Innovation and enterprise blog

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

3 posts from February 2022

28 February 2022

Meet Paul Jenkins, founder of Triple Double

We spoke to Paul Jenkins, the Founder and Creative Director of Triple Double. As a basketball fanatic from his early years, Paul struggled through the traditional schooling system, told he would ‘fail’ if he decided to go to college to study design instead of doing A-Levels. “There must be a better way to engage young people in education creatively,” he asked himself, before making it his mission to do just that.

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This led him to study at London College of Communication with the goal to take advantage of various placement and real world industry experience on offer – exploring internships across London, Berlin and Tokyo with the likes of Pentagram and Wieden & Kennedy for clients such as Nike and Google. Through the following years, Paul would go on to hold various design and creative positions across in-house and agency roles, focusing more on youth, cultural and sports brands while supporting local community and education projects, before launching Triple Double in 2015. Intrigued? Read on to learn more about Paul and his inspiring business.

What is Triple Double?

Triple Double is a creative studio that unleashes how youth engage in sport and education, using the power of design and creativity to transform their lives. Helping a wide variety of organisations including NGBs, brands, communities, schools, charities and youth groups, collectively reach this common goal.

We listen, understand and learn what the next generation wants, working directly with youth to give them real world commercial opportunities. This co-creation approach and passion for accountability to youth has led us to become a trusted partner of brands and organisations including UK Active, Design Museum, London Youth Games, Red Bull and Women in Sport.

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Triple Double have also just launched Intergalactic Athletes, a new creative education resource quite literally out of this world! A free resource with an immersive space themed story and project experience for young people, combining their visual, analytical and written skills. Young people can take part individually or Intergalactic Athletes can be delivered in curriculum, for extra curricular enrichment or for after schools clubs – simple to use classroom resources are included. All submissions receive a bespoke digital certificate and are featured in the online space-themed gallery.

You were on our free scale-up programme, Innovating for Growth. How did that help you?

Taking part in Innovating for Growth added skills and confidence to my existing business journey – providing me a wider view of the elements that were already working really well, and the areas that needed improvement, both short and long term.

The opportunity to meet and work with specialist business facilitators, who could objectively support my goals and ambitions for the business, was second to none, with a few in particular who I know I could now reach out again to if I need to, to bounce around future ideas or queries.

What’s the best piece of business advice you have been given?

Focus on the essential, and strip out the noise to make the most progress.

Where are you most likely to be found in/at?

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Basketball court / talking about basketball / watching basketball/ I've been a player, fan and fanatic since I was 7. That’s where the company name comes from. Triple Double means when a player scores double digits in three stat categories – 10 points, 10 rebounds, 10 assists, for example. 

Has there been a book that impacted you?

Two actually: Essentialism by Greg McKeown and Start With Why by Simon Sinek (I'd save these from a burning building!)


If you are a teacher and you want to find out more about this free creative educational resource, Intergalactic Athletes, sign up for Triple Double’s webinar here.


18 February 2022

BIPC Style Guide

As London Fashion Week A/W 2022 comes to a close today, we’re feeling like it's about time to update our wardrobe! Stuck in a rut with your wardrobe too? Maybe you're feeling inspired to create runway pieces at home? From shoe making classes to vintage inspired clothing, we have BIPC businesses that are transforming the fashion industry to help pull you out of your rut. Find out how below


The Fold Line

Kate and Rachel sewing on a machine in their home/studio

The Fold Line is an award-winning online sewing pattern shop. Founded in 2015 and based in the UK, they are the home for people who love sewing and making their own clothes, offering an extensive range of paper and digital PDF sewing patterns plus copy shop printing services. They are on a sewing mission to help makers find the perfect project and create a handmade wardrobe they love. If the designs from London Fashion Week has inspired you to try your hand at sewing, why not try making one of The Fold Line's best selling sewing patterns for beginners.

Co-founders Rachel Walker and Kate Underdown took part in the Innovating for Growth Free Scale-Up programme and with the help of experts' advice, marketed their new online shop to an established community following. 


I Can Make Shoes

Amanda with a shoe prototype

If shoes are more your style, why not try I Can Make Shoes, a London-based shoe-making school for beginners. Amanda founded the business back in 2010 to teach total beginners how to make their own shoes from home. Since we last spoke to the Innovating for Growth alumna, a lot has changed - she spent the first lockdown filming the same course content she had been teaching in-person for over 10 years and released it as an Online Course, this turned out to be great timing as people from all over the world had been wanting to take one of their courses but weren't able to travel the distance.

The past two years have been a very rocky road, as is the case many small businesses, but I Can Make Shoes has come out of it in a great position having had a chance reset the business and find their feet in the world of online training.


Revival Retro

Woman crossing the sreet dressed in retro clothing

Inspired by beautiful bygone eras Revival Retro’s garments have classic style, feminine tailoring and flattering cuts. They are the perfect antidote to the fast fashion and throwaway culture of the chain brands on the high street and are committed to enabling individual style with inclusive sizing (8-28). For the discerning woman who wants a better shopping experience, their thoughtful design and considered approach puts people, planet and provenance first. Clothing that women will choose to wear again and again, that are easy to care for, enabling this desire and therefor lowering impact on the environment.

Since completing Innovating for Growth in 2017 where they learned to create a solid foundation for their business plans, their small business has built upon lessons learned and stayed true to their values whilst navigating the challenges of the last few years.


Sabina Motasem

Sabina drawing designs in front of a rack of hanging patterns

Sabina Motasem is a multi award-winning bridal boutique featured on and in Elle. The entrepreneur and designer behind it is Sabina Ali whose dresses are proudly made right here in London with beautiful craftsmanship by an extraordinarily talented team. Having started in 2007, with a single wedding dress made as a present for a friend, Sabina's presence has steadily grown and she took part in our Innovating for Growth programme in 2012; it's an experience she calls "life changing" as it taught her the value of detaching herself and gaining perspective.

Like so many small businesses Sabina had to close her bridal shop in Islington but she believes it was the right thing to do. Her boutique is now online, becoming one of the first bridal brands in the country to pivot in this direction, and in 2022 she has started offering in-person appointments at bridal pop-up shops in Kings Cross, London.


Maria Grachvogel London


The Maria Grachvogel brand of Fashion and Luxury is about fit architecture – making clothes exist for the wearer, rather than the other way around. She engineers beautiful clothes, in fabrics that make every shape and size of woman look and feel her most confident, beautiful, and feminine. With a deep belief that cut and fit is transformative to the body and soul, each piece is carefully considered with seams that sculpt the body and fabric that drapes perfectly to move and flow as you do with thoughtful design details to enhance and flatter or allow for many ways to wear and style. The finest craftsmanship goes into every, considered piece so it can be loved and worn for many years. 

Watch the latest fashion film by Maria Grachvogel, Genesis - A New Dawn, which premiered during London Fashion Week on 21 February.   



Woman with red trousers and colourful trainers by B_Boheme

B_Boheme’s showcases how vegan, sustainable and ethical shoes can be desirable. The collection is 100% animal-free using the latest innovations in sustainable, plant-based materials, as well as natural and recycled materials. With their latest collection, they’ve upped the ante to create a collection with the lowest possible carbon footprint. It features three key styles that are designed to be bolder and brighter as well as durable and timelessly chic. They’ve focused on styles that women can wear to be comfortable while still elevating any outfit, the elegant flat shoe, the designer sneaker and the utility Chelsea boot.

04 February 2022

Meet the Team: Nigel Spencer

Nigel Spencer is the Research and Business Development Manager for the BIPC and Electronic Services. He’s also the man behind our BIPC Reference team at the British Library, a team central to the support the BIPC provides to businesses through one to ones, intellectual property expertise and start up workshops. The team is going to miss Nigel's presence, as he retires this week so we wanted to give him a shout-out and say goodbye to him by bringing his knowledge and insight to you…

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Nigel has been at the British Library for 39 years, when he started his work as a Clerical Officer on the Reference Desk at the Science Reference Library, Holborn in March 1983. A little bit of library trivia for you, this had previously been the Patent Office Library, and was funded to support innovation in the wake of the Great Exhibition of 1851.

“The library widened its coverage to include business information as well as intellectual property in 1982 – the origins of BIPC stretch back more years than you may have thought! I have been fortunate enough to be involved from the 1980s, to the service we launched in 2006 in the St Pancras building and that we are now rolling out across London and the rest of the UK.”

Through his career, Nigel saw the library change a great deal, from the arrival of the internet to the move from the Holborn site to St Pancras in the 1990s, which for Nigel, dominated the decade. He has managed reference teams across the Library, the Patent Express document delivery service, Imaging Services, managed European projects and much more. “Working on all of these has been challenging and fun and it has been wonderful to work with teams of highly motivated and talented people. It was also nice to spend some time working across Reference this year. Reference was where I started, so it feels right to work with this area just before I retire.”

What are your main interests or areas of expertise at the BIPC?

Information and the knowledge that can be gained from it has the power to change lives and this is what really keeps me motivated. This is particularly the case in the BIPC, our message is inclusive and the help we offer is very practical. This also applies to all the British Library collections, whether it is giving people a better appreciation of their own identity to having the confidence to form their own views based on evidence we provide.

I wouldn’t say that I am an expert in anything but in recent years I have become a strong advocate for the Lean Start-Up approach to starting a business. There is a lot of hyperbole about entrepreneurship and what makes an entrepreneur but, in contrast, this approach presents a simple process that is accessible to anyone.

What’s one BIPC resource you’d love to recommend to people?

I am going to take this opportunity to highlight what I think is a hidden treasure and the first collection I ever curated. This is the Trade Literature collection held in the basements. It is a collection of company catalogues and brochures dating back to the 1830s and they provide a rich insight into the detail of people’s lives and technological developments since then. Toy catalogues, for example, reveal detail about the nature of childhood at the time they were published, and the medical equipment catalogues from the 19th century make me very grateful to be living now rather than then! It isn’t all about history however, as they can also provide interesting design ideas that can be applied to new products.

Tell us a fun fact about yourself?

I was the least competent painter in my art class when I was 11. A mix up with colours led to me painting a picture that combined the Sussex countryside with a desert scene. This accidental surreal masterpiece was selected for the Sunday Mirror National Exhibition of Children’s Art in 1970 and was hung in the Royal Academy of Arts in Piccadilly. At that age I believed that I was much better at nihilistic poetry but, unsurprisingly, never won any awards for that – although the, very dark, ‘Ed the Tramp’ did make the annual school magazine. I reached my creative peak aged 11.

Finally, where are you most likely to be found?

Almost anywhere talking to someone about Brighton & Hove Albion!

Thank you, Nigel, for your dedication to supporting the entrepreneurs who have walked through our doors and visited us online over the years, and for continuing to inspire a new generation of business owners through your community engagement work, especially in the local Camden area.

We’ll be catching up with Nigel in a few weeks to see what he’s been getting up to post life at the British Library and the BIPC, stay tuned!