Graham Fenton (left) and Simon Lewsley (middle), directors of ICU, are pictured outside their new premises with Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby.

Member Article

IT Support Company Expands to New Premises After a Decade at Friar Gate Studios

After a decade at Connect Derby’s Friar Gate Studios, one of the building’s longest serving tenants is moving to larger offices on Vernon Gate in the city as part of the next phase of its expansion programme.

IT support company ICU moved into the managed workspace scheme for the creative industries on Ford Street in May 2008 after originally operating from client and home offices. Now Graham Fenton, Simon Lewsley and their team have bid a fond farewell to Friar Gate Studios and moved into their own space at Gleneagles House.

Graham and Simon originally chose Friar Gate Studios as the base for the business after looking for a space where their remote team could work together and grow.

Aware that Derby City Council supports small businesses through the Connect Derby scheme, Graham and Simon were introduced to Ann Bhatti, then centre manager at Friar Gate Studios, whose passion and energy convinced them to set up home there.

ICU now employs ten staff and works across multiple sectors, include manufacturing, automotive, professional services, education and not-for-profit. Its services range from IT support, business continuity and IT consultancy to managed services, preventative maintenance and hosting and cloud services.

The company’s customer base spans the UK and many of its clients have been with the business since it started more than 18 years ago, which Simon attributes to its excellent customer service.

The search for new premises began earlier this year when Simon realised his team needed a bigger space in order to cope with the next phase in the company’s development.

Unable to find a solution at Friar Gate Studios and the wider Connect Derby buildings, they started looking in the local vicinity and found a property just down the road on Vernon Gate.

ICU and Connect Derby intend to maintain the good relationship they have built over the past decade and will continue to work in collaboration on procedures such as risk assessment and fire marshal training.

Reflecting on the company’s time at Friar Gate Studios, Simon said:

“After our initial years of trading, we had outgrown our home offices and we realised we needed to find a permanent home for the company.

“Friar Gate Studios offered exactly what we were looking for and the help and support we’ve received from Ann Bhatti and the Connect Derby team has been an invaluable part of our growth as a business.

“Being a part of the Connect Derby family has been a truly rewarding experience and we’re very sad to be leaving, but will stay in touch with Ann, who has become a real friend to the company.”

Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby added:

“It’s bitter-sweet to be saying goodbye to Graham, Simon and the ICU team; we’re sad to see one of our oldest tenants leave, but also immensely proud of how the business has grown and developed since they’ve been with us.

“I look forward to staying in touch and supporting the business as much as possible in the future.”

Connect Derby is a £30m project which brings together Derby City Council’s workspaces under one banner to create jobs for local people. It provides micro businesses, entrepreneurs and SMEs with the high specification working environment, IT infrastructure and business support they need to improve business survival rates and act as a catalyst for expansion and growth.

Friar Gate Studios was the first of the Connect Derby brand of managed workspaces, which now includes seven buildings - the iconic Marble Hall on Nightingale Road in Osmaston, Riverside Chambers, Sadler Bridge Studios, Kings Chambers, Shot Tower and the iHub innovation centre on Infinity Park.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Donna Hill .

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