Plus X Brighton launches £10m innovation programme

Plus X Brighton launches £10m innovation programme

An exciting new business growth and innovation programme called BRITE launches today to support ambitious businesses located in the Coast to Capital region. The programme is led by a dedicated team from Plus X Brighton, in partnership with the University of Brighton. BRITE will be located at the brand new Plus X Brighton innovation hub, designed to help business and communities collaborate, innovate and grow.

BRITE (Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange) will bring £10.5m worth of support to SMEs, funded through the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) via the Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) and property regeneration specialists, U+I plc.

Over three years, BRITE plans to support more than a hundred SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises), located in the Sussex and South East (Coast to Capital LEP), region helping them scale through access to business growth expertise and world class product development facilities. In addition to accelerating business growth in the region, the programme aims to drive job creation and help attract and retain talented people in the area.

Applications are now open for businesses interested in developing innovative products or services. SMEs will need to be able to demonstrate ambitious growth plans and meet eligibility criteria.

Successful applicants will start their BRITE journey with an in-depth consultation to assess their business needs. Led by specialist innovation teams from Plus X and the University of Brighton, this diagnostic process will result in a tailored programme of support for each SME ranging from access to specialist innovation advice and expertise, product research and development services, personalised one to one coaching with business mentors, partnership opportunities with major corporates.

The BRITE programme will also provide 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 (CENTRIM).

BRITE members and their support teams will occupy two floors of dedicated space at Plus X Brighton, which also offers five further floors and 40,000 sq ft of flexible work, event and meeting space for a range of business members from freelancers to startups, scaleups and innovative corporates.

BRITE members also have 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. Facilities include precision CNC milling machines, laser cutters, UX test suites, electronics laboratory, image, video and podcast studios.

“Innovators often achieve early-stage growth at trailblazing speed but the path to scale with pace can slow significantly without good guidance” says Mat Hunter, Co-CEO at Plus X. “The BRITE programme is a fantastic opportunity to support business based in the Coast to Capital area and help them grow. For the past five years, we have built a successful innovation space and accelerator programme at the Central Research Laboratory in Hayes. We will draw on our existing experience, whilst blending our new team expertise and partnership with the world leading research from the University of Brighton, who have decades of experience working with SMEs in Sussex, unlocking unrivalled growth opportunities for our BRITE members.”

Professor Debra Humphris, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Brighton, said: “I am incredibly proud that the University of Brighton’s leading innovative research expertise will be used to help SMEs across the region recover and grow. In these unprecedented times, our community is more important than ever and we are delighted to play our part in enabling business innovation and agility across the Coast to Capital area. This is, I’m sure, the start of a fantastic strategic partnership with our new neighbours at Plus X Brighton.

Richard Upton, Chief Development Officer at U+I, said: “The BRITE programme encapsulates the ambitious and forward-thinking nature of Plus X, which is dedicated to supporting entrepreneurs, startups and scale ups in their local areas. Our experience from the Central Research Laboratory at The Old Vinyl Factory in Hayes has proved that with the right space and support, Britain’s next generation of inventors and innovators can flourish and thrive. The launch of BRITE at Plus X Brighton could not be more timely – these businesses are fundamental to our country’s economic recovery after COVID-19 and the Plus X model not only helps them scale-up, but also sparks local economic activity, catalysing the vital regeneration of communities and places that have been left behind.”

Jonathan Sharrock, Chief Executive at Coast to Capital said: “We are delighted to have supported the Plus X project with a £7.7 million Local Growth Fund contribution. This is a critical time for SMEs across the area and the BRITE programme will help businesses get back on their feet. Working with partners such as Plus X and the University of Brighton, our goal is to create spaces in which cutting-edge businesses can thrive. I look forward to hearing success stories from businesses taking part in the programme in the future.”

The launch of Plus X Brighton and BRITE will take place on 14th July 2020 at Plus X Brighton in a limited event format due to Covid19 conditions