Incredible growth of Ignite start-ups highlighted at alumni networking event

Pictured (left to right): Lee Corden (PLMR Advent), Dirk Schaefer (University of Warwick Science Park), Andy Palmer (Edwards Accountants) and Paul Currie (DFA Law)


The positive impact of supporting start-up businesses on the economy has been highlighted at an event in Warwickshire.

The University of Warwick Science Park held its latest Ignite Alumni Network meeting at its Warwick Innovation Centre on the Warwick Technology Park.

The network is made up of businesses which have been supported by Ignite, which offers affordable office space for fledgling firms as well as advice and guidance, as well as some of the Science Park’s other business support programmes.

The event, which was attended by 50 of the network’s 300 members, heard from a range of speakers, including Matthew Adam of the We Are Group.

Matthew described how he was supported by Ignite and the Science Park when he and his dad were setting up in 2012.

The company started out as Silver Training offering in-home computer skills training to older people and has now evolved into the We Are Group employing more than 100 people from a headquarters in Coventry city centre.

We Are Group is now turning over £8 million, offering everything from debt advice through to digital training on behalf of clients in both the public and private sector.

Matthew said: “It’s great to be back at the place where it all began for us, here at the Warwick Innovation Centre in office 4B!

“We started the business in 2012 and moved into Ignite space in 2013 and, I have to say, this is one of the most supportive networks I have ever come across.

“It is the reason I am standing here today and we can’t thank them enough for everything they have done for the business. Ignite is a big part of our success.”

Damini Sharma, of the OM Group, also spoke highly of the support from Ignite and described how the business had bounced back from adversity and is on a new growth trajectory.

Tom Ormsby, of Raiven AI, is at the start of his business journey and is already receiving help from the University of Warwick Science Park and Ignite.

As well as hearing from businesses that have been supported, the event was also introduced to Paul Currie, of DFA Law, which is the latest sponsor of the network joining PLMR Advent and Edwards Chartered Accountants.

Louise Stolz and Stephen Convery, of the Warwickshire Skills Hub, also provided an update on the help businesses in the county can receive when it comes to skills and training.

Dirk Schafer, SME Engagement Lead at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “We are absolutely delighted to see the Ignite Alumni network growing so quickly just a year after setting it up.

“We now have more than 300 members who can all engage with and support one another, drawing on all of their own experiences, skills and, indeed, challenges.

“The latest event saw some incredible presentations that were truly inspiring and highlighted just how important it is to give small businesses support when they are starting out and how they can go on to flourish, creating jobs and investing in the regional economy.”