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Sir Richard opens new Branson Centre in Kingston


Sir Richard opens new Branson Centre in Kingston

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KINGSTON – British business magnate Sir Richard Branson has a simple explanation for how entrepreneurs build businesses. “An entrepreneur is like an artiste. You have an idea, so you have a blank sheet and then you start filling in on that sheet of paper as you create a business,” was his simple answer on the comparison between artistes and entrepreneurs.

Sir Richard, who will be 67 next month, was speaking with a new and younger generation of enterprising entrepreneurs seeking to follow in his footsteps with the help of the Branson Entrepreneurship Centre in Jamaica.

The event had a brief discussion period allowed for the media and promising entrepreneurs at the opening of the Centre’s new head office at the Sovereign Commercial Centre in Kingston.

Guest speaker was Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who paid tribute to Sir Richard for his charitable nature.

The centres – in South Africa, Jamaica and the British Virgin Islands – are funded through the generosity of Virgin Airlines flyers – adults and children – who donate one pound sterling and 50 pence, respectively, when they book.

CEO of the Jamaican centre, Lisandra Rickards, said that the centre is keen on connecting with “high potential entrepreneurs” with external capital, and who have been certified by the Development Bank of Jamaica.

The centre has also revamped its suite of services, to provide tools and high-tech services to an even wider pool of entrepreneurs at all stages of business, both free and at a cost, while sharpening its focus on a specially selected group of high-potential, high-impact, fundable entrepreneurs.

“We are now in the emerging entrepreneurial hub of Kingston,” she pointed out.

“The Government of Jamaica is grateful, very grateful, to you,” Holness told Sir Richard at the Sovereign Centre.

“It is great that you have made yourself available so people can have access to you. But, more than that, to invest your own funds in developing an eco-system to support the kind of mentorship that is necessary for the next billionaire, whom I am not just hoping, but I have a certain confidence, will be a Jamaican,” the prime minister said.

During his visit to Kingston yesterday, Sir Richard also lunched with leading Jamaican entrepreneurs including Sandals/Jamaica Observer‘s Gordon “Butch” Stewart and Proven Investments’ Christopher Williams, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston. (Jamaica Observer)