Serial entrepreneur injects new lease of life into Belsize Community Library
The Purposeful Project, founded and run by serial entrepreneur Simon Squibb, has launched a new initiative to create specialist entrepreneurial hubs in local libraries, with Belsize Community Library forming the first of its kind in the UK.
Over 700 libraries have closed over the last decade, with more expected as a result of COVID-19, signalling the end of an important free resource and hub for creativity and connection in the local community.
Working with local charity, The Winch, Simon and his team are hoping to breathe life back into these vital centres. From today, Simon will run his Good Luck Club Podcast live from Belsize Community Library, where he interviews high profile entrepreneurs, such as Made in Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews, who will give insight into their business journey and give advice to other budding entrepreneurs. Simon will also run drop-in sessions, open to anyone who might be interested in starting their own podcast or business.
Simon Squibb, Founder of the Purposeful Project, commented: “I have particularly fond memories of using the library as a child, it was a fantastic space dedicated to my community. However, I fear the younger generation, especially because of COVID-19, won’t have that experience.
“When I walked past Belsize Community Library and saw that it was closed, I was filled with sadness, and knew I wanted to do something to help. By investing in the library, I can help to keep all of the usual activities open for the community as well as work on my mission to help one million people become self-employed through an entrepreneurial hub offering.”
Lucy Telfer, Library Manager, commented: “We are delighted announce that we will be joining forces with entrepreneur, Simon Squibb and the team at the Purposeful Project. Our focus has always been to support the community here in Belsize Park the best we can.
"This really is a unique opportunity for the local community to better harness its entrepreneurial spirit through the support and insights that the Purposeful Project team can provide. The last six months have been particularly hard for so many people, and this is one way in which the community can fight back against the economic effects. We believe that by adding new services to our present platform, we will be able to ensure we stay part of the community for decades to come.”
The long term vision sees this library-based entrepreneurial hub being rolled out across as many other libraries in London as possible, and ultimately across the whole of the UK. This ambitious goal hopes to help children, teenagers and adults of all backgrounds gain the skills, tools and networks they need to become successful entrepreneurs and fall in love with what they do.
Later down the line, plans look to expand this offering into two further services. ‘Office Hours’, will be a weekly drop-in session hosted by other successful entrepreneurs who will offer advice, take part in Q&As and provide mentoring and support to those building new business plans. ‘Entrepreneur School’ will be an after-school club for children and teenagers to educate them about business and entrepreneurship, a topic that Simon feels should become a crucial part of national education.
After selling his business, Fluid, to PwC in 2016, Simon has made it his mission to help others unlock their entrepreneurial spirit, a project which has been amplified due to the current economic situation.
He founded the Purposeful Project this year, with a mission to help one million people set up a business of their own. Throughout his life, Simon has founded companies on a shoestring having started his first business at 15. In total, he has started 17 businesses, invested in 66 and has mentored hundreds of founders.