Black Country business leaders have accused Advantage West Midlands of putting the development of local industry at risk.
They say plans by AWM to change the way business support is delivered will be confusing and inefficient, meaning hard-pressed companies will not get the help they need.
Business support is currently delivered through a network of locally-based Business Link operations, with advisers working in the communities they serve. Under AWM's proposals, due to come into effect from 2007, support would be delivered according to business sector rather than geography.
Black Country Chamber & Business Link's annual review and policy forum heard the plans would dilute the focus of business support.
Chief operating officer John Reader told the meeting, held at Dudley's Showcase Cinema, that any move away from local delivery would be harmful to Black Country businesses.
"Local businesses must be able to access help locally from advisers who know the area and from other locally available services."
Mike Beardsmore, chairman of Business Link Black Country, said: "Being local is very very important. We are not at all happy with AWM's plans. We are making our views known during the current consultation period."
Chamber chairman Stewart Towe said the plans meant AWM would be drawing more power to itself. "There are two key words - risk and control. AWM, like any civil service organisation, does not understand risk and the need to take risks in business. In addition, civil servants always want total control."
Chamber member Chris Todd said it was shameful that no one from AWM was at the meeting to answer the criticisms. Mr Beardsmore said he and Mr Reader would be seeking a meeting with AWM chief executive John Edwards to emphasise the chamber's position.
A spokesman for AWM confirmed that the sector specific approach rather than geographical was on the agenda.
But he stressed that no proposals were likely until towards the end of the year.
He said: "There is a consultation process under way and the whole idea is for people to have their say. We know of the Black Country's concerns and are looking to working them through. Nothing is set in stone."
He said business support services needed to be made simple, flexible, relevant and customer focussed.
The spokesman said one approach might be to have a common gateway - an identifiable contact point where business could phone up and get an initial screening. They would then be sent on to for a full diagnosis of their needs and how they could be helped.
"We want to offer business support services that are the best money can buy."
But he acknowledge what was being proposed was a "fundamental change".
West Bromwich West MP Adrian Bailey told the chamber meeting that it and its members had a crucial role to play in making sure the law-makers understood the needs of the wealth-creators.
"Partnership working is the key if we are to deliver the local agenda," he said. "In the middle of all these relationships, Black Country Chamber basically holds things together.
"Your detailed local knowledge is vital to us MPs. Unless we can present the evidence from the real world when laws are being framed, the civil service view may prevail."
Mr Towe and chamber chief executive Ian Brough said links with Wolverhampton University and local schools and colleges were helping to foster young entrepreneurs.