Official launch of new Plus X innovation hub in Brighton & BRITE Programme for Businesses in Sussex

Published: 20 Jul 2020

Plus X Brighton is the first in a national network of new innovation hubs, designed to help business and communities prosper through growth and innovation support, curated collaboration, inspiring work space and state-of-the-art prototyping workshops and media studios

+In partnership with the University of Brighton, Plus X Brighton launches BRITE, an innovation programme, bringing millions of pounds of specialised support to ambitious businesses in the region

+Plus X will generate as much 160x more social and economic value than that of a traditional office building helping catalyse local economic activity and regeneration

Plus X innovation hubs transform areas, adding vibrancy and productivity, helping businesses scale with innovation support and unlocking partnership potential with global corporations, education partners and local communities. Plus X innovation hubs are designed to create impact at both a global business and local economic level.   

Co-CEOs, Paul Rostas and Mat Hunter co-founded and jointly lead the Plus X business. Officially launching on 14th July, Plus X Brighton was developed with support from specialist regeneration developer, U+I plc. It is the first building to complete within U+I’s Preston Barracks site, one of Brighton’s largest ever regeneration schemes, and will act as a driver of economic activity at the development.

Designed to be one of the healthiest work spaces in the country, Plus X Brighton is on track to join a handful of international buildings to be accredited Platinum standard by the WELL Building Institute, a global marker of building design focused on wellbeing, which has become a key benchmark for major global occupiers. 

Plus X Brighton unveils £10.5m programme to help business innovate and scale

To coincide with the launch of Plus X Brighton, a new three year business growth and innovation programme will be unveiled. BRITE (Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange) in partnership with the University of Brighton will bring £10.5m worth of support to hundreds of businesses in the Sussex region. The BRITE programme is funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and property regeneration specialists, U+I plc.

The 7-storey, 53,000 sq ft purpose built Brighton innovation hub has been designed by architect Studio Egret West to support companies of all sizes. As well as inspiring work space, meeting rooms, outdoor networking and event spaces, Plus X Brighton provides state-of-the-art facilities with leading technology and equipment to enable members to develop concepts and create first batch product prototypes. 

Facilities include precision CNC milling machines, laser cutters, UX test suites, electronics laboratory, image, video and podcast studios to cater for members like Lucy Hughes, the winner of the international James Dyson Award for her biodegradable solution to single use plastic.

BRITE businesses will occupy two floors of dedicated space at Plus X Brighton with access to an impressive range of research and development facilities, including high spec machinery, equipment and expertise, with specialist design teams to assist with prototype build and new product development. The BRITE programme will also give members access to the University of Brighton’s unique, dynamic and impact focused innovation tools and programmes, developed by the University’s Centre for Change, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management (CENTRUM).

Paul Rostas, Co-CEO of Plus X, said: “The transition from start-up to scale-up is a difficult journey, particularly in these challenging times with business recovery so vital right now. Our Plus X Brighton innovation hub has been designed to help businesses overcome these hurdles by equipping them with the tools and support they need to unlock their potential and drive growth and innovation. Brighton is home to an incredibly rich pool of talent and ranks as one of the UK’s best locations to study and start a business. We’re delighted it is the home of our first Plus X innovation hub and the location for BRITE, our major innovation programme for businesses in this region”.

Richard Upton, Chief Development Officer at U+I, said: “As well as providing the support that Britain’s new generation of entrepreneurs, start-ups, scale-ups and innovators need to grow and thrive, the Plus X model works to catalyse economic activity within large-scale brownfield developments, creating a magnet that attracts people and businesses into a new area. This is so important as the nation moves forward after the COVID-19 pandemic, as we must now work even harder, and more creatively, to stimulate economic activity. Plus X Brighton is the first building to complete at our Preston Barracks development, helping to create a sense of place and sparking activity at what is one of Brighton’s largest ever regeneration schemes, all the while supporting the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who are remaking the UK’s economy.”

A catalyst for the Plus X model is the Central Research Laboratory (CRL), a proof of concept innovation hub currently housed at The Old Vinyl Factory, U+I’s  large-scale regeneration scheme in Hayes, West London, once home to Thorn EMI’s headquarters and a hub for early British engineering innovation.

Soon to evolve to Plus X Powerhouse, an innovation hub three times its current size and scope, CRL has already supported more than 100 technology and hardware businesses, with the creation of 100+ jobs and over £10m investment raised.

A study commissioned for Plus X undertaken by economic consultant Real Worth, assessed the economic and social impact of CRL and concluded that the Plus X innovation hub model creates as much as 160 times more social and economic value as that of a traditional office and 16x that of a mainstream co-working space.

With the successful launch of Plus X Brighton, a national network of Plus X innovation hubs will launch across the UK over the next five years. Plus X is working with U+I to unlock further opportunities within its large-scale brownfield regeneration projects. Plus X is also actively pursuing opportunities within schemes promoted by other developers, local authorities and public sector organisations, in order to bring its unique business innovation and local economic support formula to different parts of the country.

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