THE BRITISH LIBRARY

Innovation and enterprise blog

08 January 2018

2017: A busy year at the Business & IP Centre

The Business & IP Centre Team are spending this week getting ready for a busy and prosperous 2018, supporting more entrepreneurs from all walks of life to start, protect and scale successful businesses both in London and around the UK. However, whilst there is a lot to look forward to, we’re also taking this opportunity to pause, reflect and look back at some of the successes and key achievements both for the Centre itself and amongst our network of users, supporters and partners too. Here’s a look back on some of the Business & IP Centre highlights of 2017:

Record-breaking Inspiring Entrepreneurs 

The year got off to a great start back in February when we delivered our first Inspiring Entrepreneurs of 2017 and welcomed Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella), Aron Gelbard (Bloom and Wild), Sarah Wood (Unruly) and Rupert Hunt (Spare Room) for a lively discussion on how to exploit the power of the digital world in your business. Of course our Inspiring Entrepreneurs events are always a highlight, but Internet Icons in 2017 was particularly special as we delivered live webcasts to a record-breaking eleven partner libraries across our National Network, meaning businesses right across the UK could participate. The event was so successful we’re even running it again next month with a great line-up of expert panelists. Just click here for further information, or visit our YouTube channel BIPCTV to catch-up with highlights from last year’s event.

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Ella Mills (Deliciously Ella) and Aron Gelbard (Bloom and Wild) answering questions at Inspiring Entrepreneurs - Internet Icons

Innovating for Growth graduate successes 

We were thrilled to see so many of our Innovating for Growth graduates go from strength-to-strength this year too. The talent agency Young Guns Group hit the headlines in June when one of the acts that they represent (Tokio Myers) won ITV’s prestigious Britain’s Got Talent competition. Co-founder Dominic Lyons also participated in a Start-up Stars event at the Centre in July and said that the win was definitely keeping the company busy and had given the business a real boost. Boutique confectionary company Lavolio featured in a high profile article on the BBC about online business. We were also delighted for Arit Eminue, founder of DiVA Apprenticeships, when she was awarded the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ accolade at the prestigious PRECIOUS Awards in September. And 2018 has already gotten off to a great start for Innovating for Growth graduate Anthony Impey (CEO of Optimity) with the announcement that he was awarded an MBE in the New Year’s Honours List for services to small business.

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Arit Eminue celebrating her PRECIOUS Awards win with the judging panel

Endorsements for our Scale-up Summit and Start-up Day 

In July we delivered the first ever British Library Scale-up Summit, designed to support small businesses to scale-up and achieve their potential. The schedule featured an incredible line-up of over 20 successful entrepreneurs and business experts sharing insight and guidance on key topics including branding, raising finance, export and leadership with an audience of 150 ambitious small businesses. We were especially thrilled to welcome Deputy London Mayor for Business Rajesh Agrawal to the event, held in partnership with the Mayor’s Office and the London LEAP. In an article published on LinkedIn Rajesh described the event as ‘a fantastic opportunity to hear from some household names and brands’ and a great way to inform the London Growth Hub’s support strategy for scaling businesses.

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Rajesh Agrawal delivering the closing address at Scale-up Summit 2017

Moving into September we also held our biggest ever Start-up Day – a nationwide event delivered across our network of UK libraries designed to give aspiring entrepreneurs all the information and inspiration they need to take the first steps on their business journey. Over 1600 people took part in this event and we were especially pleased that Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Corporate Responsibility participated in our London programme to speak about the importance of new business to the UK economy. You can catch the Minister’s speech in full, as well as our other keynote presentations on BIPCTV.

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Margot James speaking at Start-up Day in September

Accolades for our case studies and Ambassadors 

At the Business & IP Centre we feel fortunate to enjoy close relationships with past users of our resources who have gone on to start and grow successful brands. One such user is Paul Lindley who used the valuable resources available in the Centre to research and launch the Ella's Kitchen organic baby food brand. Paul frequently generously ‘gives back’ time and expertise to the Centre in his role as an Ambassador and we were thrilled that he was named as Director of the Year by Director Magazine in December. Jane ni Dhulchaointigh, investor and founder of Sugru was also pinpointed by NESTA as ‘one of 5 female inventors that changed our lives’ for her mouldable glue product that has been described as ‘the most exciting product since sellotape.’ Congratulations are due to both Paul and Jane on their success.

A growing network of Corporate Partners

We are committed to working with a network of professional corporate partners and to sharing information on their relevant services and support with our network. We were delighted to welcome London based IT support company Lucidica as a Business & IP Centre Corporate Partner this year. Lucidica have been working with us to advise small businesses on a wide range of IT issues, providing their expertise in technology to help businesses succeed. Lucidica will be joining us in the Centre again this month to deliver a workshop helping small businesses avoid cybercrimes and there are still some places available.

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The Lucidica team

Of course this just gives a brief flavour of what we’ve been getting up to this year and there’s much more to celebrate, not to mention expanding our National Network of Business & IP Centres by officially launching services in Northamptonshire and Hull during 2017 too. We’d like to wish a Happy New Year to all of our users that launched their business or continued to expand it in 2017, and to our partners and speakers who supported them in their achievements. We look forward to working with you all in the year ahead to help your business go from strength to strength.