Small businesses in the East Midlands are surviving longer than ever - according to new figures.
Martin Briggs said Emda had helped more firms to start up and survive
The study revealed more than 5,000 jobs in the region were safeguarded by the East Midlands Development Agency (Emda) over the past 12 months.
The research was carried out by the Department of Trade and Industry.
It also revealed Emda created or attracted 623 new businesses and brought £5.25m of private sector investment benefiting deprived areas.
Industry and Regions Minister Jacqui Smith said: "This is good news for everyone and a credit to the hard work and dedication of the Agency and its partners across the East Midlands."
Between 2003 and 2004, Emda helped secure more than 1,000 jobs mostly in Leicestershire and Northamptonshire in a scheme helping clothing and textile companies reach world-wide markets.
It also helped create 168 new companies with its Business New Life campaign.
Emda's chief executive Martin Briggs said: "Compared to the previous year, there has been a sizeable increase in the number of businesses we've helped get off the ground and survive for more than 12 months."