Entrepreneurs will have a chance to exchange ideas and meet like-minded people as Weymouth's first purpose-built co-working space opens its doors.

Directors, councillors and business owners raised a glass on Friday when Weymouth Area Development Trust (WADT) opened the doors to Starfish Enterprise CoWork Hub - the Trust’s first social enterprise.

Chair of WADT, Chris Wilson said microenterprises, freelancers and small businesses make up more than 80 per cent of the Dorset's economy and it was 'about time' Weymouth had a collaborative, coworking space.

"Coworking, is a global phenomena and has been used across the globe to breathe new life into the economies of small towns and cities," she said.

"I think being a small business owner can be very isolating but sharing a collaborative space like this, you can bounce ideas off each other, have a chat around the coffee machine and find out where other businesses have succeeded failed," she said.

" A lot of small businesses don't need full time office space but need somewhere to hold professional meeting that isn't their living room."

Chris added Weymouth lost many of its young entrepreneurs due to a lack of facilities and the trust wanted to encourage creative businesses, and talented self-employed people in our town.

"Our goal is simple, to help out members start, establish, innovate and grow their businesses for the benefit of the town," she said. Users can book a desk, bring a laptop and access superfast wifi and free coffee and tea. There is also three meeting rooms of varying sizes and a 'vlog' room which allows users space to create video content and privacy to take private calls.

Business groups such as the Weymouth and Portland Chamber of Commerce and Weymouth Bid have all had an input into the project and Chriss added the team was 'very grateful' to the Weymouth and Portland Borough Council for leasing the space.

Weymouth and Portland Borough Council spokesman for economic development Richard Nickinson,said he thought the hub was 'extremely worthwhile'.

"It going to help regenerate the local economy. We are a low wage economy and it's really important that anyone starting a business has somewhere to come and get support that isn't their front room."

Councillor Ian Bruce, who has started several businesses of his own, said: "When you first start a business it amazing how little knowledge you have so to have a place where people can come and get advice is fantastic. And we have Chris pioneering this and her enthusiasm is brilliant. We've all talked about it but she has got it done."

Starfish Enterpirse is now open at the Old Condor Ferry Terminal Building in Weymouth. For more information contact office@wadt.org.uk or telephone 01305 457887.