David Cameron said that British enterprise needs to up its game in the face of growing competition from developing nations.
The Prime Minister insisted the UK is at a crossroads and faces some serious challenges ahead.
As well as bringing the country's budget deficit down, Mr Cameron called on fellow Tories to ensure they win "the battle of ideas" in the run up to the next General Election.
And while admitting his party have come under criticism for its cuts to public spending, the PM said he was sticking to his guns.
Speaking at the Welsh Conservatives Autumn Conference in Swansea, he said: "We have come to office at a crossroads moment - for Wales and the whole of the United Kingdom.
"It's a moment to do or decline; to sink or swim. The whole planet is undergoing the shock of change. I've seen it in Sao Paolo in Brazil, Beijing in China, Lagos in Nigeria - the drive of our competitors is palpable A great global race is under way.
"Our country will either be a success story or an also-ran. Winning the battle on enterprise is not about us, or our political fortunes. Let's remember who and what we're fighting for. For all those people who dream of a better future and who are prepared to work for it."
Mr Cameron's arrival at the Liberty Stadium - the home of Premier League side Swansea City - was perhaps something of a low key affair in comparison with his previous appearances in south Wales.
Party officials had decided not to publicise his appearance ahead of the conference, which took place in an area described as Labour heartlands.
He told his 200 plus audience: "Being a Conservative in Wales - it's not always easy. You take some flack. But you get out there because of what you believe."