National award for library business hubs

Robin Brown says it is an 'outstanding achievement'
Robin Brown says it is an 'outstanding achievement'

A library facility which has helped launch more than 100 businesses has received a national award.

Enterprise Hubs, found in libraries across Northants, were set up by Northants County Council in 2012 to provide advice and IT facilities for people developing a business idea.

The hubs scheme was announced as the winner of the Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP) Libraries Change Lives award on Saturday.

It beat off competition from Hertfordshire libraries where its Kids Hub Library Sessions help children with severe learning difficulties and Leeds Libraries where the Studio 12 Writing Leeds project works with disadvantaged young people.

Robin Brown, county council cabinet member for public health and wellbeing, said: “This is an outstanding achievement for our Enterprise Hubs, which have offered support to more than 900 people and helped to launch over 100 businesses since their launch.

“This project is playing a vital role in helping Northants to become one of the most enterprising counties in the country and I’m delighted that it has been honoured with this fantastic award.”

The hubs are run in partnership with Northamptonshire Enterprise Partnership and its chief executive officer Jo Lappin said the award ‘demonstrates perfectly how partners across the county can work together to provide business support advice’.

Enterprise Hubs have supported a range of new businesses including boat-building and veterinary lab services to creative arts and cleaning firms.

Philip Wark, chairman of the CILIP Libraries Change Lives Award judging panel, said: “Northamptonshire libraries are part of a growing success story of libraries serving as business hubs across the UK.

“The success of the service is tangible proof of how public libraries fuel a holistic approach to individual and community wellbeing, including health, culture and economic.”