitated new and established businesses to create an estimated total of 6,124 full-time equivalent (FTE) jobs

• increased turnover with an estimated net additional sales growth of £239 million

• boosted local economies with an estimated net additional gross value added (GVA) of £168 million

• supported 62,876 individuals and responded to 51,591 enquiries, providing aspiring entrepreneurs and established business owners with key information

Of those who started a new business between April 2020 and March 2023, 72% were women, 26% identified themselves as from a minority ethnic community and 12% were from the most deprived areas in the UK. The highest proportion (26%) of businesses supported by the BIPC were in the Creative, Media and Technology sectors, which is twice as high as the proportion of businesses in the UK as a whole, where these sectors make up just 11%.

Arts and Heritage Minister Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay said: ‘I am delighted that the £13 million of public investment from the Government has enabled the British Library’s Business & IP Centre network to equip thousands of people across the country with the knowledge, skills and support they need to start and grow their own business.

‘Helping people turn ideas into thriving businesses is part of our ambitious plan to maximise the potential of the creative industries and create jobs, opportunities and economic growth across the county.’

The first BIPC opened at the British Library in St Pancras, London in 2006 and the nationwide BIPC Network was established in 2012, with support from the Intellectual Property Office. Following a £13 million investment from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in 2020, the BIPC Network expanded to over 100 locations, reaching people who are under-represented in business in more urban, rural and coastal locations than ever before.

Isabel Oswell, Head of Business Audiences at the British Library, said: 'This month marks 50 years since the British Library first began operations and helping businesses to innovate and grow continues to be one of the Library’s core purposes. This report reiterates the unique power of libraries as engines of innovation, economic growth and social mobility in the heart of diverse communities. Whether you consider yourself an entrepreneur, freelancer or just have an idea, the Business & IP Centre Network provides accessible, free and impartial support, delivered by dedicated informed professionals and trusted business experts, both online and in person across the UK.’

The BIPCs are physical hubs where people can learn, network and access free and low-cost information and support in protecting and commercialising a business idea. The service comprises:

• Free access to high-quality UK and global market intelligence, customer insights and company data (worth over £5m), combined with intellectual property advice and guidance

• Free and low cost workshops, one-to-one support and mentoring delivered by library staff and public/private sector business experts and partners

• Topical and inspirational networking events, featuring role model entrepreneurs

• Accessible and welcoming spaces with access to PCs, desks and Wi-Fi, plus co-working and maker spaces in some locations

• A comprehensive package of online support; including webinars, one-to-one business and IP advice sessions and screenings of our programme of inspirational panel discussions

With the help of BIPC Nottinghamshire, Natalee Onyeche, founder of Skin Solace, turned her handmade plant-based skincare business from a side job into her main income stream and opened a shop in Nottingham. Onyeche said: ‘The BIPC in the local area has been really brilliant. It’s an invaluable resource because you look at the charges for business coaches etc, and sometimes it’s beyond your reach. Having the BIPC there and their huge amount of resources has been a godsend to me. If I need some information, I can go to them and get that support. Having that available, for free, in my local community is brilliant. It’s on my doorstep, literally.’

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