By Daniel Hunter

Entrepreneurs are the 'rock stars' of the business world, according to a start-up expert and best-selling author set to visit Liverpool next month.

Emma Jones, Enterprise Nation founder and StartUp Britain co-founder, says start-ups and micro businesses hold the key to turning around the flagging British economy. Her visit will be focused on helping city-based entrepreneurs to start and grow businesses.

According to official labour market statistics, more than 18,200 people in Liverpool are creating their own value by working for themselves - that's 5.8% of the working population.

Last year the city topped the list for business start-ups - seeing 300 new enterprises set up by city entrepreneurs under the Government's New Enterprise Allowance (NEA) - higher than any other area of the country with the scheme.

That picture strongly contrasted with the figures from 2011 according to the Liverpool Economic Briefing 2013, issued earlier this year by the City Council. That suggested Liverpool's overall start-up growth was still lagging behind that of other UK core cities as well as the national average.

"I'm heading to Liverpool to get as many people as possible to take that first step to start a business. As I travel around the UK I am seeing amazing stories about how people are turning something they love doing into a business that brings in money," Emma said.

"You don't need an office or a filing cabinet or any of the trappings that used to be associated with starting-up. You just need passion, an idea, commitment - and the confidence to get out there and do it.

"It's taking the first step that is the biggest leap. That's partly what StartUp Saturday is designed to help with.

"I want to see people in Liverpool who would like to take their passion, hobby, skill or who have spotted a gap in the market and want to know how to turn it into a great business in a day."

Emma, who was awarded an MBE for services to enterprise in the Queen's Jubilee Birthday Honours List, will be encouraging people in the city to turn a hobby or a passion into a money-spinning idea at Central Library on Saturday September 7, the third event on a whistle-stop tour of the UK.

"Entrepreneurship is exciting - and it's catching! Once people recognise that they can do it and that it's easier than they think, amazing things start to happen," Emma added.

Emma will be joined by Grassendale-based home business founder Eliane Strasser. She set up hand-made jewellery company Strasser Créations in 2011 after leaving behind a job in marketing for maternity-wear company La Redoute.

StartUp Saturday offers Liverpool entrepreneurs and companies within their first two years of trading all they need to know about starting and growing a business; from making sales to creating a website, managing finances and taking on extra help.

Emma's visit is supported by world-leading accountancy support network the ICAEW and quick-thinking virtual office provider Penelope.

The ICAEW's enterprise director Nigel Hastilow said: "We're thrilled to be part of the first national tour of StartUp Saturday. We look forward to meeting the start-ups and providing them with expert financial guidance from our ICAEW chartered accountants who will be available on tour."

Joanna Swash, director at Penelope, added: "We are thrilled to be supporting the StartUp Saturday initiative alongside Emma Jones and her team. Our partnership with Enterprise Nation is a great fit for Penelope as we are both dedicated to helping start-ups succeed and grow.

"We know how important it is to have quality advice and support in the early days of a new business. Starting and running your own business can be difficult, but working alongside great people makes all the difference."

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