A HIGH-TECH business building aims to make Sussex an innovation hotspot in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Plus X Brighton “innovation hub” in Preston Barracks opened last Tuesday and will provide a home for the city’s creative entrepreneurs.
The building has been kitted out with world-class tech including laser cutters, precision milling machines and an electronics laboratory.
Now Plus X and the University of Brighton will run the three-year Brighton Research Innovation Technology Exchange programme to support ambitious businesses in the area, dubbed the Brite programme.
Teams from Plus X and the university’s Centre for Change, Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management will help develop cutting-edge products from small firms, said centre director George Tsekouras.
“The Brite project is a unique opportunity to use our research capability and knowledge to make an impact in our region, helping small- and medium-sized enterprises to grow and develop an international competitive edge,” he said.
“The team will use methodologies and tools specially designed to facilitate innovation-led growth among small and medium-sized enterprises, including a series of masterclasses and interactive workshops on the latest trends in innovation management and entrepreneurship.”
Successful applicants to the £10.5 million programme will receive support from the university and Plus X.
This includes product research, one-to-one coaching with mentors, and opportunities to partner with the university and major companies.
Businesses in the programme will also get access to cutting-edge research and development tech to help build prototypes and products.
University of Brighton vice-chancellor Professor Debra Humphris said the programme will help Sussex’s businesses recover and grow in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
“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 area,” she said.
“This is, I’m sure, the start of a fantastic strategic partnership with our new neighbours at Plus X Brighton.”
Coast to Capital Local Enterprise Partnership, a group of councils and businesses which contributed £7.7 million towards the new building, said the new programme will help get businesses “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,” said chief executive Jonathan Sharrock.
“I look forward to hearing success stories from businesses taking part in the programme in the future. This is a critical time for small- and medium-sized enterprises across the area.”
To register for the programme, visit briteinnovation.co.uk.