Over 2,300 small business owners and entrepreneurs have used services at an innovative support centre based at a city centre library since 2013, new figures have revealed.
From April 2013-March 2015, 1,175 people from the business community accessed each year a wide range of help, advice and guidance from the Business and IP Centre at Leeds Central Library, which has supported the creation of 53 businesses and 90 jobs. Of those who used the service 18% were from black, Asian and minority ethnic groups (compared with the national average of 7%), 25% of people had a disability or were dyslexic, and 13% had previously been unemployed or made redundant. By 2018, the number of businesses expected to be founded through the help from the Leeds Business and IP Centre is 125, which is expected to result in the creation of 466 jobs in total.
Anyone wishing to set up, protect and grow a successful business can access a wealth of help at the Business & IP Centre. Available are databases and market research reports, trade journals, directories and other information about starting up and running a business. Also on offer are free workshops and 1:1 advice sessions delivered by staff and business experts on a range of topics including starting up, business planning and marketing, as well as protecting the intellectual property of products, brands and designs.
These figures form part of research undertaken by the Enterprising Libraries project, which has enabled the British Library to establish a network of Business & IP Centres including Leeds in six major cities, plus collaborate with ten further library services around the country to spearhead a business support service in their local areas.
Councillor Debra Coupar, Leeds City Council’s executive member for communities said.
“We have worked extremely hard to offer a wide-ranging and high quality package of help to people in the city wishing to start, build or protect their business at the Leeds Business & IP Centre which is based at the central library.
“To see therefore the reach and impact of the support centre through this research by the Enterprising Libraries project over this two-year period, especially in regard to our assistance to business and job creation is extremely positive, and provides us with a solid base in which to build on and expand our offer in the upcoming months and years.”

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