IF BRITAIN is to grow out of the very deep economic crisis which has followed the banking collapse and recession, the key will be entrepreneurs - people who have the drive and energy to start and grow businesses which create employment and wealth.

This week I visited a factory nearby, under the M4 in Brentford, which showed what entrepreneurs can achieve. Brompton Cycles had 100 employees working flat out at 7am when I arrived.

The business is booming, exporting around the world, keeping ahead of Chinese and other competition. The secret is clever methods of production, together with a skilled, committed labour force.

Then I met Eric Schmidt the boss of Google, the world's most successful internet company. He thinks Britain has a good future and is expanding his business here. But he stresses that we have to create a culture in which risk-taking entrepreneurs are encouraged at school and university.

I have also assembled a group of successful entrepreneurs, mostly women, to advise me on government policy.

The group includes James Caan of Dragons' Den, Tim Campbell of The Apprentice, Sahar Hashemi, who established Coffee Republic, and Sarah Tremellan, who started her mail order business - Bravissimo - in a living room in Twickenham and now employs 700 people.

The messages are clear. First, too much well-intentioned government red tape, which is crippling new and growth businesses.

We have 22,000 laws and regulations covering business, many requiring laborious form filling.

Second, banks which have lost touch with small business and refuse credit to good, profitable, well-run companies.

Third, taxes which discourage growth. The tough bit - for me - is now sorting these problems out.