Written evidence from the British Library
The following submission from the British Library
outlines the scope and objectives of the Library's Business &
IP Centre, which was launched in 2006 with funding from the London
Development Agency, and supports entrepreneurs, inventors and
small businesses from that first spark of inspiration to successfully
launching and developing a business. The Library has developed
proposals to roll this model out to other British regions and
has detailed how these proposals could support the creation of
the new Local Enterprise Partnerships in their role of "tackling
.enterprise and supporting business start-ups".
1. The British Library welcomes the opportunity
to respond to the Business Innovation and Skills Committee on
"The New Local Enterprise Partnerships" and has provided
details below of the British Library's Business & IP Centre
and how its model and funding will relate to the setup of the
Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).
2. The British Library was established by
statute in 1972 as the national library of the United Kingdom.
It is one of the world's greatest research librariesit
benefits from legal deposit and is the main custodian of the nation's
Written cultural heritage. The Library's incomparable collections
have developed over 250 years; they cover three millennia of recorded
knowledge, represent every known Written language, every aspect
of human thought and a sizeable sound, music and recordings archive.
3. The British Library contains a vast array
of inspirational material and expertise that supports every sector
from the creative industries to science, technology and medicine;
small businesses to major pharmaceutical companies; school children
to lifelong learners; academics to authors:
Through the services of our Business
& Intellectual Property Centre, we support entrepreneurs and
SMEs in developing, protecting and exploiting their ideas, and
in growing their businesses.
Through our learning programme we provide
£1 million worth of resources to 1.2 million teachers and
school students who visit our learning website each year.
We support the Government's lifelong
learning policies by providing resources to everyone who wants
to do research; 43% of people using our newspaper collections
are personal researchers doing genealogy or local history projects.
We supply 100% of the world's top 100
R&D spenders in industry with our document supply service.
4. The Library is funded by the Department
for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Our funding agreement is
signed jointly by the Culture Secretary and Business Secretary.
We work with strategic partners to support our public funding.
AND IP CENTRE
5. The Business & IP Centre has supported
200,000 entrepreneurs and SMEs since its launch in 2006. It supports
innovators and entrepreneurs from that first spark of inspiration
to successfully launching and growing a business through our workshops
and advice sessions.
Between 2007 and 2009 the Centre helped to create
829 new businesses for London and created a further 786 new jobs
for Londoners. The combined turnover for these businesses was
£32 million and 89% of their founders say this success would
not have been achieved without the Library's help.
An independent evaluation by the London Development
Agency (LDA) revealed that the Business & IP Centre delivers
£11 million worth of value to the UK small business sector.
For every £1 that the LDA has invested,
the businesses have seen a £22 increase in turnover; this
demonstrates that this is a highly cost-effective model. The businesses
supported by the Centre have contributed £5.5 million to
the public purse.
6. Success stories include:
Pomegreat founder Adam Pritchard had the idea
of developing a juice drink from the "superfood" pomegranates.
He researched the fruit in the British Library's Science Reading
Rooms and was then recommended to explore the business opportunities
and the potential viability in our Business & IP Centre.
Pritchard said: "I came to the Centre
and discovered everything that I needed. It satisfied everything
that I had to understand before launching my fruit-juice business.
I had a thirst for knowledge that could only be fulfilled by a
resource of the strength of the Business & IP Centre."
Adam's Pomegreat juice is now sold throughout
the UK to the major supermarkets and cash and carry warehouses.
Pomegreat is now a five-strong company with an annual turnover
of £10 million.
7. The Centre pursued a number of activities
to support SMEs and entrepreneurs during the recession. These
Strengthening business support by increasing
the number of relevant workshops and advice sessions that we run
and providing them free or at highly subsidised rates. We estimate
that, together with our partners and business experts, we are
subsidising workshops and advice sessions by over £1/2 million
Helping unemployed people to develop
the skills they need to become self-employed or start their own
businesses; use of the Centre by unemployed people has more than
doubled over the last nine months. For example, we have found
that 17 unemployed people have spent 24 hours or more in the Business
& IP Centre.
Giving undergraduates and postgraduates
the skills they need to become self-employed or start businesses
when they graduate through a tailored programme of events.
Giving people the networking opportunities
that they need to develop their support network, meet "role
models", collaborate with other entrepreneurs and build their
AND IP CENTRE
8. The Centre opened in March 2006 with
a cash injection of £1.2 million from the LDA over two years;
subsequently the LDA awarded the Library a second tranche of funding
of £2.4 million over four years; the funding expires in March
2011. It has been estimated that it will cost £750k per annum
(over three years) to maintain and develop the Centre.
The Business & IP Centre is currently looking
at new ways to fund the Centre's operations when the funding expires
& IP CENTRE MODEL
9. In a recent interview in the Sunday
Times, the Minister for Business and Enterprise, Mark Prisk
MP, stated his support for the Centre when advocating the abolition
of Business Link. He proposed:
"A series of `growth hubs' across the
country, based on the British Library's Business and IP Centre,
will provide advice for knowledge-based, high growth ventures."
10. In 2009 Real Business magazine wrote
a manifesto for saving Britain's future. Its third step was to
build on the Business & IP Centre's success by replicating
the model across the country.
"Following the Centre's impact on London's
entrepreneurial scene, the logical move would be to open Business
& IP Centres in Cardiff, Belfast, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds
and Bristol, creating a nationwide network. In truth, the sums
required to create a network would be tiny."
Real Business Magazine, 2009
11. These words reiterate the Richard Report
on small business:
"This task force advocates for the British
Library's Centre to serve as a model for other similar centres
to be rolled out across the country."
Small Business and Government: The Richard Report,
12. Encouraged by the Library and business
sectors, Ministers and our users, the Library developed draft
proposals to use the Centre's model in other regions of the UK,
using the British Library's expertise and advice.
13. It has been proposed that the British
Library's Business & IP Centre could deliver innovation support
to entrepreneurs throughout the UK through:
(a) A "blueprint" for local business
innovation support in major city libraries.
(b) An online service which delivers British
Library and third party content to users' desktops.
(a) A "blueprint" for local
business innovation support in major city libraries
The Library envisages developing a "blueprint"
for innovation and entrepreneurship support for regional city
libraries, which would comprise a model for running a Centre,
backed up by central support, including project management and
best practice advice and guidance. Public libraries have been
selected since (a) they are open to everyone (b) they are likely
to have a suitable infrastructure and (c) they are typically in
central locations, which are accessible to large numbers of entrepreneurs
and innovators. It should be noted that there are thirteen UK
libraries, including the British Library, which form part of the
PATLIB (patent library) network. The network, which is chaired
by the British Library, was created to provide users with local
access to patent, trade mark, designs and copyright information.
It is proposed that one or two pilot libraries
are developed in the first year and build to five or six by the
third year. City libraries would be selected using a number of
criteria, including existing business and intellectual property
collections and expertise, flexible space and facilities and an
urgent need for regional economic development.
The Library has been considering the North East
for the first pilot; we are in active discussions with Newcastle
Public Library and Northumbria University about setting this up.
The "blueprint" would comprise a template
of the British Library model, which could be adapted to local
city libraries. The Library would also offer direct advice and
Structure and governance of centres.
Staff required, including skills and
Core business & IP collections.
Negotiations with third party database
Space and facilities required.
Partner strategy and programme.
Workshops and events programme.
Marketing and awareness-raising campaigns.
Monitoring and reporting systems, including
(b) An online service which delivers
British Library and third party content to users' desktops
The proposed online service would build upon
the existing Business & IP Centre website (www.bl.uk/bipc)
and exploit web 2.0 technology; it would provide access to Library's
e-resources, including some of our high value third party databases,
unique British Library content (eg e-courses, information guides,
inspirational videos, webcasts and podcasts) and online communities
for entrepreneurs across the country. This service could be linked
to or integrated with the existing online support services (eg
Intellectual Property Office online services) to make it easier
for businesses to navigate the business support landscape. It
should be noted that the Library has had very early stage discussions
with the HMRC (which manages the Business Link online service).
14. It is extremely difficult to estimate
the costs for each region, since these would vary according to
existing facilities, business and IP resources and staff. Costs
could be anywhere between £250-500k per library.
15. As stated in the announcement of the
establishment of Local Enterprise Partnerships:
"Councils and business leaders have been
asked to consider forming new local enterprise partnerships that
can provide strategic leadership in their local areas and create
the right environment for business success and economic growth."
"Local enterprise partnerships will tackle
.enterprise and supporting business start-ups."
The creation of regional Business & IP Centres
could successfully fulfil the criteria of supporting enterprise
and business start-ups, working with both local councils and business
leaders, while continuing to access materials and expertise directly
from the British Library.
16. The Business & IP Centre's wide
network of partner organisations, from the public and private
sectors, cover a broad range of business topics, from the core
essentials such as business planning and finance, to niche topics
such as search engine optimisation, social enterprise and branding.
These could be replicated on a regional basis, promoting local
skills and services.
17. Rolling the Centre's model out to the
regions through the LEPs could have a number of tangible benefits:
Promotes business growth and entrepreneurship
across the UK;
Integrates both local council and business
Allows access to British Library material
out of London;
Builds on a tried and tested model and
on existing infrastructure; and
Emphasises the importance of support
for business start-ups and the growth that they can bring.
18. The model of the British Library's Business
& IP Centre could be successfully applied and integrated into
the new Local Enterprise Partnerships, promoting and delivering
a key strand of their objectivesdelivering growth through
the promotion of enterprise and supporting business start-ups.
With the business model already established, it could easily be
transferred to the regions under the authority of local councils
and business leaders together with the support of the British
11 August 2010