Libraries become rural business schools

RURAL women are among those targeted by a £450,000 library scheme to help local people get started in business.

The scheme was unveiled by the Department for Communities and Local Government, Arts Council England and the British Library on Thursday (3 October).

As part of wider action to support local economic growth, Enterprising Libraries will turn library spaces into incubators for people who want to develop business ideas.

It will do so by provide coaching, advice, meeting spaces, and IT support to people interested in developing a proposal and taking it to the market.

The projects are focused on fostering entrepreneurship by supporting budding business minds in the local community who are interested in becoming self-employed.

Ten library services have been awarded about £45,000 each under the scheme.

They include Northampton Libraries, which will be focusing on "opening up resources to hard to reach groups," including women living in rural areas.

If the project goes well, it could be replicated by other services across the country

Communities secretary Eric Pickles said: "Libraries are the ideal place for people to go and get support for their great ideas.

"They are now well placed to be the places that kickstart new business and school self-starters.

"Enterprising Libraries will ensure that the immense potential that exists in communities is tapped into and that local economic growth is supported across the country.

Arts Council England chief executive Alan Davey said the projects demonstrated how innovative, and forward-thinking public libraries has become.

"Libraries are about reading and accessing information, but they are also at the heart of their communities, and can provide hugely useful tools for aspiring entrepreneurs."

The Enterprising Libraries project has already worked with six core city libraries in Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, Sheffield, Liverpool and Newcastle.

The latest ten libraries funded will be able to work closely with this network to further spread these resources amongst communities across the country.



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