Reference number: FSB PR 23/2013 The first step in a journey that will see the FSB hold its National Council meeting and a major Small Business Summit at the International Festival for Business 2014 has taken place in Liverpool. Accelerate 2013, which ran from 24-27 June, was the UK''s first annual celebration of high-growth businesses dedicated to driving business growth. It featured 250 of the UK's fastest-growing firms – including FSB member, Liverpool-based PH.Creative. The Federation ran three events in the run up to the main day, at which Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales was the keynote speaker. Hosted by the BBC''s Business Editor Robert Peston and presenter Declan Curry, other speakers included Cobra Beer''s Lord Bilimoria, Lastminute.com founder Martha Lane Fox, AKQA''s Ajaz Ahmed and Paul Lindley, founder of Ella''s kitchen. During the break-out sessions one of the highlights was a presentation on leadership by former New Zealand All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick. FSB member Kate Heyes of Digital Imp ran a series of workshops on tapping the marketing potential of social media and the internet at an historic city centre location - the 19th Century Exchange Flags, a square on the site of Liverpool''s cotton exchange and once the centre of its shipping and insurance industries. Next, at the city''s famous Town Hall, which has played host to luminaries including Queen Victoria and the Beatles, small businesses found solutions to their problems at the FSB''s Finance, funding and tax ‘question time'' panel event, featuring advice from panellists FSB Liverpool Chairman Brian Sweeney, Funding Store''s Nick Montague, former Mail on Sunday Economics Editor Dan Atkinson, Chris Walters from Merseyside Special Investment Fund (MSIF), Ray Webb from FSB Independent Financial Services and TaxAssist's Bernard Piercy. It was followed by Funding Store Live - where investors heard funding bids from real entrepreneurs. With FSB member and ‘The Beermat Entrepreneur'' author Mike Southon acting as MC throughout, education, information and guidance were the watchwords during both events. View films of them here On the main day, ‘Grow to Export – Export to Grow', a joint FSB and Liverpool Chamber of Commerce breakfast event on the potential and pitfalls exporting for SMEs, held in conjunction with Dave Parrish, author of ‘T-Shirts and Suits: A Guide to the Business of Creativity.' It featured panelists including Wirral-based FSB member Ben Pinnington of Polaris Media Management. A busy final day of main speakers, discussions and break-out sessions concluded with a gala dinner previewing next summer's International Festival of Business 2014, which will be the biggest export showcase of UK businesses for many years. During the dinner a film in which FSB National Chairman John Allan revealed the Federation's involvement in next year''s festival as a major partner was played to the international audience.