05 September 2014

Northamptonshire County Council’s library service has been shortlisted for a prestigious award for its work with start-up businesses.

The Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) has selected Northamptonshire libraries’ Enterprise Hubs as a finalist for the Libraries Change Lives award.

The Enterprise Hubs, which are run in partnership with Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership (NEP), offer coaching, advice and access to office space and IT facilities for people interested in developing a business idea.

How many people have benefited from the project?

Since their launch in April 2012, they have offered support to more than 900 people and helped to launch over 100 businesses, with success stories including a new web design agency, a gardening service, a children’s entertainment business and a veterinary laboratory.

Cllr Robin Brown, county council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “The Enterprise Hubs are a fantastic opportunity for anyone with a great business idea to benefit from a helping hand to get their idea off the ground.

“Aspiring entrepreneurs can use libraries as a base for their new business in the early stages, while the advice and information on offer can give them the confidence and support to turn their idea into a successful venture.

“I’m delighted that CILIP has recognised the innovative work of the Enterprise Hubs by shortlisting Northamptonshire libraries for this prestigious award.”

Jo Lappin, Chief Executive Officer for NEP, said: “This is excellent news. The Enterprise Hubs are another example of Northamptonshire partners working together to help local people achieve their business ambitions.

“Importantly, the Enterprise Hubs are delivering business advice to people in their own communities, making the advice convenient and easily accessible.”

What does the award recognise?

The CILIP Libraries Change Lives award highlights outstanding examples of partnership work that demonstrates innovation and creativity. Previous winners include a domestic abuse support service run by Surrey County Council library service and a songwriters club held at libraries in North Yorkshire.

The 2014 winner will be announced on Saturday 20 September.