Starting a business? Check out this new service

If you're thinking of starting a business – or expanding one you already run – but not sure what to do and looking for help, then do visit Cambridge Central Library's new Business and Intellectual Property Centre.

It caters for people just like you – especially if you don't want to commit yourself to anything just yet.

Long before he became a councillor, Kevin Cuffley set up his shoe repair business in Sawston and subsequently a cleaning service, South Cambs Household Services.  “I know exactly how hard it is to get started and perhaps even more so with all the changes to employment, tax and patent laws over the last few years.” he said. 

“If only the Business and IP Centre had been around when I started – it would have been a very useful service as the advice from friends I was given at the time was not helpful.”

Kevin, elected as a County Councillor in 2017, is Vice Chair of the Council's Communities and Partnership Committee, where his knowledge and advice on starting a business has been particularly useful.

“I instantly saw the value of a Business & IP Centre service for anyone considering or in the process of starting a business.” he said.  “It's the 11th such centre in the UK and was founded by the British Library – a reminder of what a tremendous resource we have in our libraries.

“Having a specific Business and IP centre in Cambridge gives you access relevant free services – including the use of meeting rooms, Wi-Fi, mentoring, advice and local business networks.

“It's there to support anyone who has a business idea and help to develop their entrepreneurial skills, regardless of their background, gender, ethnic origin, age, ability or disability.”

Turning a ‘kitchen table’ idea into a business
The new Business Centre is a hub for entrepreneurs to come together to network, attend events and access resources including business databases, market research reports, company data and information on patents, trademarks, designs and copyright.

It will harness the expertise of local public and private business experts, working with regional partners such as the Growth Hub, Chambers of Commerce, local universities and colleges and Cambridgeshire-based enterprises.

It was opened on 1st February by Julie Deane OBE, Founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company and the British Library’s Entrepreneur in Residence.

She said: “To have had a resource like the British Library’s Business and IP Centre on my local high street would have helped me immensely when I started Cambridge Satchel.

“The Centre provides free access to crucial resources, advice and local business networks and is 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.”

Expertise and knowledge
Liz Jolly, Chief Librarian at the British Library added: “The success of the Business and IP Centre’s national network is 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 there to capitalise on the rich expertise and knowledge contained within the region for the benefit of budding entrepreneurs.”

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.

“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.”


Business & IP Centre Cambridgeshire

Cambridge Central Library
7 Lion Yard

Phone  0345 045 5225

Opening times