Country needs to grow its way out of recession

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For many people the beginning of the new year heralds a fresh start, the opportunity to take the plunge and try something new.

For some, that means losing weight or taking up a new hobby. For others, it's about a new career – perhaps pursuing a business idea that has been brewing at the back of their mind for ages.

Starting a new business is the chance to be your own boss and make money doing something that you really love. Last week I joined the monthly 'Awesome' meeting at the Nimrod centre in Rowner, Gosport.

This is a networking and support group for local women who are in the process of starting, or who already have, their own small businesses. From cake decorating to personal training, book-keeping to cat-sitting, these women have taken the first steps on the road to being this country's new breed of entrepreneurs.

One of the biggest priorities of the new government is the relentless focus on supporting growth and driving job creation across our economy. Backing new enterprises to start up and small businesses to grow, across the country, will be what transforms our economy and will deliver the many thousands of new jobs we will see created this year.

The truth is it's much more healthy and sustainable for a country to grow its way out of recession than to spend its way out.

Last week the prime minister announced plans to boost growth in all regions of the country and encouraged local businesses and entrepreneurs to bid for money from the government's flagship 1.4bn Regional Growth Fund.

We have also announced plans to strengthen the growth of small business with a big expansion of the planned New Enterprise Allowance (NEA), helping to create up to 40,000 new businesses by 2013.

Together we can make the years ahead some of the most dynamic and entrepreneurial in our history. And among the 'Awesome' female entrepreneurs I met last week could be the next Anita Roddick or Deborah Meaden.