The £12m iHub innovation centre on Infinity Park is celebrating its fifth anniversary, with the arrival of a number of ambitious, growing businesses.
Since it was launched in Autumn 2016, the 45,000 ft2 facility, which is part of the Connect Derby portfolio of managed workspaces, has gone from strength to strength, attracting some of the biggest names in the region’s automotive, rail and aerospace supply chain industries.
And despite the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the economy, occupancy levels at the iHub have remained consistently high, with regional, national and global businesses taking advantage of the building’s strategic location on Infinity Park, the 100-acre manufacturing focused commercial and technology site.
Tenants now include global aerospace giant Airbus; Composite Braiding, which specialises in thermoplastic composite braiding and VRCO, an advanced aviation company, which is developing the world’s first British-made flying car.
New tenants include leadership training and consultancy firm Project4 Learning Lab; French multinational technology consulting and engineering company, Alten and WePower Consulting, which helps businesses in the energy, construction, transport and recycling industries work towards emission reductions.
An agreement with the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (NAMRC) is set to bring yet more investment to the area. The NAMRC has set up home at the iHub while a multi-million pound innovation facility on Infinity Park is being developed.
iHub, which has Enterprise Zone status, is the centre piece of Infinity Park, which is located between Sinfin and Chellaston, to the south of the city, close to the world headquarters of Rolls-Royce Civil Aerospace and within 15 minutes of OEMs including Bombardier, Toyota and JCB, with direct links to the A50 and M1.
The iHub provides high quality, flexible workspace for start-ups, early stage businesses and high growth SME’s looking to expand their role within the transport engineering and hi-tech sectors.
As well as offering 18 traditional office workspaces, the managed workspace provides 14 ground floor workshops for businesses seeking a more hybrid working environment. The state-of-the art workshops cater for a broad range of uses in a managed workspace environment.
One of the unique facilities available at the iHub is the innovative ‘iLab’, which promotes invention by enabling the rapid prototyping of a range of products and services. It also boasts high end virtual reality, 3D printing and surface microscope equipment.
The iHub also offers a multi-purpose ‘heart space’ area, which is establishing itself as a popular venue for conferences and events, along with meeting and seminar rooms.
Speaking about the success of the iHub since its launch five years ago, Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the high level of success the iHub has achieved since it joined the Connect Derby portfolio of buildings.
“To maintain occupancy levels and be welcoming new tenants in the current economic climate is a fantastic achievement and reflects the high-quality accommodation and range of support services we have available.
“The iHub provides the exact kind of quality, diverse workspace that is in high demand in Derby. We look forward to the future and to seeing the iHub attract a whole new range of world-leading companies to Derby.”
Cllr Jonathan Smale, Cabinet Member for Finance, Assets and Digital at Derby City Council said: “The iHub continues to deliver year after year, even during testing economic climates, attracting some of the biggest names in the automotive, rail and aerospace supply chain industries. This success reinforces Derby’s reputation as the UK ‘capital for innovation’.
“The diverse portfolio of tenants demonstrates that there is strong demand for high quality workspace, facilities and partnerships.”
The iHub builds on the success of the hugely popular Connect Derby scheme, which has created a strong market for mixed use and sector specific serviced offices across the city at its six other buildings – Friar Gate Studios, Marble Hall, Riverside Chambers, Sadler Bridge Studios and Kings Chambers.
The iHub has received funding from the Regional Growth Fund and European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), as well as Derby City Council and the University of Derby.