Innovation and enterprise blog

The British Library Business & IP Centre can help you start, run and grow your business

16 August 2017

The Business & IP Centre’s Start-up Day is back!

The Business & IP Centre has been helping entrepreneurs from all walks of life to start, protect and grow successful business for over eleven years, providing access to the UK’s largest collection of intellectual property resources, business data and market research alongside free and low-cost training and support in our inspiring, accessible space. In this time we have supported over half a million people, and enabled the commercialization of thousands of new ideas.

To celebrate these achievements, and to mark the tenth anniversary of the Centre, we held our first ever Start-up Day on September 27 2016 where we invited any London with a business idea to come and find out how the Library could help them achieve their entrepreneurial ambitions. This high-octane event day saw over 700 aspiring entrepreneurs attend a jam-packed programme of workshops, training and inspirational talks, including a keynote address from the Library’s Entrepreneur in Residence Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company

Image of Julie Deane speaking at last years start-up day
Julie Deane speaking at last year's Start-up Day


Isabel Oswell, Head of Business Audiences, said of the Start-up Day 2016:

There are lots and lots of people out there who have a business idea but aren’t really sure what steps they need to take to turn that seed of an idea into a reality. The aim of Start-up Day has been to encourage people to access the amazing Library collections and training that give them all the skills and market knowledge they need to increase their chances of business success. It has been wonderful to see so many aspiring entrepreneurs kick-start their business plans by attending today, and beginning to build their networks. We look forward to welcoming them back to the Centre over the coming months and years as these fledgling business ideas begin to take flight.

This year, we’re planning for a Start-up Day that’s bigger than ever! We’ll have events taking place not just in London, but simultaneously in partner libraries right around the UK through our Business & IP Centre National Network, encouraging more people through the country to take advantage of library resources to start and grow businesses.

The London programme features over talks from entrepreneurs and business experts on a diverse range of essential business topics including:

  • How to charge your worth
  • How to get your business in the media on a budget
  • How to write a great business plan
  • How to get your business online
  • How to start a successful fashion business - and much, much more.

We will also be bringing the founder of Cobra Beer, Lord Karan Bilimoria, to our stage to share the story of how he brewed up business success, growing Cobra from a small start-up in 1989 to a brand that turns over £60 million and has a 90% market share of all Indian restaurants in the UK. Other speakers include the first ever winner of BBC’s The Apprentice and founder of the Bright Ideas Trust

Image of start up day attendees seated
Attendees at Start-up Day 2016

We are also excited to be supported in our efforts to help thousands of aspiring entrepreneurs put business ideas into practice by both the Google Digital Garage who will be running hands-on master classes at all eleven of our Business & IP Centres, and Virgin StartUp, who are joining us to share information about the government-backed Start-up Loans opportunity to raise seed funding to get your business off the ground. At all of the Start-up Day events around the country, you’ll also have the chance to see, touch and feel some of the practical marketing tools offered by Vistaprint to help you get your brand out there, including printed leaflets, banners and those all-important business cards. Start-up Day 2017 takes place on Thursday September 21 (09.30-19.30 in the British Library, and at various other locations across the UK). 


Image of Lord Bilimoria at a podium speaking
Lord Bilimoria, founder of Cobra Beeer, will speak at the British Library's Start-up Day

Book your free place to attend your choice of over 20 events, talks and workshops now by visiting our booking page . All sessions are free to attend, but places are limited and are selling quickly so don't delay and secure your place to get the know-how you need to turn your great idea into a booming business.



Image of google logo Image of Virgin start-up logo

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 Start-up Day is a free event, funded by the European Regional Development Fund.