By Marcus Leach

Sheffield is making a major national play to become the UK’s entrepreneur capital, with the announcement of this year’s MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival, which is taking place from 21-24 September.

Over 2,000 entrepreneurs from all over Britain will come to the city to share their knowledge and ideas and to meet some of the country’s leading business figures and politicians.

Headlining the MADE Festival will be the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP and the Minister of State for Business and Enterprise Mark Prisk MP, alongside some of Britain’s best known entrepreneurs.

Commenting on MADE, the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP said:

“The MADE Festival in Sheffield is a great opportunity for entrepreneurs to share ideas and knowledge, and help inspire the next generation of business owners in the UK.

"We want to make our country the best place in the world to start and grow a business. It is small businesses that will drive growth in the economy and we need to support them in every way we can."

MADE: The Entrepreneur Festival 2011 will focus on three key themes:

Inspire - The festival aims to inspire entrepreneurs to think differently and turn their ambitions into reality. Through panel debates and networking events, MADE will encourage the next generation of start-ups to flourish and grow.

Disrupt - MADE will highlight the importance of disruption as a key ingredient of an entrepreneur’s DNA, looking at how they do things differently by disrupting the status quo. Through discussions and workshops focusing on digital and tech start-ups, MADE aims to instill a disruptive influence in entrepreneurs and encourage them to make pioneering business decisions.

Accelerate - The festival aims to accelerate business growth and innovation. With the support of leading global brands, MADE will encourage businesses to become the gazelles that are needed to transform Britain’s economy.

Brendan Moffett, Director of Marketing Sheffield, said:

“The MADE Festival has really put Sheffield on the map as the UK's leading city for entrepreneurial thinking, and is the ideal location for entrepreneurs to set up and thrive.

“The UK needs to nurture new entrepreneurial talent and ensure that we help them to grow their ideas into successful businesses. Sheffield is the place to get those conversations started.”

Chairing the festival this year is Michael Hayman, who is co-founder of the national enterprise campaign StartUp Britain, chairman of Entrepreneurs at Coutts&Co and co-founder of the communication consultancy Seven Hills. He said:

“If you want to see what it means to be made in Britain, come and see MADE in Sheffield. The festival is the signature event in the UK calendar for entrepreneurs. It’s a symbol of innovation and optimism about what business can do to help spearhead the economic recovery.

“Enterprise is about entrepreneurs and the MADE Festival is a fantastic showcase for everything that is best about British business.”

Following an intensive period of regeneration, Sheffield now has the capacity and infrastructure that businesses from a wide range of sectors require to maximise their success. MADE Festival will boost Sheffield’s international reputation and innovative identity by attracting investment, tourism and jobs to the city.