FIELD was created by developer and regeneration specialist U+I in August 2015.

A derelict building at Preston Barracks in Brighton was transformed into a co-working space for a collection of innovative, start-up local businesses while the site awaited planning permission and development.

Each of the businesses offered something very different, from handcrafted leather products to encouraging children to become the next generation of inventors.

But by working together to offer one another advice, support and community, these businesses have been able to grow and develop at a rate that wouldn’t have been possible alone.

And they’ve seen real success:

Intrepid Camera, which makes traditional large format cameras at affordable prices, has raised more than £200,000 through crowd-funding.

Founder Max Grew says that the space provided by U+I at FIELD saved him enough money to employ another member of his team and get his business off the ground.

Sarah Chitty, development manager at U+I, said: “FIELD is just the beginning of our plans for the Preston Barracks site.

“Offering a temporary home to some of Brighton’s most innovative start-ups, FIELD has allowed us to learn much more about what local businesses want and need from this development, while also making productive use of the land.

“These learnings will feed into our plans for a 50,000 sq ft incubator hub for start-up businesses and entrepreneurs which will be part of the final scheme.”

Construction at Preston Barracks is scheduled to start in the first quarter of 2018 to deliver a £300 million public private partnership project which will create over 1,500 jobs, hundreds of new homes and attract more than £500 million into the city over the next ten years, as part of the Momentum Lewes Road scheme.

Now the residents at FIELD are embarking on an exciting new chapter.

The success and sense of community among the entrepreneurs is such that they have decided to carry on working together, with U+I helping them to find a new site to move on to after Preston Barracks closed for redevelopment.

The entrepreneurs have created their own limited company Leftfield which aims to carry on where FIELD left off – giving co-workers the space and sense of communal endeavour to enable them to expand their businesses.

The new Leftfield site is a large warehouse on the Longley Industrial Estate, Brighton, which the group is sub-dividing into smaller workshops.

The residents moved in last November and each entrepreneur has doubled their workshop space in the new location.

They have also formed a limited company so that they can sub-let extra space in the new site, creating the potential for new entrepreneurs to join the group in the future.

A total of eight entrepreneurs were selected to take space at FIELD.

Six are now moving on together to Leftfield.

These are: P Kirkwood; Play Talk Learn; Control Freq; Intrepid Camera; Union Motion and MakerClub.

So who are they? Control Freq develops unique entry systems, evolving the technology behind intercom and door-entry systems into advanced on-demand car park access systems for “Airbnb of parking” providers.

Noel Sesto from Control Freq said: “During my time at FIELD, my business grew threefold and I gained determination and focus for the next few years.

“It’s been pivotal in turning my business around, getting more focused and feeling more positive about my business and personal future

“The community at FIELD has probably been the best part of the whole experience. I’ve never worked in a place where so many of the residents get along and help each other out.

“The fact that most of us are moving on together shows that. The unique opportunity that comes from an otherwise dead space is immeasurable. Using the space has kept a pulse in the area.

“I hope that in the future, more spaces give similar opportunities to entrepreneurs looking for a helping hand to get going.

“It’s one way that local government and developers can help small businesses to boost the economy in uncertain times.”

P Kirkwood creates handcrafted, functional and stylish leather bags and satchels for both men and women, including utility goods such as tool rolls and aprons.

Paula Kirkwood said: “Thanks to FIELD, I am able to sell to stockists and do custom work which was not an option to me before I had the space.

“My online sales are up 180 per cent on last year’s figures while my custom work is up 150 per cent on last year.

“Being around like-minded people in business is very important.

“I now have a great set of like-minded colleagues who help each other out with all kinds of business as well as product development.

“FIELD has given me the opportunity to grow my business but also to meet new friends and be part of something that is constantly evolving.

“U+I have been very supportive, giving us lots of information on developing start-ups and networks to join.

“If we needed any business help or advice, they were there to help us find the answer.”

Play Talk Learn is a start-up dedicated to innovating early learning.

The company’s new product is a set of intelligent blocks that use colour to bring mathematical patterns to life.

The product brings together the best of digital technology and hands-on learning to provide a powerful and engaging way for pre-school and early school children (two to six years old) to play, talk and learn mathematics at home or school, with their parents or teachers.

Dave Lock from Play Talk Learn said: “The support from U+I has allowed us to focus our efforts and consolidate our work. We have learned a lot about collaboration from FIELD. Everyone helps each other whenever someone is working on something new to them, there is usually someone who has already had experience of the process that can help.”

MakerClub is a network of after-school clubs based in the UK designed to teach invention and all the skills that come with it, in order to build a world-wide squad of creative thinkers, designers and problem solvers, ready to take on the world and remake it for the better.

Simon Riley from MakerClub said: “When we joined FIELD, we were hoping to make connections with a community of start-ups in the same position and grow our company without the burden of high rents.

“As a small business, it can be very hard to make a mistake when you also have to make sure that everyone gets paid.

“Having the space at FIELD has enabled us to make these mistakes, learn from them and develop our direction.”

The Intrepid Camera is a handmade wooden 4×5 film camera, which combines modern manufacturing with traditional carpentry to create a beautiful handmade and lightweight professional product.

It is an affordable option for young photographers who would have otherwise been priced out of the market.

In 2017 Intrepid Camera successfully raised more than £200,000 through crowd-funding to launch their new bigger camera, the Intrepid 8x10.

Founder Max has said that the space provided by U+I at FIELD saved him enough money to employ another member of his team and get his business off the ground.

Union Motion is a socially responsible engineering and innovation group that works on electric power systems for lightweight vehicles.

The company incorporates metal fabrication, 3D printing and electrical systems design to produce electric motorbikes.