Making business a force for good

“Making business a force for good”

Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship

“Entrepreneurs need to change their way of thinking and make their businesses ‘a force for good’, not just a force to make money. If they think like that and empower all their staff to think like that, they can make a massive difference,” says Sir Richard Branson.

It was with this in mind that he set up the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Jamaica in the Caribbean in 2011, building on the success of the initial Centre in South Africa.

A partnership between Virgin Holidays and Virgin Unite – the not-for-profit arm of the Virgin Group – the Caribbean centre focuses on helping aspiring entrepreneurs across the region. Through a programme of training, mentoring and access to professional services, the Centre has already helped over 100 entrepreneurs, all chosen for their passion, resilience and drive to turn start-up businesses into successful larger enterprises.

Sir Richard Branson is among those interviewed in this video, discussing his ultimate aims for the Centre for Entrepreneurship

Their businesses have strong financial, social and environmental credentials in common but are extremely diverse – including a boutique guesthouse, a coral reef restoration project, an architectural firm and a cake design company – reflecting the range of interest and talent in Jamaica.

One of the reasons Jamaica was chosen as the home of the latest Centre was the Caribbean’s reputation for vibrancy and openness to risk-taking – key elements of the entrepreneurial spirit – and its huge potential to benefit from a more formal structure to help businesses grow sustainably.

The Centre’s approach is underpinned by Branson’s belief that business is about more than making money and can significantly contribute to social good. The ultimate aim, beyond creating jobs for individual entrepreneurs, is to increase employment within their thriving businesses and to lift up their communities, in turn boosting the Caribbean as a whole.

“We’ve said to people, if you’ve got business ideas come to us and we’ll try to help guide you, give you some mentoring and get you on your feet,” explains Branson. Candidates are given a wide range of support from mentoring and practical business training to finance and investment opportunities, all of which have already brought tangible and sustainable benefits – watch the video to find out more.

Robyn Fox, owner of Mount Edge Guest House, on how the Branson Centre has helped her business – to the benefit of her community

The Centre is always looking for new mentors from across the world. If you’re a business owner or successful entrepreneur and you would like to share your experience (and get inspiration and new ideas from an enthusiastic mentee), find out how you could get involved.

Related links

About Virgin Holidays

About Virgin Holidays

Virgin Holidays

Formed in 1985, Virgin Holidays is built on the founding Virgin principles of excellent customer service, high quality and value for money.

It is now the UK’s leading long-haul tour operator. Responsible Business Manager Mirieme Hill says Virgin Holidays’ aim in partnering with the Branson Centre and providing $3m in support is “to leave a legacy in the Caribbean for a destination that our customers have fallen in love with.”

Visit the Virgin Holidays website

About Virgin Unite

About Virgin Unite

Virgin Unite

Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. It unites people and entrepreneurial ideas to reinvent how we live and work in the world to help make people’s lives better. Its aim is to help revolutionise the way businesses, government and the social sector work together – driving business as a force for good. Its overheads are covered by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that 100% of donations received go direct to the frontline where they are needed most.

Visit the Virgin Unite website

 

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