Specialist technology management consultancy Project4 Learning Lab is the latest hi-tech business to relocate its operation to Connect Derby’s iHub innovation centre on Infinity Park.
The company was founded by Keith Howells in 2019 after a 21-year career with Rolls-Royce, working in senior engineering leadership roles and running transformational programmes. He now inspires leaders to change their way of thinking in order to improve operational performance.
Project4 Learning Lab uses a range of class-leading instructional design methods and accelerated learning techniques to provide clients with new and sustainable ways of achieving outstanding performance and making faster, better informed decisions that will help them achieve their business goals.
The office space and facilities available at the iHub will help the company to expand its services and team further as the business grows.
Its six dedicated areas of expertise include leadership training and development, business agility consulting, lean agile product development consulting, coaching for performance, digital enablement, and strategy deployment consulting.
The consulting team also use a four-step capability transfer model so the same momentum can be maintained once they have exited the business.
The company currently employs six staff and is expanding on a growth trajectory, with revenue up three times compared to the same time last year, which was up three times on the previous year. There are plans to recruit further staff during 2022 to cope with demand.
The iHub, which has Enterprise Zone status, provides quality, flexible workspace for start-ups, early-stage businesses and high growth SME’s looking to establish, or expand their role in the transport engineering and hi-tech sectors.
Since it was launched in 2016, the £12m facility has attracted a diverse range of businesses from across the rail, aerospace, and automotive supply industries. As well as 18 traditional office workspaces, it features 14 ground floor workshops for businesses seeking a more hybrid working environment.
This is complemented by the innovative ‘iLab’, which provides a local facility to undertake initial design, prototyping and testing of new products and services. It features an additive manufacturing cell, including vacuum casting machine, digital microscope, 3D printers and 3D AutoCAD software.
Speaking of their decision to base their business at the iHub, Keith Howells, said:
“We are delighted to be at the iHub, which is perfect for our needs. It was essential for us to find a high-quality, flexible workspace, and the iHub gives us a great platform to expand our customer base and collaborate with more businesses in the planes, trains, and automobiles (PTA) sector.
“The Connect Derby staff have all been very welcoming, including the reception team and business support adviser Pauline Roessler, who provided me with invaluable advice.
“We enjoy helping businesses who want to be more agile and understand their external environment better to change and improve.
"We work from the premise that insight and impetus result in innovation and work hard to improve our clients’ speed of learning, give them the insight to act differently and deliver innovation.
“Going forward we plan to grow the size of the team and increase our presence in different areas and help businesses make a bigger contribution to CSR.”
Ann Bhatti, head of Connect Derby, added:
“We’re excited to welcome Keith and his team to the iHub. For the last five years, the iHub has established a reputation for supporting innovative businesses like Project4 Learning Lab.
“We provide a collaborative environment for businesses to grow, and we look forward to supporting the team at Project4 Learning Lab as they continue their impressive growth.”
The iHub builds on the success of the 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 across the city – Friar Gate Studios, Marble Hall, Riverside Chambers, Sadler Bridge Studios, Kings Chambers and Shot Tower.
The development 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.