HOUNSLOW'S new business guru has announced plans for an 'entrepreneur fund' to encourage innovation in the borough.
Stephen Fry (not that one), who took over as chief executive of Hounslow Chamber of Commerce last month, said the scheme would be like a 'less nasty' version of the hit BBC show Dragons' Den.
In his first interview since taking on the role, he also described Hounslow as a 'sleeping giant' full of entrepreneurs and creative thinkers.
"I think the mood of businesses here is incredibly upbeat," he said. "The creative industries, in particular, are big players but keep very quiet about their success.
"In many cases these businesses are one person and their Mac, but they're producing very high quality output. There are also a lot of entrepreneurs here, who are keeping very quiet.
"I want to start an entrepreneur fund that will promote business ideas and innovation in Hounslow - a bit like Dragons' Den, only less nasty."
Mr Fry has spent the last decade as director of Southampton and Fareham Chamber of Commerce, where he worked to boost international trade and set up a 'commercial regeneration' programme to help deprived communities.
He said there were many similarities between the two areas, with both being home to about 250,000 residents and some 10,000 businesses, and having international ports (in Hounslow's case an airport).
However, he added that he was keen to hear from all businesses in the borough about the issues affecting them, from business rates to the amount of government support.
He said he plans to work closely with Hounslow Council's town centre manager Patricia Huertas to boost trade in Hounslow and Brentford, as well as working with firms in Chiswick and Feltham town centres.
The 54-year-old father-of-three commutes from Hampshire, where he coaches fencing in his spare time, each week.
You can call Hounslow Chamber of Commerce on 020 8326 6416 or email firstname.lastname@example.org