BRIGHTON’S reputation for creative and independent businesses has received a boost with the opening of Café Werks – the city’s newest “innovation hub.”

The café is designed to be a venue for people involved in business and creative industries to meet and share ideas.

CEO Ian Elwick said: “We wanted to make it look effortless and create a place where people could just drop in.

“Our location away from the high street in Middle Street meant the Werks cafe would have a different feel to a typical high street coffee shop.

“We have done a lot to make sure there will be a positive working environment.”

Part of that work meant ensuring, with the help of local authority funding, that the entire venue boasts wireless superfast broadband.

The atmosphere is less formal than other meeting spaces on offer to businesses and entrepreneurs.

The creators hope this will draw people from a wide variety of backgrounds and encourage them to collaborate together.

There are additional meeting spaces which can be hired, including three meeting areas which can accommodate up to 50 people, and two purpose-built video conferencing rooms.

Chief creative officer Martin Bouette said: “We love the idea of bringing people together.

“Community is at the heart of what we are doing.”

He was also keen to emphasise that cafe’s distinctly Brightonian character.

He said: “Two of the things we are most passionate about are localism and ecology.”

This extends as far as the drinks on sale.

The coffee comes from a micro-roastery in Ovingdean while the cafe serves hand-rolled loose leaf tea from a Brighton-based tea company.

The entire building is powered using solar energy and carbon emissions are minimised using low-carbon LED lighting.

As well as its green credentials, the cafe also includes green space - a small outdoor seated area the owners have dubbed a “secret garden.”

The renovation of the building cost £165,000 and was part-funded by the Coast2Capital Local Enterprise Partnership

The Werks Group owns a portfolio of ten buildings in Brighton and Hove which provide office space for more than 40 organisations from industries as diverse as digital media, crafting and charities

The group claims a large part of its success comes from offering new enterprises flexibility in the terms it offers.

“If people want support, they want it on their terms,” said Mr Elwick.

He estimated that among enterprises supported by the group, there was a two to three per cent dropout rate and this was evidence of the success of its approach.

The opening of the cafe coincided with something of a landmark for the organisation.

The event also marked the 25th anniversary of its inception which can be traced back to the launch of Brighton Media Centre in 1992.