Working with vulnerable adults and supporting strong family relationships, a Community Interest Company has seen its turnover double since moving operations to an award-winning Cornish Innovation Centre.
After establishing itself at the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre in Truro and being supported to grow its business, Inspire Cornwall CIC is now set to move on to larger premises, employ 11 permanent members of staff and launch its own nursery and apprenticeship and training programme.
Thanks to the targeted support and knowledge of staff at the Treliske-based Innovation Centre operated by Plymouth University, Inspire has also just been awarded £50,000 match funding through the Grow on Growth Fund, which is directly aimed at supporting businesses when they leave business incubation centres.
Inspire plans to put the fund towards the set-up cost of its new nursery and training programme at Heartlands, Pool.
Julian Bose, director of Inspire Cornwall CIC along with Kim Parker, said: “We never would have been as successful as we have been if it wasn’t for the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre. Moving to the centre was the best move we could have made.
“When we arrived, we realised there were so many business support services on offer, alongside a great support network that we could tap into. The staff have been amazing, they couldn’t have done more for us, and being able to learn from their knowledge and experience of the business world has been invaluable.”
Inspire began from Julian and Kim’s passion to help vulnerable people reach their full potential. Since setting up the CIC in 2010, the team has worked with a number of organisations including social services departments, the Ministry of Justice and Cornwall Council.
After moving to the HWIC business acceleration centre in 2013, Inspire also launched the innovative ‘Dads’ Club Pack’, a bite-size bag of resources to help first-time fathers prepare for parenthood.
The scheme was rolled out across Cornwall and proved so successful that Inspire is now in discussion with the NHS to introduce it throughout the South West.
As the business began to grow, Inspire also took on the training and development of people wanting to begin a career in childcare, using £250,000 of European funds to help hundreds of Cornwall College students gain their industry qualifications.
The focus has been on working in partnership with small nurseries, helping them access continuing professional development and quality apprenticeship training
“If we weren’t based at the Innovation Centre, we would have only been able to focus on one project at a time instead of simultaneously managing a number, and we would never have got to this point at such an early stage in our business development,” said Julian, who worked in the Probation Service before taking his role with Inspire full time.
The Truro facility is one of three acclaimed business acceleration centres in Cornwall operated by Plymouth University on behalf of Cornwall Council, which support companies to grow their businesses more quickly.
The Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre, along with its sister centres Pool Innovation Centre and Tremough Innovation Centre, are operated by Plymouth University with the support of GAIN, the Growth, Acceleration and Investment Network which aims to boost business growth and job creation in the South West. Cornwall Innovation is supported by £29million of investment provided by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
Companies based at the centres have enjoyed record annual growth of up to 68 per cent in one year thanks to the dedicated business support available.
And with each enterprise staying at an incubation site for an average of three years, the centres have already helped to shape the future of hundreds of emerging businesses in the region.
Karen Murray, Manager of the Health and Wellbeing Innovation Centre, Truro, said: “It has been a very rewarding experience watching and helping Inspire CIC to grow into the successful business it is today. Stories like this one really help to highlight just what can be achieved if the right support is given to a business, and I wish the team at Inspire the best of luck for the future.
“We are now home to around 30 health, wellbeing and lifestyle businesses and I am looking forward to continuing to help them to grow and flourish whilst welcoming new companies to the centre.”