The Justice Secretary Chris Grayling visited Hove to meet Citizens Advice Bureau volunteers and dozens of business owners.
Hove Conservative MP Mike Weatherley hosted the business forum at the Bali Brasserie, in First Avenue, Hove.
About 50 business owners took part in a question and answer session with Mr Grayling. The topics discussed included measures to improve the economy, the bureaucracy of health and safety legislation and duty on alcohol.
The business forum followed a meeting at the Citizens Advice Bureau at Hove Town Hall where a number of issues were discussed with volunteers and staff.
Concerns were raised about the length of time that work capability assessments can take and the quality of housing stock in Brighton and Hove.
Mr Grayling said how keen he was to hear about these problems from those dealing with some of the most pressing cases on a daily basis.
Mr Weatherley said: “Having many of the local businesses attend the open forum was an exceptional way to hear their individual questions and concerns and, better yet, having my colleague along to hear and answer those questions.
“Hove has exceptional entrepreneurial talent and this opportunity was a great way to showcase local businesses.”