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£450,000 investment to support local business

Ten ‘Enterprising Libraries’ are to receive a share of £450,000 to boost growth and help local people develop their own business ideas. 

The Arts Council England project will provide coaching, advice, meeting spaces and IT support to foster entrepreneurship. It builds upon the British Library’s Business & IP Centre in London, which has already been replicated with six existing projects in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool, and Newcastle. 

Alan Davey, chief executive, Arts Council England, said: “Libraries are a powerful resource and these projects really demonstrate how innovative, and forward-thinking public libraries are in this day and age. Yes, libraries are about reading and accessing information, but they are also at the heart of their communities, and can provide hugely useful tools for aspiring entrepreneurs and existing businesses.” 

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: “Libraries are the ideal place for people to go and get support for their great ideas. They are now well placed to be the places that kickstart new business and school self-starters. Enterprising Libraries will ensure that the immense potential that exists in communities is tapped into and that local economic growth is supported across the country. 

“These ten libraries could be where the next generation of young entrepreneurs emerge from and that is a fantastic prospect for us all.” 

Roly Keating, chief executive of the British Library, said: “Libraries have an important role to play as catalysts for enterprise and growth, as proven by the success of the British Library’s own Business & IP Centre and our existing partnerships with other city libraries. 

“The Business & IP Centre Newcastle alone has helped to create over 66 new businesses and over 200 additional jobs in the local area since opening in 2011. We’re thrilled that the Enterprising Libraries project will be helping ten further libraries to make connections with the business community in their area, and we look forward to working together to unlock the potential of Britain’s entrepreneurs.” 

London Borough of Enfield (£45,000); Devon Libraries (£45,000); Portsmouth Central Library (£44,990); Haringey Libraries, Archives and Museum Service (£45,000); Norfolk Library and Information Service (£41,950); Hull City Council Library Service (£45,000); Northamptonshire Libraries (£45,000); Manchester City Council (£45,000); Cultural Community Solution (£45,000); Middlesbrough Libraries (£45,000) 

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