How start-up innovators The Ink Group found the perfect launchpad at HIC.


The Ink Group launched in 2014 when husband-and-wife team, Ruth and Billy Johnson realised that her skills in HR and his experience in finance could be combined. The pair saw an opportunity to ride the incoming wave of interest following the government’s Pension Auto-Enrolment Scheme and set up The Ink Group to offer a full range of administrative services, including HR, payroll and employee benefits packages.

From the word go, The Ink Group realised they needed to find the perfect base for their business that would help them grow and support their team. From a friends’ recommendation, The Ink Group booked a tour of the Harborough Innovation Centre (HIC) and were instantly impressed by the facilities on offer. Taking on a long property lease when the business was just starting out seemed daunting, so the flexibility and one-month notice period at HIC was an attractive proposition. With meeting rooms, reception services, business support and an on-site cafe, HIC provided everything The Ink Group needed to kick-start their business.

“As soon as we moved into the Harborough Innovation Centre, everything was taken care of. It was local to us, had a great reputation and the flexibility was so important. You can just get on with your day job without having to worry about call handling, cleaning, estates management and all the other things that could throw a new business off balance. For us, it was a no-brainer”

Ruth Johnson, Director at The Ink Group

While at the centre, The Ink Group discovered the many benefits of being surrounded by like-minded entrepreneurs and experts all under one roof. Ruth particularly found the business mentoring supplied by HIC immensely helpful, taking on practical, pragmatic and insightful advice from our on-site business coach. The Ink Group has also gained dozens of valuable clients both directly and indirectly from other occupants in the centre, something that the team had not anticipated.

In just four years, The Ink Group has grown from a blank piece of paper to a company with 8 employees, 3 contractors, and a turnover growing year-on-year at a rate of 70%. Thanks to their exceptional growth, The Ink Group recently graduated from their office in the centre and are now looking to gain more clients in London, as well as explore new territories. Where the Innovation Centre gave them the support and guidance to grow and flourish, The Ink Group are now ready to spread their wings and fly the nest ” this is our goal with every one of our occupants, and we are proud to see The Ink Group take the next step in their journey.

Harborough Innovation Centre is owned and supported by Harborough District Council (HDC). As the building owner, HDC also funds the Centre’s business support provision, providing the basis for expert business advice, mentoring and workshops.