The focus of Enterprising Libraries is to build infrastructure and resources in public libraries by working with the British Library and the national network of Business & IP Centres, and to open up these resources to existing and prospective entrepreneurs, small and medium enterprises, and local communities across the country irrespective of background, thereby supporting local economic growth and social mobility. Its central aims are to: 

  • Build on the British Library’s Business & IP Centre services in core city libraries to make these resources, expertise and support accessible to a wider network of public libraries and their diverse communities across the country
  • Establish public libraries as trusted centres of business support and expertise that play a key role in local economic growth, entrepreneurial activity and social mobility
  • Embed public libraries within their local economic and business infrastructure, partnerships and networks and create closer working with the British Library and other Business & IP Centres
  • Create opportunities and improved sources of support for local economic growth, entrepreneurial activity and employment for people of all backgrounds, including in the creative industries that will increase social mobility in the communities around them 


Whilst not being prescriptive in the types of activities we would like to see, we anticipate that outcomes should incorporate the following:

  • Business & IP Centre expertise and resources extended nationally through public library infrastructure, including greater awareness and take-up of its sources of support such as webinars and training
  • Public libraries’ role in supporting local economic growth established
  • Relevant and sustainable partnerships established between public libraries, the British Library and local business infrastructure and networks
  • Increased resources and sources of support and expertise for individuals, start-ups and small and medium sized enterprises across the country, creating the conditions for there to be an increase in economic growth and entrepreneurial activity in successful applicants’ localities
  • By providing access to business resources, individuals from any background given the chance to set up businesses and improve life chances 
  • Improved access to facilities by a range of diverse communities, as reflected by increased participation at business centres. Part of this may be the specific extension of libraries’ reach into existing or new community groups, or a general  increase in the numbers of attendees 
  • Groups of sustainable public library business support models with potential for replication in other local authorities
  • A range of activities at each library accessible to and targeted at the local community. These may include but are not limited to: workshops, eg setting up and running a business; marketing and branding; using social media; support for intellectual property – how individuals can take ideas and commercialise them; networking events for business people and entrepreneurs; mentoring and shadowing opportunities; one-stop shop for information resources and online databases; and provision of space/enterprise zones within the library building. More information on the services and resources offered in the current Business &IP Centre model will be available once you have logged on to the application portal