Entrepreneur says GEC can drive Liverpool forward

NEXT week’s Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Liverpool – which will be headlined by Sir Richard Branson – will be an important step in driving the local economy forward.

This is the according to Liverpool-born entrepreneur Chris Arnold, who has been heavily involved in  the event and is running the international competition, ‘Your Big Year’, to identify outstanding young talent.

Mr Arnold 39, who runs the £6m turnover Smaller Earth Group, and who launched his first business, Camp Leaders with a £500 Business Link Loan from the back bedroom of his family home in South Liverpool, told TheBusinessDesk.com, he is “proud and delighted” his home city is hosting the event.

“Having attended the GEC in both Shanghai and Dubai I know that it’s a great event and I lobbied hard for Liverpool to bid for it this year.

“I am thrilled at the ambition that the city has showed to compete and win it and I see next week as being an important first step for Liverpool to reclaim something it used to have – status as being an epicentre in the world for trade.

“We need to get more people involved in enterprise and business and this will  help – one event can’t transform a city’s prospects on its own – but it can accelerate the speed that Liverpool becomes a centre for entrepreneurship again.”

Out of 100,000 entrants from across the world to the Your Big Year competition, 16 finalists from 14 countries have now been selected.

They were attending a reception in London today hosted by senior Liberal Democrat MP Simon Hughes.

The 16 – including Sarah Davies a 21-year-old Wigan a student at Salford University –  will now take part in a series of tasks with themes of entrepreneurship and global citizenship to  win the grand prize, a year-long trip to five continents meeting community and world leaders including Bill Gates and ultimately pitching to Sir Richard Branson.

The winner will be announced at the gala dinner next Thursday evening at Liverpool’s Anglican Cathedral.

Mr Arnold said: “It has been a great process – quite humbling in some ways – and the standard has been so high it has surprised me. I am not sure how we’re going to select a winner.”