A new group has been launched aimed at driving up the number of self-employed people in the West Midlands by 35,000.
The West Midlands Regional Enterprise Board aims to hit the target by 2010, raising the region's productivity to the national average.
The board is a 12-strong group of public and private sector representatives charged by regional development agency Advantage West Midlands with creating an enterprising culture.
The West Midlands has an average performance in business start-ups and self-employment as well as the lowest gross value added per hour of all English regions.
And 610 companies - 0.2 per cent of all firms in the region - account for almost 50 per cent of the West Midlands turnover and nearly 46 per cent of employment.
The board will meet bimonthly and advise AWM on projects and policies to improve enterprise.
It is made up almost entirely of entrepreneurs and individuals who have had hands-on experience of running a small or medium sized enterprise in the West Midlands.
Ahmed Hassam, chairman of the Enterprise Board, said: "It is absolutely essential to the future prosperity of our region that the enterprise culture which is still lacking in the West Midlands is forged through a combination of public sector policies and private sector engagement."
Other members are - Isabella Moore, first female president of the British Chambers of Commerce who ran a technology translation company for the engineering and manufacturing sectors in Warwickshire for more than 20 years; Chris Monk, a partner in property consultancy King Sturge in Birmingham; John Hart, chairman of West Midlands Business Council and a former director of Powergen; Peter Henderson, managing director of Valve Train Components, in Lichfield; Tony Rodger, who runs his own consultancy advising SMEs; Fay Goodman, who has her own film, TV, media and training company in Birmingham; Chris Newis, chief executive of the Centre of Excellence in Social Economy; Melanie Pursglove, who has her own specialist paint manufacturing company in Wolverhampton; Mohammed Nazir, a consultant based in Birmingham; Philip Whiteman, chief executive of the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies; and Christine Jones, chief executive of Business Link West Mercia.