Plus X Brighton
Olga Hopton is our Plus X Brighton Managing Director. With just a few weeks to go till opening, we find out what she’s looking forward to and what inspires her about Brighton
What excites you most about Plus X Brighton?
It is a completely unique initiative where entrepreneurs can grow their business while contributing to transforming the geographic place where the hub is located. The creation of jobs and enabling people to grow and realise their potential is part of the unique Plus X formula. I feel very lucky to be able to be part of a company with such a positive and meaningful vision. A combination of innovation support, healthy work space and onsite specialist facilities boost the growth for startups which results in job creation. It’s a win win for everyone!
And what’s more – we can’t wait to announce our new support programme providing business support for scaleups (soon to be announced) and unveil our beautiful biophilic roof terrace… roll on the summer!
Plus X Brighton is on track to receive WELL Building Standards: Platinum, tell us more about that…
WELL is the leading tool for advancing health and wellbeing in buildings. We spend so much time at work and it is easy to forget how much the urban environment affects us. We want to create Plus X buildings that support productivity and positivity in tune with our natural human rhythm and needs. Hydration, air quality, promotion of movement and ample natural light are just some of the WELL features. Check out their website for more info!
As a Managing Director, what do you think are three key qualities you need for the role?
Think big, be tenacious! Always try to set a good example and help pull teams together to achieve an overall shared vision.
Tell us a little bit about your career path before Plus X…
I started working when I was 17 in hospitality and moved to the UK a year later. I have worked in some amazing venues such as theatres and symphony halls organising and running hospitality events. I graduated in 2009 in the midst of the credit crunch and despite making the final stages of various graduate schemes I failed to make the final cut. My property management journey started at the Custard Factory in Birmingham, a 15 acres site full of creative businesses and historic factory buildings. It’s where the original Birds’ Custard was invented! I looked after contract renewals at first, moving into project management and facilities later on. A few years later I moved to Brighton following my husband’s new appointment. This is where I opened and ran Platf9rm, a community focused coworking space. A few years later, I met U+I’s development team and I was hooked! I initially consulted for U+I before becoming one of the very first Plus X employees.
Why would you encourage a business to start up in Brighton?
It is an amazing place to be and is welcoming and nurturing. Brighton has a lot of talent coming out of two great universities and of course its very commutable from London. Gatwick is just 30 min away for international travel too. There’s plenty to do to keep your weekends action-packed and the sea is there to clear your head after a hard day. Brighton buzzes with creativity and there is an overwhelming feeling of freedom to express.
Do you have any advice for a business looking to scale up?
Don’t be afraid of investment – it will help you to scale faster. It is often hard to accept parting with equity in your company but be bold and take the risk. Accept advice and get a great lawyer to negotiate a good deal for you. It’s hard to scale without funding.
We’ve heard you’re a restaurant connoisseur, where are your favourite places to eat breakfast, lunch and dinner in Brighton?
I love Redroaster’s on St James’ for bottomless brunch. The Pond has the best Baos and The Pond fries are my absolute favourite. Flour Pot for cakes – gluten free orange and polenta is my choice – and the sourdough is to die for! For dinner, I recommend the family owned Red Snapper for authentic Thai, it is delicious. And for a treat – the Salt Rooms. I love their cod fritters and they have a great selection of wine.
And of course, where’s the best coffee spot?
My local is the Small Batch in Seven Dials, I love their Oatley cortados. For a great cup of filter coffee, I head back to Redroaster’s – my favourite is the Rwandan, which is not only processed naturally, but also offers great support for the farmers who grow the beans. Redroaster will actually be supplying our coffee by bicycle – super sustainable!
We also collaborated with local tea blending experts, Bird and Blend Tea Co, to create our exclusive blend “ProductiviTEA” – a tea to boost your energy levels for sustained productivity.
Any final thoughts for potential business members considering Plus X Brighton?
Book your tour and come see for yourself!! Our team will show you the space and all the elements of the building that make us different from any other UK innovation hub.