Successful entrepreneurs are born and not made, one of the West Midlands' best known manufacturers has said.
Simon Topman, chief executive of Hockley-based Acme Whistles, and a former president of the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said that while it was possible to teach people business skills and techniques, true entrepreneurs had to have a "little bit of magic" to set them aside.
Speaking at a Royal Society of Arts event held at the Black Country Living Museum, which celebrates the region's industrial heritage, Mr Topman said that despite the huge numbers tempted to take up a career running their own business, only certain people had what it takes to become a success.
"There are certain traits that seem to be inherent in true entrepreneurs," he said. "They tend to be quite obsessive, dedicating time and resources to a product or service they feel absolutely convinced about.
"They may well challenge authority and conventional wisdom.
"They have no fear. "They are confident they are absolutely right, no matter what. They may even have a feeling of being an outsider.
"However, if you are to be truly successful it's also necessary to have business skills and to raise performance.
"Those things you can probably teach and the would-be entrepreneur can probably learn - but without the essential ingredients you don't get the blend that produces success."
He added that fear of failure was holding back the UK business community, compared to fearless business pioneers in the US.
"A survey revealed that 49 per cent of those living in the US would start a business with no fear," said Mr Topman.
"In Europe, that figure is 19 per cent. In the UK, we have a fear of failure. Attitudes are slowly changing but it will take a long time for them to do so."
Mr Topman, who was made an MBE a year ago for his service to business in Birmingham, is the owner of Acme Whistles, a Birmingham manufacturing company that dates back to the 1860s.
He is credited with helping to turn around the £54 million Aston Pride development project, after being appointed chairman by Birmingham City Council when the Government dismissed the original board for failing to meet targets for addressing poverty, crime and unemployment in one of the city's poorest wards.
He was one of four top businessmen to speak at the debate on entrepreneurialism.
The event at The Black Country Living Museum was organised by the RSA West Midlands and attended by more than 50 business and educational leaders.
Norman Price, a former government advisor and Advantage West Midlands board member, agreed with Mr Topman, and said that more needed to be done to reassure entrepreneurs worried by the fear of failure.
"Enterprise, which all businesses need, is about seizing opportunities. They have a decent business idea, spot and then seize an opportunity and possess the right attitude to deliver it to the market," said Mr Price.
"Skills and knowledge can and need to be taught but that commitment to single minded pursue a goal needs something extra."
He said that banks needed to do more to ensure that the top entrepreneurs in the West Midlands were not being held back, saying: "Here in the West Midlands, as a result of intensive attention we are well off in part, with six venture capital funds, business angels and business enterprise schemes that deliver help."