THE latest intake is settling in at a York incubator for creative digital ventures – just as the venture is declared a resounding success.

The Phoenix Centre, based on the campus of York St John University, was formed in April 2009 by Science City York and funded by Yorkshire Forward until the summer of 2011.

It was a pilot scheme designed to put these businesses, mostly start-ups, at the centre of academic as well as corporate life, with a communal support scheme to help fast track them to success.

Most of the pioneers of 2009 have flourished to the point where they have now found their own commercial premises, leaving room for the next generation of energetic enterprises. Technically they began last July, but the university has been renovating the hexagonal Phoenix Centre for a seven-figure sum and the delay has meant that they are now holding an official launch party next month.

Creative businesses, potential clients, politicians and others have been invited to the launch at the Bar Lane Centre in Bar Lane Studio York, on September 1.

A recent review of the experiment was carried out by Len Cruddas, former chief executive of the York and North Yorkshire Chamber of Commerce and now a business consultant.

He declared the overall project to have been successful so far and put forward recommendations to make it even better.

These included the holding of weekly meetings between the businesses to promote greater collaboration, as well as get-togethers between other York incubation centres such as Design Works, at York St John University’s Design Centre, and Bar Lane Studios, the visual arts centre.

Heather Niven, creative York network manager in charge of the Phoenix Centre, said: “This new generation will, therefore, have the advantage of even greater integration with similar ventures.

“We have some really good potential high-growth companies this time, like the rapidly growing Snapshot Media, and the high-flying Serinib, a sentiment analysis company, and Live&Love York has already doubled its circulation and is due to double again. It is now special media sponsor for Illuminating York Festival in October.

“Between them they are also employing more people, including university interns, which means that this year we have room for six businesses, as opposed to 11 last year. They are all really excited and looking forward to intensifying their collaborative work into next year.”

The centre is looking at some of the local enterprise partnerships to secure funding for the future and hopefully working even closer with York St John to make it happen.

The new companies to keep an eye out for

So who are the new kids on the Phoenix block?

• Sujeewa Alwis, of, Serenib Ltd, which develops software that delivers actionable insights for marketing groups from social media.

• Stu Goulden and Samantha-Kay Foster, of publishing and design company Live&Love.

• Dom Smith of Soundsphere magazine online and print magazine for alternative music scene in the north of England.

• Dario Grandich, Lawrence Dudley, Andy Fitch and James Hall, of, Snapshot Media, a multi-disciplined digital media company, specialising in corporate design, website development, internet marketing and application development.

• Carl Letman, of Agathon Productions Ltd, an independent production company which specialises in making high-quality factual, educational and corporate videos for clients in the public, private and third sectors.

• Keith Findlater, of Keith Findlater Photography, offering film and digital photography using technical and creative experience with digital media.