The number of businesses starting up in the West Midlands fell by nine per cent in 2005.
Around 32,800 firms were launched, compared to 36,200 in 2004, figures from Barclays suggest.
The drop was largely due to slowing economic growth in the first half of 2005, which saw business start-ups cut by almost a third to 15,300 from 20,100 in 2004.
The second half saw upturn, with 17,500 start-ups - from 16,100 in 2004.
However, Barclays said 2003 and 2004 were strong years for starting a business with benign economic conditions and a temporary incentive in taxation.
John Addison, Barclays area manager for small business in Birmingham said: "The number of businesses started last year moved back to more typical levels after a couple of boom years. The nine per cent fall is, in effect, a large drop from a record couple of years.
"The underlying market in start-ups is still reasonably strong as was evidenced by start-up numbers recovering during the second half."
While research shows a downwards move in the region, Birmingham and Walsall saw a jump with increases of five per cent and ten per cent respectively in 2005.
The largest regional decline was in Solihull, which saw a 35 per cent drop. Sandwell saw new businesses down 30 per cent.
Razia Bibi, service delivery manager for enterprise at the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said: "2003-04 was a boom period for start-ups but it seems that has settled. This could lead to a perceived fall in new businesses when actually there are still high numbers.
"From our experience there are still plenty of people prepared to set up in business on their own and there are a series of initiatives to assist them, such as Mustard.uk.com and Business Venture the Chamber manages.
"Starting a business can be a daunting prospect and there is help out there, but people need to be prepared to ask for help."
However, a spokesman for the West Midland branch of the Federation of Small Businesses said the region needed to focus on the business it already had.
"While the number of start ups is important, we need to concentrate on providing small businesses with the conditions in which they can grow and be successful," he said.
Barclays' figures, which were released as part of the launch of their Lets Talk Business Ideas and Lets Talk Starting a Business seminars, also revealed 22,500 businesses in the region were founded by men.
This was more than double the 10,300 businesses started by women in the same period - down from 11,500 in 2004.
Nationally, Essex was the best area for starting a business in England and Wales, with more than 9,700 set up in 2005. It was closely followed by 9,200 businesses in Kent and 9,100 in Surrey.
This compared to 7,200 start-ups in Birmingham and 5,200 in Staffordshire - the region's top areas.
Industry sectors that bucked the trend included agriculture and transport, post and telecoms.
Agriculture saw 7,300 new businesses founded in England and Wales during 2005, compared to 6,700 the previous year. Transport, post and telecoms increased from 16,800 in 2004 to 17,500 in 2005.
More than half of start-ups were in business and financial services, motor trades, wholesale and retail and construction.
Despite a decline in these areas, 227,400 businesses were founded over 2005.