Entrepreneurs join Branson in town

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Richard Branson in Liverpool

Virgin empire founder Sir Richard Branson was the star guest and keynote speaker as 3,000 people from 100 different countries descended on Liverpool’s Echo Arena for the Global Entrepreneurship Congress.

The highlight of the event was Sir Richard’s revealing interview with Mark Sutton of the Financial Times about his innovations in business, and the many challenges he faced when he first started out as a young entrepreneur on the road to becoming a billionaire at the helm of his diverse Virgin company.

Branson also offered business advice to the winners of the Global Entrepreneurship Week Startup Open competition and presented awards to schools that won the Liverpool’s Great Enterprise Challenge 2012.

Started by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation in 2009, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress began in Kansas as a celebration of the ‘can-do’ spirit of business to foster the start-up community and inspire budding entrepreneurs.

JMU Journalism Radio: Global Entrepreneurship Congress

Global Entrepreneurs Congress in Liverpool

The next year, the congress was held in Dubai and in 2011 it was hosted in Shanghai, drawing a growing number of global participants. This year, the honour was awarded to Liverpool.

The Congress began with an opening message from Prince Charles and later Liverpool City Council Leader Joe Anderson welcomed the GEC and spoke of Liverpool’s rich business history.

Other speakers at the event included Sir Terry Leahy, the former CEO of Tesco, Ian Ayre, Managing Director of Liverpool Football Club, and Mark Prisk MP, UK Minister for Business and Enterprise, and former Conservative government minister, Lord Michael Heseltine.

Among the many notable people who attended the event were celebrity hairdresser and mayoral candidate Herbert Howe, who spoke to JMU Journalism about the GEC and its impact on Liverpool.  JMU Journalism also interviewed Cllr Kwanza Hall, the business councillor for Atlanta City Council about the ties between Liverpool and Atlanta, and the growing global spirit of joint entrepreneurship ventures.

About Håvard Wattum, Priyanka Zaveri & Lene Brennodden