Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

Libraries as engines of economic growth

Democratising Entrepreneurship, Business & IP Centre Network, British Library, July 2019

Libraries as engines of economic growth
A three-year economic impact analysis
(January 2016 – December 2018)

Small businesses are the driving force of the UK economy. They are the largest employers, the innovators and the change-makers that are integral to a healthy and thriving nation. In recent years the UK has become recognised as one of the best places in the world to start and grow a business, with a record number of new businesses starting every day and 10% of the working-age population being self-employed.

However, a number of barriers remain for those who wish to start up, and importantly, survive in a climate of uncertainty, technological change and high street decline. Over 40% of businesses fail after their third year of trading.

Further, across the UK the most deprived communities typically have much lower rates of self-employment, at roughly half the national average. Only 5% of businesses are led by individuals of black, Asian or minority ethnic origin, and only 22% by women. The potential impact of this imbalance is significant – for example, the UK economy would be boosted by an estimated £250 billion if women started and scaled businesses at the same rate as men.


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