Sir Richard Branson backs Liverpool to become entrepreneur hotspot

Sir Richard Branson has been announced as the headline speaker for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress (GEC) 2012, which is taking place in Merseyside this March.

He is putting his full support behind the cause. "A strong economy needs to encourage entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses. It is great to see the Kauffman Foundation backing Britain by bringing the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, a showcase of entrepreneurial talent, to Liverpool. I'm very happy to be supporting the event," he says.

The announcement of such an iconic headline speaker will excite the 3,000 entrepreneurs that are expected to descend on the city between 9-16 March 2012. Billed as a "Festival of entrepreneurship" with the tag line "Unleashing the will to win", the congress aims to inspire aspiring businesses through a week of events.

"Richard Branson is a visionary leader and we are honoured to have him join the Global Entrepreneurship Congress," says Jonathan Ortmans, chairman of GEC and president of Global Entrepreneurship Week. "His experience and insight will be invaluable."

While Max Steinberg, CEO of the event's hosts, Liverpool Vision, agrees. "Sir Richard Branson is a major capture for Liverpool's GEC and adds yet another outstanding name to a stellar list of speakers and participants," he says.

A host of other entrepreneurs will be joining Branson in a formidable line-up at the Arena and Convention Centre in Liverpool on 13 March, including former Tesco CEO Sir Terry Leahy; founder of Lastminute.com, Martha Lane Fox; and Lord Michael Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister and founder of the Haymarket publishing group.

The line-up for the first ever GEC to be held in Europe also includes Paul Lindley of Ella's Kitchen; Lara Morgan, founder of Pacific Direct and Company Shortcuts; former Dragons' Den investor and founder of School for Start-ups, Doug Richard; and Steve Felice, president of consumer, small and medium business at Dell Inc.

The event is being supported by Liverpool Community College, Liverpool Community Health, Liverpool John Moores University, ARUP and Cosmopolitan Housing.

Tickets for the GEC Main Event on Tuesday 13 March are available from gec2012.com.

For more information on packages available, sponsorship opportunities and the Congress programme visit www.gec2012.com.  You can also follow GEC 2012 on Twitter @gec2012 and join the Facebook page www.facebook.com/gec2012.

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