The dramatic headlines of job losses and company failures in the West Midlands are obscuring the region's enterprise successes, the regional director of the CBI has claimed.
Chris Clifford said stories such as the planned closure of the Peugeot plant at Ryton, the loss of HP Sauce and the MG Rover crisis, were giving the rest of the country an unfair, downbeat impression of the region.
"We are good in the West Midlands at developing innovative ideas, but we don't get the recognition we deserve because of all the bad news," he said.
"I understand that these type of stories are very headline-grabbing, but we have a serious need to redress the balance with some of the region's successes.
"For example, many people do not realise that the West Midlands has one of the best rates for spin-out companies from our intellectual institutions."
Mr Clifford's comments came after he was named as a judge for the Best Business Innovation Awards.
The awards, created by Coventry-based commercialisation specialist Rowan with The Birmingham Post, aim to celebrate the wealth of enterprising talent that the region has to offer.
"I am delighted to be a part of the awards," Mr Clifford said.
"If we are to continue serving as a manufacturing region we can only do it on the back of innovative, high-tech products - commodities are now the preserve of countries such as India and China.
"There is nothing else out there like the Best Business Innovation Awards and I hope they will enthuse people to get involved and show that this region has an edge."
The Best Business Innovation Awards aim to showcase the best inventors and innovators in the West Midlands and help them to turn their dreams into reality.
The awards - also supported by Advantage West Midlands - are open to anyone in industry, academia and professional institutions in the region.
There are two categories, the first for individuals and businesses trading less than 18 months and the second is for businesses over 18 months old.
Both have to submit an idea for a innovative new product or service that has the potential for commercial success.
The two winners, who will be picked by a panel of regional business experts, will each receive up to £7,000-worth of help from Rowan to get their idea to market.
Their progress will also be followed by The Birmingham Post.
"There are many reasons why individuals or businesses might have difficulty taking the next step with their ideas," Mr Clifford said.
"Small businesses especially often lack the resources to get an idea to market, especially with the large amounts of regulation that they are forced to deal with.
"I know that red tape is an issue that we talk about a lot, but it is a serious one that affects a business' ability to innovate.
"If the Government could simplify the system it would certainly make things a lot easier." n Details of how to enter the Best Business Innovation Awards can be found at birminghampost.net/bbi. The closing date is July 14.