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Today, on Start-Up Day 2019, Cambridge Central Library & Peterborough Central Library are joining in with over 40 public libraries across the UK to open their doors to local entrepreneurs in a unique day-long programme dedicated to supporting start-ups and small business owners. The annual UK-wide event, led by the British Library’s Business & IP Centre and supported by Santander UK, invites Cambridgeshire & Peterborough residents to visit their central libraries in Cambridge and Peterborough and take the first steps towards turning their brilliant idea into a successful enterprise.

New figures recently released by the British Library reveal that its national network of library-based Business & IP Centres has helped create an average of 15 new businesses every working day since 2016.  Most of these were started at home, with 40% of them beginning in a home office and almost a third from the kitchen table. These new businesses are far exceeding national success rates, with 90% still trading after three years, compared to the UK average of 60%.

Start-up Day is a UK-wide invitation for anyone in Cambridgeshire & Peterborough city with a kitchen table idea or side-hustle to discover how their local library can help them launch, protect and successfully grow their business through access to information, confidential one-to-one support, workshops, networking with like-minded entrepreneurs and inspiring talks live-screened from the British Library. Highlights of the day include the UK’s biggest coffee morning for entrepreneurs, live-screenings of selected events from the British Library’s programme, workshops on how to understand your business environment, business headshots, and hints and tips on a clutter free business life.   

To see the full programme of activities for Start-up Day at Cambridge Central Library visit https://tinyurl.com/y3yfnfbd. The programme at Peterborough Central Library is available at https://vivacity.org/library-archives/business-ip-centre/

Cllr Steve Criswell, Chair of Cambridgeshire County Council’s Communities and Partnership committee said: “Our Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Business & IP Centre has come from strength to strength since its launch in February, welcoming hundreds of budding entrepreneurs through its doors with a packed-full programme of events.

“If you haven’t visited the centre yet and want to know how to start your own business and make your idea a reality, don’t miss our free national Start-up Day this Friday. There is no time like now to drop in and find out about the support that is available: talk to experts and professionals who are on hand, and who can help you start out on that journey where you turn that idea into a business!”

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library, said: “As we work towards our vision of expanding the Business & IP Centre network to 20 Centres by 2023, it is invigorating to see so many libraries taking part in this year’s Start-up Day for the first time ever. This nationwide event is not only a celebration of what entrepreneurs can achieve when the barriers to information, expertise and a like-minded community are broken down, but a call to action to anyone who is working tirelessly from their home office or kitchen table to get a business off the ground. We look forward to welcoming those new visitors from around the country today and to supporting them in getting their idea to market.”

Start-Up Day 2019 has a strong emphasis on wellbeing and mental health for entrepreneurs. Highlights of the day include:

  • A session by Mind on how to build a business without burning out, held at the British Library and live-screened to other participating libraries as part of Mind and Heads Together’s Mental Health at Work campaign
  • A panel led by Expert Impact for social or environmentally-minded entrepreneurs, exploring how to combine profit with purpose
  • Business & IP Centre success storiesrevealing how to start-up on a shoestring

For the complete British Library programme, and to check what is happening in your local library, visit www.bl.uk/events/start-up-day.

Start-Up Day is a partnership between the British Library’s Business & IP Centre and Santander.

Julie Deane, founder of the Cambridge Satchel Company and the British Library’s entrepreneur-in-residence, said: "The review of Self Employment in the U.K. which I undertook for the Prime Minister in 2016 revealed that one of the most fundamental issues entrepreneurs face is that of loneliness and feeling the lack of a support structure. The Business & IP Centre network in libraries across the UK addresses this problem and the involvement of MIND in our Start-up Day underlines our commitment to supporting start-ups responsibly and effectively."

Susan Davies, Managing Director of Santander Business said: “The British Library’s network of Business and IP Centres is doing a fantastic job in supporting start-up businesses. We’re excited to be working with them on a three-year partnership to provide SMEs of all sizes, from start-ups to fast-growing businesses with the holistic, local support they need. We are well placed to support these aspiring entrepreneurs in the regions through access to part funded interns, our masterclass events and even trade missions to a number of different countries as part of our International programme.”

The Cambridge and Peterborough Business & IP Centre opened in Cambridge and Peterborough Central Libraries in February 2019. It is one of the 14 centres modelled on the British Library’s successful Business & IP Centre, a walk-in service located in the heart of London offering free access to millions of pounds’ worth of business and intellectual property information and events, workshops and one-to-one expertise. 

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