Castle House – the former Co-op in the Castlegate area of Sheffield – will be transformed into a ‘Maker Hub’ for start-up digital and design companies thanks to a £3.5 million grant announced in the Budget.
The five-storey partly-listed building on Angel Street, which has been empty for several years, will become an incubator for scores of small tech businesses.
It is set to have an interior makeover before opening its doors in six months, to welcome firms specialising in software, hardware, 3D printing and product design.
Sheffield’s Dotforge Accelerator – which runs bootcamp courses for start-ups – will also move in and a social enterprise will be set up to run the building.
Dotforge chief executive Emma Cheshire said she hoped growing firms would ‘spill over’ into surrounding buildings, as had happened at Tech City in London.
She said: “It’s something that’s been done all over the world and it really needed to be done in Sheffield.
“But here, it’s not only going to be tech but a mix of tech and design and the creative element that reflects the strengths of Sheffield.”
The plan was part of an £11m investment in tech incubators in Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield announced in the Budget yesterday.
The Government says the Sheffield deal will secure a further £7.8m in private funding.
Minister for digital economy Ed Vaizey said: “Manchester, Leeds and Sheffield have already shown that they are playing a key role in the development of the digital economy.
“These new hubs will bring tech entrepreneurs under one roof to share and develop their talents and ideas.
“This investment will unlock millions of pounds private funding.”