BUSINESS MONTHLY: Roco has designs on connecting businesses

Andrew Burns of ROCO
Andrew Burns of ROCO
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Roco, a creative co-operative based in seven Georgian Grade II listed terraces in the city centre, is a Key Fund-backed enterprise that will house a mixture of studio and retail space alongside a deli, cafe-bar, gallery and ‘maker space’.

Opening in November, Roco’s members range from architects and designers to economists and engineers. Using the co-operative model, it sold community shares to the general public in return for membership benefits and democratic voting powers in how the enterprise operates.

Co-founder and chief exec Andrea Burns said: “The broad mix of our membership demonstrates the connected nature of the creative industries. We are recognising the positive effect that the creative industries has on the city, not only in economic terms, but we also know the sector underpins and defines our cultural experience of Sheffield.”

Roco aims to connect creative businesses, the designers and makers to the wider community.

Andrea said: “By championing and supporting creative social entrepreneurs through our maker spaces and retail offer we want to connect environmentally, socially and community-aware consumers with designers, makers and creators who are developing innovative combinations of ecologically sound, problem solving, high-impact products and services.”

She added: “Sheffield has a really vibrant spirit of creativity and social awareness, we are looking to galvanise some of that excitement to ultimately do society and our community some good.”

Matt Smith, deputy CEO of Key Fund, added: “The Art House and Roco are great examples of the power of people to transform communities and to use social enterprise to become an even bigger influence for social change.”