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New report from British Library recognises BIPC Northamptonshire as engine of economic growth

A new report published by the British Library has recognised how the Northamptonshire Business & IP Centre (BIPC) has continued to support entrepreneurship and economic recovery and growth at a local level over the last three years.

Between April 2020 and March 2023, BIPC Northamptonshire has contributed to a payback of over £6 for every £1 of public money spent across the BIPC Network, as well as helping to create over 335 new businesses and 91 additional jobs.

Overall, the service has generated £3.6million Gross Value Added (GVA) and has supported a range of entrepreneurs, of which 68% were women, 23% identified themselves as from a minority ethnic community, 11% were disabled, 29% were aged 35 and under, and 11% were from deprived areas.

The BIPC in Northampton Central Library and its network of BIPC Locals in Brixworth, Kettering, Towcester and Wellingborough Libraries are physical hubs where people can learn, network and access free information and support in protecting and commercialising a business idea. The service aims to inspire a thriving community of new and existing business owners and is free to join and open to everyone.

Support provided by BIPC Northamptonshire includes:

  • 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 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
  • 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

Find out more and access support by visiting the BIPC Northamptonshire website.

Cllr Daniel Lister, Cabinet Member for Economic Development, Town Centre Regeneration and Growth, said: “We are delighted that the BIPC Northamptonshire has been recognised by the British Library for the incredible work it does.

“The BIPC service offers valuable help and advice to the many entrepreneurs in our area to make sure their businesses have the best chance of success – and it’s all free of charge and accessible to everyone.

“Creating a sustainable and thriving economy is a key priority for the Council and supporting existing businesses as well as start-ups is an essential part of delivering on this.”

The British Library Business & IP Centre National Network also provides entrepreneurs and SMEs across the UK with free access to databases, market research, journals, directories and reports worth thousands of pounds. There is a programme of free events and workshops on a range of topics including business planning, marketing and intellectual property.

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 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.

The full Democratising Entrepreneurship 2.0 report, including a range of case studies, can be downloaded from the British Library’s website. Find out more about BIPC Northamptonshire on the BIPC website.