Wikipedia and Last Minute founders to lead business boot camp

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A new festival dedicated to high-growth businesses will take place in Liverpool from 24-27 June 2013.

Accelerate 2013 will bring together world-class speakers from the worlds of business, culture, media and sport, to create a unique ‘boot-camp’ for business.

Jimmy Wales, the founder of Wikipedia, Martha Lane Fox CBE, co-founder of lastminute.com and Lord Young, the Prime Minister’s Enterprise Adviser, will be joined on the festival’s main day by some of the country’s leading entrepreneurs and thinkers.

Gathering more than 1,000 business leaders in Liverpool, Accelerate 2013 will provide a unique accelerator for growth, motivating high potential businesses to become world-beating organisations that will lead the economic fight-back in Britain.

At the heart of the festival, created by the city’s economic development company, Liverpool Vision, will be the inaugural meeting of the Accelerate 250, the UK’s ‘vital six per cent’ of businesses which create more than half of the nation’s new jobs and have the greatest growth potential.

Each has been nominated by leading business figures and organisations and been personally invited to take part in the festival by Sir Terry Leahy, former Chief Executive of Tesco PLC and patron of Accelerate 2013.

A fringe programme will take place in the three days leading up to the main summit day, with scores of events being hosted in the Liverpool city region.

Confirmed speakers at Accelerate 2013 include:

· Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia

· Martha Lane Fox CBE, Co-founder of lastminute.com

· General Sir Michael Jackson, former Chief of the General Staff

· Lord Young, Prime Minister’s Enterprise Adviser

· Ajaz Ahmed, Founder of AKQA

· Sherry Coutu, Serial Entrepreneur

· Lord Bilimoria, Chairman of Cobra Beer

· Julie Meyer, Founder & CEO of Ariadne Capital

· Ed Wray, Founder of Betfair

· Renaud Visage, Co-founder of Eventbrite

· Paul Lindley, Founder of Ella’s Kitchen

· Philippe Legrain, Independent Economic Adviser to European Commission President

· Doug Richard, Founder of School for Startups

· Charles Morgan, Managing Director of Morgan Motor Company

· David Richards, Founder of WANdisco

· Dr Shailendra Vyakarnam, Director, Centre for Entrepreneurial Learning, Cambridge Judge Business School

Building on the enormous success of the Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2012, which took place in Liverpool in March 2012, Accelerate 2013 will be a stepping-stone to the International Festival for Business 2014, a 61-day expo of world-class events taking place in the Liverpool city region in June and July 2014. The International Festival for Business 2014 will bring £100 million of inward investment to the UK and 250,000 visitors to Liverpool.

Max Steinberg, Chief Executive of Liverpool Vision, 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 invigorated 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 lineup 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.”

Jimmy Wales, Founder of Wikipedia, 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.”

Tickets to attend Accelerate 2013 cost £65, plus VAT and booking fee, and can be booked via the website: www.accelerate2013.co.uk