Sir Richard Branson has been announced as the headline speaker at Liverpool's Global Entrepreneurship Congress 2012.
The business conference, which takes place from 9-16 March at the Arena and Convention Centre, is being billed as a "global gathering of startup champions".
In a statement Sir Richard said: "A strong economy needs to encourage entrepreneurs to create and grow their businesses.
"It is great to see the Kauffman Foundation backing Britain by bringing the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, a showcase of entrepreneurial talent, to Liverpool this March. I'm very happy to be supporting the event."
He will appear on March 13 when he will be joined by former Tesco chief executive Sir Terry Leahy; founder of Lastminute.com, Martha Lane Fox; and Lord Michael Heseltine, former Deputy Prime Minister and founder of the Haymarket publishing group.
The event is hosted by Liverpool Vision, the city's economic development company, Global Entrepreneurship Week and the Kansas City-based Kauffman Foundation which promotes entrepreneurship.
Max Steinberg, chief executive of Liverpool Vision, said: "Global Entrepreneurship Congress is a landmark international event and we are thrilled to be the host city for 2012.
"When we secured this prestigious event we wanted to attract a wide range of entrepreneurs and thought leaders and Sir Richard Branson is a major capture for Liverpool's GEC and adds yet another outstanding name to a stellar list of speakers and participants.
"To welcome an entrepreneur like Sir Richard Branson to the city is an honour as we aim to be a winning city for enterprise. The Congress forms a key part of our ambition to encourage and celebrate entrepreneurship in Liverpool and create a meaningful legacy for the city."
Some 3,000 people are expected at the event which will also feature: Paul Lindley of baby food business Ella's Kitchen; Lara Morgan, founder of hotel supplier Pacific Direct and business advice specialist Company Shortcuts; former Dragons' Den star, Doug Richard; and Steve Felice, president of consumer, small and medium business at Dell.
For more information on packages available, sponsorship opportunities and the congress programme visit www.gec2012.com.