MONTEGO BAY, Jamaica, September 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --
A new facility committed to growing entrepreneurship in the Caribbean region welcomed its first intake of 14 young entrepreneurs today.
The Centre is operated by Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, and Virgin Holidays, the UK's number one long haul holiday company. It will provide aspiring entrepreneurs with a launch pad for their businesses and a platform for job creation across the Caribbean.
Sir Richard Branson, Founder of the Virgin Group, said: "I've been so moved by the energy and drive from the entrepreneurs I have seen today. While the Centre will be a resource, the true spirit will come from the Caribbean people who are taking bold steps to improve their communities and regenerate the economy. We are looking for more partners to join us so we can help businesses grow, create job opportunities and inspire the next generation. The Caribbean is a special place, and one I am happy to call home. I'm thrilled we are all coming together to support the region."
The Branson Centre is also supported by independent supporters, like Chris Blackwell, founder of Island Records: "Jamaicans are enormously creative. What we've needed here is a forum like the new Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, where young, ambitious people can receive guidance and support to channel their ideas and creativity into a viable business enterprise."
Jamaica's entrepreneurs face obstacles such as a lack of technical help, complex tax bureaucracy, and a need for more capital. The businesses (and hundreds more over the lifetime of the Centre) will access mentorship and gain exposure to connections that could provide financing and practical coaching.
The centre's first intake includes:
- Seascape Caribbean - dedicated to restoring the coral reefs of the Caribbean coastline
- Leanne Talbot of Island Cycle - helping to turn waste in the Caribbean into usable products
Virgin Unite CEO Jean Oelwang said: "The creation of jobs is paramount in enabling any community to have economic freedom. These young people are the employers of the future."
Virgin Unite also aims to roll out a number of Branson Centres across the globe, working with a mix of NGOs, Governments and corporate bodies.
Notes to editors:
- Full biographies and imagery of all the BCoEC entrepreneurs available on request
About Virgin Unite:
Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. We unite people to tackle tough social and environmental problems in an entrepreneurial way. Our aim is to help revolutionize the way businesses, government and the social sector work together - driving business as a force for good.
Follow us on Twitter http://www.twitter.com/virginunite
Join the movement on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/Virgin-Unite
About Virgin Holidays:
Virgin Holidays is the UK's leading long haul tour operator, with holidays to the USA, the Caribbean, Africa, the Middle and Far East, the Indian Ocean and Australasia. The company is proud of its commitment to encouraging sustainability in travel and has led the market in introducing numerous innovations to ensure customers 'give back' to the destinations they visit. For more information please visit http://www.virginholidays.co.uk
SOURCE Virgin Unite and Virgin Holidays