Enterprise Week, which starts today, is unlikely to have much impact on Government targets to make Britain the best place in the world to do business, a pressure group has warned.
The Forum of Private Business said that, while it had merit in aiming to stimulate an entrepreneurial culture among teenagers and 20-somethings, it did not tackle the real problems.
"The Government pledged five years ago to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business," said FPB national chairman Len Collinson. "And five years ago the Small Business Service, a Department of Trade and Industry department, set seven strategic themes to drive its work.
"These are the true priorities for the Government and the real barometer for whether an entrepreneurial culture is being created.
"But analysis has shown that the Government has failed to deliver in four out of seven target areas.
"In fact, Britain has slipped down from seventh place to ninth place for ease of doing business, according to the latest report from the World Bank."
The seven, with an FPB assessment as to the Government's success or failure, are: to build a climate that encourages enterprise culture (failed); to make it easier to start up a firm (achieved); to encourage entrepreneurs in disadvantaged and under represented groups (failed); to make government more accessible and helpful (achieved); to improve regulation (failed); to improve access to funding (achieved); and to create a positive environment for growth (failed).
"This is the harsh reality of the UK's business climate. And until the Government delivers on the four remaining strategic themes - particularly heavy taxation and red tape - events like Enterprise Week will only be tinkering at the edges of the real issues holding back British business," said Mr Collinson.
He said he felt uneasy about concentrating on young people when the backbone of the economy was predominantly mature adults aged between 35 and 44 already in employment or ready for work.
"Of course young people will become entrepreneurs of the future, but the Government should concentrate also on giving encouragement and support to the entrepreneurs of today," he said.
"The taxpayers' cash used to fund Enterprise Week might be better spent on stimulating enterprise in disadvantaged areas and ethnic groups.
Experience shows that people in these groups, along with experienced 34-44 year olds, have the best track record for launching successful businesses." Enterprise Week runs until Sunday with more than 1,000 promotional events scattered throughout the country, including some 75 across the West Midlands.
Chambers of commerce defended the initiative.
David Frost, director general of the British Chambers of Commerce, said: "Chambers are working up and down the country to achieve the goals of greater enterprise and business growth shared by government and business alike.
"If they are given the necessary backing they can deliver local solutions to local problems effectively, efficiently and sustainably."
Louise Bennett, chief executive of Coventry and Warwickshire Chamber of Commerce, said initiatives such as Enterprise Week were vital to encourage the country's future entrepreneurs.
"The inaugural Enterprise Week last year was a resounding success with literally thousands of people being involved throughout the region," she said.
"I am delighted the Government is backing it again to help us find and nurture talented young people who may play a part in the future of business in the UK.
"Towns and cities throughout the region are holding high-profile events to prove that a simple idea can be transformed into a business which can change your life."