TRAINING services provider Inspire2Independence (i2i) has finally lived up to its name.
Five years after taking “incubation” space on the 21-acre York Science Park, the organisation has spread its wings and moved to premises more than twice the size in Millfield Lane, Nether Poppleton.
Its story of rapid growth fostered by the proximity of the University of York and other hi-tech businesses to the point of breaking free as a major employer is the dream scenario envisaged by the founders of the Science Park.
Launched in 2004 by James Gore, Kent Mayall, Matthew Gore and Shaun McKenna, i2i began as a micro enterprise with only one room in the York Science Park’s Biocentre.
After its first year, it landed a blockbuster £475,000 contract using Blackburn Rovers Football Club’s Ewood Park ground as a base to get the jobless of Blackburn and Darwen back to work – forerunner of millions of pounds of Government contracts won to prepare unemployed people for work.
Over the last five years of rapid growth, the company moved to the Innovation Centre, where it took four rooms totalling 2500 sq ft to house its 20 head office based staff. Today, i2i turns over £6 million – forecast to rise to £12.2 million within the next year – and in addition to its new 6,000 sq ft York headquarters, it now operates 14 training centres employing nearly 200 people in Yorkshire and Humber, the North East, Greater Manchester and the East and West Midlands.
Shaun McKenna, director of i2i, said: “Starting out on York Science Park has proved hugely beneficial to the development of the company. It provided us with flexible, high quality office facilities that we have been able to expand as we have developed.
“It is a vibrant community to work in and the opportunities for collaboration and networking with other residents on the park has been really useful.”
Fellow Innovation Centre resident Fenton & Simpson Financial Services has provided i2i with both business and personal financial support.
Mark Fenton, of Fenton & Simpson, said: “We have watched them grow rapidly over the last five years. We are delighted to have been able to assist in their move, and wish them every success for the future.”
Tracey Smith, general manager of York Science Park, said: “i2i is a perfect example of how choosing to locate a new business on York Science Park results in much more than just having great office space to start your company in.
“It provides both formal and informal networking opportunities and a dynamic working environment which often results in joint projects and collaborations.”