It's official: the government would like us all to become Americans, or at least to act more like Americans as far as innovation and business start-ups are concerned.

"We would like an entrepreneurial culture that's a lot more like the US," said e-commerce minister Stephen Timms, speaking at the UK Technology Partnership and Investment Forum in London.

Challenged from the floor that US business culture is rather different from ours, and that British entrepreneurs might do better to take lessons from other Europeans, Timms acknowledged that but said he stood by his earlier comments.

"I have visited France, Germany and elsewhere, and I have seen some great things there, but in terms of the lessons that are easiest to apply here, they are usually in the US rather than Europe," he said.

Some other speakers at the forum agreed: "It is very difficult in Europe to get high quality managers to become entrepreneurs," said Mark Risman, a partner in IT investment firm Apax Partners Llc. "In the US it is a very easy thing to get people to do, because they can see the chance to make some money."

However, Risman also fingered the excessively short term view taken by many European investors and "the non-existence of a forward looking technology venture capital market in Europe".

Symbian executive VP David Wood singled out for criticism "the requirement on companies to keep pushing out the financial results," saying that Psion's decision to sell its stake in Symbian was a classic example.

"It's striking how the most successful companies are those with long-term plans," he added. "The technology companies which said 'We must get this to market fast' failed, while the ones which had a clear view five years ahead are the ones that grew."