Rent-free workspace for seven innovative Brighton start-ups at FIELD
With ever-increasing rents appearing to be the number one reason why most city centre start-ups struggle to launch, it’s refreshing to see FIELD, a temporary project at Brighton’s Preston Barracks, aiming to provide rent-free workspaces to a diverse range of entrepreneurial makers. After a very successful first round of applications from people needing space to help grow their businesses, seven innovative start-ups from across Brighton and Hove have been selected to take residency at FIELD, the brand new initiative that only opened its doors in March.
FIELD’s ultimate goal is to inform the design of a large-scale campus for product design and technology start-ups, as part of the regeneration of the Preston Barracks development on Lewes Road. The project aims to empower Brighton and Hove’s entrepreneurs, inventors and product designers, by giving them around 12-months free access to a diverse workspace to develop and bring their projects to market. The makers will also unite with like-minded people and organisations to form a community at FIELD that thrives on the free exchange of ideas between creative innovators and inventors.
The chosen businesses moving into FIELD covers a broad range of business and includes everything from The Bug Boys, a sustainable food manufacturer innovating the farming of edible insects, to Play Talk Learn, an education tech company developing children’s toys that bring mathematical patterns to life.
Taking the remaining five spots are Intrepid Camera, producers of handmade, wooden film cameras that combine traditional craft and laser cutting; Control Freq, a bespoke door entry system that users can access through their mobile; Flux Cycle Works, who use new techniques like 3D printing to produce affordable cargo and commuter bikes; Rogue Saddler, creators of handcrafted, functional and very cool leather goods; and, finally, Union Motion, an engineering group incorporating metal fabrication and 3D printing to revolutionise the production of electric motorbikes.
“We’re excited to have secured a place at FIELD given we’re one of the youngest organisations in the group. We can’t wait to move in and get started,” said Dominic, just one of the many entrepreneurs behind Union Motion. “It’s going to be a really interesting working environment, with lots of cross pollination of ideas with our fellow makers. We’re hoping to benefit from this collaborative experience; it’s invaluable.”
The temporary FIELD residencies will help determine what facilities and support Brighton and Hove’s entrepreneurial community needs from a permanent facility and will be incorporated within the new buildings when construction begins. The FIELD project is the first step in the design of The Central Research Laboratory, a large scale campus for product design and technology start-ups, which will be a permanent facility in the Preston Barracks development.
James Nettleton, who leads property regeneration company, U+I’s work with creative entrepreneurs and is overseeing FIELD, said: “It’s been a tough selection process, but we are delighted to announce the seven successful applicants who will be calling FIELD their home for at least the next year. The makers were selected based on their use of innovation in their design or manufacturing process, bringing new approaches to their fields of sustainability, technology and design.
“These start-ups embody what this project is all about: innovation and new ways of tackling challenges. Whether it’s finding solutions to the global food crisis or finding affordable manufacturing processes for cargo bikes and photography equipment, the new companies were selected as they are all meaningfully different and utilise innovation for the greater good.”