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Julie Deane opens Cambridge Central Library’s Business & IP Centre




Julie Deane OBE, entrepreneur in residence at the British Library’s Business & IP Centre, opened the Cambridge Business & IP Centre at Central Library.

At Central Library, from left, seated, are Gillian Beasley, chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council, Julie Deane OBE, and Liz Jolly, British Library’s chief librarian. Back, from left, Sue Wills, Cllr Kevin Cuffley, vice-chair of the county council’s communities and partnership committee, Christine May and Isabel Oswell. Picture: Keith Heppell
At Central Library, from left, seated, are Gillian Beasley, chief executive of Cambridgeshire County Council, Julie Deane OBE, and Liz Jolly, British Library’s chief librarian. Back, from left, Sue Wills, Cllr Kevin Cuffley, vice-chair of the county council’s communities and partnership committee, Christine May and Isabel Oswell. Picture: Keith Heppell

The new service means that anyone starting a business, or considering starting a business, can walk into the library and access free services including use of meeting rooms, wifi (free for the first half-hour, £1 an hour thereafter), free mentoring, advice and access to local business networks. The Cambridge centre is the 11th to open in the UK, and follows other cities including Sheffield, Hull, Glasgow, Birmingham, Leeds, Liverpool and Manchester to offer the facility.

“To have had a resource like the British Library’s Business & IP Centre on my local high street would have helped me immensely when I started the Cambridge Satchel Company,” said Julie at the opening. “The British Library’s model provides not only free access to crucial resources, advice and local business networks, but also the boost in confidence needed to turn a ‘kitchen table’ idea into a successful business venture. I can’t wait to see budding entrepreneurs flourish with the help of this new Centre.”

The centre was opened on February 1 by Julie along with British Library and local council representatives. Sue Wills, head of Cambridgeshire County Council Libraries, said: “The building blocks of high-quality business and intellectual property information, knowledgeable and approachable staff, free and affordable events and networking opportunities are tried and tested in London and other major cities around the country. Today, as we launch the pilot Business & IP Centre service, we want to hear from anyone who might be thinking of setting up a business, or is already established, for their suggestions on how we can make our libraries truly effective, entrepreneurial hubs across the county.”

The Cambridge Satchel Company is a start-up success story
The Cambridge Satchel Company is a start-up success story

Liz Jolly, chief librarian at the British Library, said: “The success of the Business & IP Centre’s National Network is living proof of the important role libraries play in harnessing expertise, strengthening networks and generating opportunities across local communities. We are delighted to celebrate the opening of our 11th Centre serving Cambridgeshire and Peterborough. We look forward to working with our colleagues in Cambridge and Peterborough to capitalise on the rich expertise and knowledge contained within the region for the benefit of budding entrepreneurs.”

“It’s a great stepping opportunity for our young and developing entrepreneurs,” said councillor Kevin Cuffley, Cambridgeshire County Council’s vice chair of the Communities and Partnership Committee and champion for Community Safety. “The new Business & IP Centre service is a perfect example of how we can make the most of the strength of our network of libraries, which are safe, trusted and neutral spaces, well-loved and central to their communities.

“By offering equal opportunity to all local entrepreneurs to use the service across all our libraries, we want to engage with and support anyone who has a business idea to develop their entrepreneurial skills, regardless of their background, gender, ethnic origin, age, ability or disability.”

The other 32 libraries and mobile libraries across Cambridgeshire and 10 in Peterborough will act as touch points for the service so that anyone can walk into their local library and seek help and advice.



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