Castle Eden tech firm moves into historical building with five-figure grant

Dec 8, 2022 | Business

A growing design and technology company has completed the purchase of a historical office building to support continued expansion and job creation.

Founded in 2016 by Ryan Carter, Creator was initially located in a single office space within Castle Eden Studios.

However, following year-on-year growth which saw the team increase to nine, Ryan felt he needed additional space to accommodate the extra staff and enable the business to meet increasing client demand.

When he was made aware that offices within the historic building were becoming available, he looked into what funding support was available to assist with the purchase.

Ryan was then introduced to the County Durham Growth Fund and following an application, he was awarded a five-figure grant.

Ryan, who worked for Peterlee company Seaward and a design agency in Milan before setting Creator up, said: “The business has grown organically since I set it up in 2016 and each year we have added to the workforce, meaning we now have nine employees.

“However, that will increase in the short term, as I have just recruited a project manager, who will enable me to focus more on the business development side of things.

“The space we initially occupied within Castle Eden Studios was pretty small and we’d got to the point where we were working on top of each other.

“I looked at options elsewhere in the region, particularly on Teesside which has a growing tech sector, but I didn’t feel it was right for us. Then rather fortuitously I was made aware that all remaining studio space was becoming available, so I started looking into whether we could purchase them.

“I spoke to the guys at the County Durham Growth Fund who advised that they could help with the purchase of the offices, and because of that I decided to take on more space than I would have – in fact, what we’ve taken on is around four times as big as the studio we initially occupied, which gives us the perfect environment from which to grow.”

Creator works with companies in a range of sectors including entertainment and events, iGaming, e-commerce, real estate, student accommodation and finance.

The business provides services including web design, web development, and social media ad design and strategy.

The County Durham Growth Fund is managed by Business Durham in partnership with UMi and is supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). All successful grant applications are appraised by UNW LLP, an independent firm of chartered accountants and business advisers.

Guy Bashford, DBOP Business Engagement Officer at Business Durham, has worked closely with Creator to support the application to the County Durham Growth Fund.

He said: “Creator is a real home-grown success story, a business that has expanded organically from just one employee to soon having a workforce of 10. The purchase of the additional space within Castle Eden Studies will take the business to the next level and gives Ryan and the team the perfect base from which to continue to grow.”

Gary Lynch from UMi said: “While Ryan was keen to move into bigger offices, he probably wouldn’t have made the purchase of so much additional space without the support of the County Durham Growth Fund. Now, the future is looking very promising with the potential to grow even further over the coming months.”

Lara Marshall, Grant Support Services Manager at UNW, said: “It’s great news that with the grant support they’ve had from the County Durham Growth Fund, Creator has been able to purchase much larger premises to support its expansion plans.”

Ryan added: “Investing in this additional space means we now own our future – we’re not in anyone else’s hands and that’s a fantastic position to be in.”

Ryan’s purchase of Castle Eden Studios has given him an additional 2066 sq. ft of space at Castle Eden Studios to grow Creator into an agency the region can be proud of.