VIRGIN group founder Sir Richard Branson will be the headline speaker at the Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool this March.
The event takes place from March 9-16 at the BT Convention Centre and is set to attract more than 3,000 economists and entrepreneurs from more than 120 countries.
Sir Richard said: "A strong economy needs to encourage entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses."
He praised the founders of the congress for bringing worldwide event to the city: "It is great to see the Kauffmann Foundation backing Britain by bringing the GEC, a showcase of entrepreneurial talent, to Liverpool this March.
"I am very happy to be supporting the event."
Liverpool is the first European city to hold the event, which is run by the US-based Kauffman Foundation.
Previous host cities were Kansas City in 2009, Dubai in 2010 and Shanghai in 2011.
Prime Minister David Cameron praised Liverpool’s “creativity and innovation” ahead of its festival of entrepreneurship which includes the GEC.
In his message Mr Cameron praised Liverpool for the “unique way” in which the public and private sectors are collaborating, and how the event will “create a real legacy for Liverpool and the UK for many years to come”.
The Premier made his comments after being asked to endorse the event by regeneration agency Liverpool Vision.
He said: “I am delighted that the Kauffman Foundation has chosen Liverpool as the first European host city of its prestigious Global Entrepreneurship Congress.
“Liverpool is a city with a proud entrepreneurial reputation.
“It is a city of great creativity and innovation and a city with renewed confidence and ambition, committed to sparking enterprise in the young and helping others to unleash their ideas.
“The GEC, in Liverpool, will attract some of the world’s leading economists and entrepreneurs who are a key part of our strategy for growth and enterprise.
“The public and private sectors are collaborating in a unique way to ensure it will encourage debate, inspire talent and create a real legacy for Liverpool and the UK for many years to come.”
Last November, Lloyds TSB was named as a headline partner for the GEC and pledged £100,000 of backing.