David Cameron called on businesses to help solve the country's social problems during an awards dinner at the Royal Albert Hall on Tuesday night.
The Prime Minister said business had "a key role to play in building a bigger and stronger society".
Mr Cameron said the Government wanted to reduce its interference in business, but said a certain amount was crucial to help collect the taxes needed to fund public spending.
He said: "You can help us to tackle the crime, the family breakdown, the educational failure - those things that cause the demand for public spending and therefore taxes to rise."
Speaking to 1,000 people at the Business in the Community Responsible Business Awards, he also pledged his support for those companies making a profit, helping to create jobs and wealth.
He said: "I passionately believe in the free enterprise system.
"I believe that starting a business, selling a product or service, turning a profit - and 'profit' shouldn't be a dirty word - investing and building - these are all good and noble things."
But he said business had the potential to do more, adding how responsible business could be "the greatest force for social progress on the planet".
The Prime Minister said: "Think of the problems we face - from worklessness to obesity, from the break-up of families to the breakdown of communities. From environmental damage to the economic dislocation - I simply cannot think to an area of public policy where the creative thinking of business can't help in delivering a better outcome."
He said it was not enough for governments to "pass down edicts from above", and called on charities and businesses to work together with government to help solve the country's social problems.