Just six per cent of the country's fastest growing firms are in the West Midlands accord-ing to a new survey of top 100 privately-owned companies, writes Joanna Geary.
In the Hot 100 league table of growth, compiled by Real Business and LDC, the region was outclassed by London and the South-east.
The capital was home to 37 per cent of the high-growth firms with turnovers over £5 million. Twenty-one per cent were based in the South-east,
The results represented a stark divide between enter-prise in the South and the rest of the UK - just 13 firms from the North, 11 from the East of England, three from Scotland and two from Wales and the West made it on to the list.
However, a spokesman from regional development agency Advantage West Midlands said it would be unwise to read too much into the results.
"It would be wrong to draw conclusions from any one survey," he said.
"Official figures show that productivity in the West Midlands is improving quicker than the UK as a whole as are business survival rates.
"Inward investment continues to perform strongly, with ten per cent of last year's new jobs created by overseas firms in the UK being in the West Midlands. The region is making progress but clearly there is still a lot to be done.
"For our part, AWM and the West Midlands Enterprise Board recently announced major reform of business support in the region to ensure that more companies access high quality support to improve their performance."
The region's fastest growing business, for the second year in a row, was Tamworth-based Shire Leasing.
The leasing finance operator was ranked 36th having seen annual sales up 83 per cent on average for the past four years. In 2005 the company saw profit margins of 5.9 per cent on turnover of £66 million.
Other West Midland firms making the Hot 100 include Solihull-based Personal Touch Financial Services at 45 and Stoke-on-Trent's Prohire at 71.
Solihull-based fleet manager Fleethire was in 75th place, followed by Birmingham's 001 Reactfast Solutions at 78 and Warwick-based debt collector Equidebt at 93.
Birmingham Chamber of Commerce policy executive Charlotte Ritchie said it was disappointing only one Birmingham company appeared in the list.
"However, we still believe the region is among the best in the country for setting up in business," she said.
"We are working with our partners in the region to create the right environment for entrepreneurs to set up new businesses and flourish. This includes improving the skills of the workforce and the general infrastructure."