The success of two businesses supported by the University of Warwick Science Park is being celebrated as they prepare for the next chapter of their business ventures.
Pictured: Jane Talbot, Centre Manager at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Innovation Centre with James and Matthew Adam from We Are Digital, Ben Skirth and Chris Golby and Dirk Schafer, a Business Ready adviser at the University of Warwick Science Park.
Evolyst and We Are Digital have been based at the Innovation Centre on Gallows Hill since their inception.
Throughout their time, the companies have been aided through several programmes including Ignite, Minerva and Business Ready – but both businesses are now moving to pastures new as their success means they need larger premises.
Jane Talbot, Centre Manager at the University of Warwick Science Park’s Innovation Centre, said that both companies were fantastic examples of what could be achieved with a combination of their own hard work and support from the science park.
“Although we are sad to see Evolyst and We Are Digital leave the park, we are so pleased of all their achievements and the fact that they are proving to be so successful,” said Jane.
“It’s companies like these that the Science Park can support from the very beginning. Their moves are testament to them and staff at the Science Park, with its associated programmes, and how well they work.”
We Are Digital was launched in 2012 under the name Silver Training with the help of the Ignite business start-up programme to provide computer training at home for the over-50s.
It has widened its business offer and now provides courses for housing associations providing tutoring for many areas of the community that experience ‘digital exclusion’.
Started by father and son, James and Matthew Adam, the firm employs more than 50 people, which is expected to increase with their move to Coventry city centre.
Matthew said: “We are sad to be leaving the Innovation Centre, but this is what it was created for, to give businesses like ours a start and somewhere to grow and develop.
“It is exciting to see the business expand and take it to the next level and the Science Park has been there for us from the beginning.
“What is great is the fact that we are staying in the area, which means that we can continue to get support and advice from the University through the Business Ready Scheme.”
Evolyst provides mental health and wellbeing software apps and has also been supported by the Science Park’s Ignite programme.
The company was formed in 2012 by Ben Skirth and Chris Golby and began trading in 2014. One of the reasons for its move to Birmingham has been the creation of Lumien, a mental health analytics software platform that allows organisations to support staff by building a positive mental health strategy.
The business is increasing its team, with numbers expected to reach 20 by the end of 2019 and 30 within the next three years.
Chris said: “We have had a number of different offices during our time at the Innovation Centre. The flexibility provided by the Centre has been a huge benefit, allowing us to expand and accommodate our growing team with additional business support provided throughout our journey.
“But now we need something even larger. As we make our move to Birmingham we shall miss the security of our contacts at the Innovation Centre but feel we have a strong business model to see our company achieve its ambitious growth targets of services, turnover and staff numbers.”
Dirk Schafer, a Business Ready adviser at the University of Warwick Science Park, added: “It is sad that we’re losing two fantastic businesses from the Innovation Centre, but this is the nature of what we do and we have provided each business with the platform to grow.
“The Science Park, and its programmes, are here to support start-up businesses. It’s testament to both companies that they have achieved their initial objectives and strategy and can build on the knowledge they have gained from the services we have provided.
“We wish both companies every success for their continued development and will be keeping track of their progress.”
Business Ready is delivered by the University of Warwick Science Park and is part of the Coventry and Warwickshire Business Support Programme, which is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council.