Burton in Staffordshire has been named as the West Midlands' capital of enterprise.
The town, which has seen the loss of thousands of jobs since the 1990s, is now in with a chance of being named as Britain's most enterprising town.
East Staffordshire Borough Council impressed the judges by demonstrating how the town has redeveloped and diversified following the decline.
Thousands of jobs were lost in brewing and manufacturing, causing pockets of deprivation with high unemployment, low skills and high crime.
The team behind the Enterprising Burton bid has worked to re-build and diversify the town's economy.
Richard Hutchins, Advantage West Midlands Director of Economic Development, said: "Everybody in Burton should be proud of the way the town has overcome its challenges and go on to prosper.
"The results speak for themselves, as since 1998 the town has enjoyed growth in employment of around 20%, a far higher growth than in other parts of the region.
"The Burton Entrepreneurs programme has helped create 250 new start-ups, with more than 70 per cent still trading after two years which is a truly remarkable achievement."
He added: "Perhaps most impressive is that this programme has more than 75 businesses start up which are run by members of the black and minority ethnic communities within the deprived wards of Burton."
Councillor Charles Wimbush, Deputy Leader for Development and Regeneration at East Staffordshire Borough Council, said: "This is a real triumph for the town and should be dedicated to all those who have worked hard to turn around Burton's economy."