LEADING figures from the worlds of business, commerce and the armed forces are to come to Liverpool for a major conference promoting enterprise and leadership.
The Accelerate Liverpool summit will include keynote speakers including Texan-born founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, Lastminute.com chief Martha Lane Fox and General Sir Mike Jackson, the retired Chief of the General Staff.
Up to 1,000 business leaders from around the world are expected to attend the four day event planned for June, which has been organised by Liverpool Vision and former Tesco boss Sir Terry Leahy.
The conference is intended to build on the 2012 Global Entrepreneurship Congress, which was held in Liverpool and hailed as a success.
And it comes ahead of the International Festival for Business in 2014, a worldwide “expo” season lasting 61 days that it is hoped could bring around £100m of investment and 250,000 visitors to the city.
Wikipedia founder Mr Wales, whose online encyclopedia allows users to update and modify entries on an unlimited number of topics, will tell the conference his own success story, which saw Wikipedia go from an experimental platform to a website with more than 25 million articles, attracting more than 80 million hits a year in the US alone.
Mr Wales said: “Great job Liverpool for hosting a festival with such a clear focus on high-growth businesses.
“These are the businesses that are transforming communities and countries all over the world with their ambition and performance – and it is imperative that we lend them the continued inspiration and support they need.
“We built Wikipedia on the principles of collaboration and the free exchange of knowledge.
“Accelerate 2013 embodies the best of this collaboration – and the transformative power of the knowledge it can bring.
“I am thrilled to be a part of it and I can't wait to meet the stock of talented businesses that will be there.”
Speakers are to include Prime Minister David Cameron’s Enterprise Adviser Lord Young, the chairman of Cobra Beer Lord Bilimoria, the founder and chief executive of Ariadne Capital Julie Meyer, and Betfair founder Ed Wray.
Others who will pass on their business knowledge and expertise include Philippe Legrain, an independent economic adviser to the European Commission, and Charles Morgan, the managing director of the Morgan luxury car company.
Liverpool Vision chief executive Max Steinberg said: “Last year’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress was an inspiring event, acknowledged by its founders as the best ever, and which underlined the city’s commitment to support business and invigorate the entrepreneurial debate in the UK and across the world.
“I said at the time that we would continue to be ambitious and would host an annual festival of entrepreneurship here in Liverpool and Accelerate 2013 is that legacy.
“It will be the first ever flagship festival for the UK’s high potential businesses and Liverpool is the ideal host city having again become an internationally renowned hub for trade and industry.
“The line-up of speakers is truly outstanding, led by Jimmy Wales and this will be another world class event inspiring businesses to take the next step and helping to secure Britain’s recovery.”
Accelerate Liverpool will take place from June 23 to 27.
Tickets cost £65, plus VAT and booking fee at www.accelerate2013.co.uk