Sheffield based arts charity Creative Arts Development Space (CADS) currently employs six people, as well as a host of volunteers, and operates by taking the lease of disused buildings and repurposing them to enable start-ups, new projects and creative individuals to rent them out.
The business was founded in 2009 by Steve Rimmer while he was hunting for a rental and trying to sub-let his own studio space, but stumbled across a gap in the market for creative businesses.
With a portfolio of 10 buildings, five of which are in the city centre, CADS act as an estate agent for disused buildings, organising the legal side of the lease and determining business rates. It also provides subsidized and free space and works closely with organisations like Business Sheffield to provide early stage start-up and business support services.
With over 100 clients, CADS works with a range of creative businesses including cafes that incorporate art and design, social enterprises, theatre groups, clothing makers and web designers.
Sam Parkin, business manager at CADS Sheffield, said: “Sheffield is a great place to set up a creative business, and the city houses lots of small creative businesses. It’s a really unique city as it has lots of space available right in the city centre which we can provide at an affordable price.
“Our charity is doing really well. We have seen year on year growth over the last three years and we are in the process of transitioning from a start-up to an established organisation.
“In fact, over the last couple of months we have been working on our first Social Impact report which will demonstrate what we do as a charity. As a city, Sheffield has a do-it-yourself culture and I’ve found it to be a very supportive place for small creative businesses - it’s great for us at CADS to be a part of this culture.”
To get started with their social enterprise, CADS received support from Business Sheffield and Sheffield Hallam University.
Councillor Leigh Bramall, Sheffield City Council deputy leader and cabinet member for business andeEconomy, said: “Organisations like CADS are what make Sheffield such a great, friendly place to do business and why we manage to attract and retain creative talented people.”
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