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BRANSON CENTRE LAUNCHES 2nd ROUND OF APPLICATIONS

image Lisa Lake

The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean is seeking applications from entrepreneurs. Interested entrepreneurs have until 6th February 2012 to complete the online application form at www.bransoncentre.org. Based in Montego Bay, the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship was launched in September 2011 by Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, with lead partner Virgin Holidays. Its programmes support entrepreneurs aged 18 - 35 years old in growing their businesses and creating jobs in the region. The Centre is also looking for experienced business leaders and investors who are willing to act as mentors and partners the Branson Centre.

The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, Caribbean offers business-training programmes, access to coaches, mentors, networks and facilities to enable growth. It supports the development of small and growing businesses, with an emphasis on building sustainable businesses that create jobs and are a “force for good” to quote the founder of the Centre, Sir Richard Branson, who believes doing good should be an integral part of doing business.

Since its launch in September 2011, the Centre is already assisting 13 young entrepreneurs and wants to find another 60, who want to take their businesses to a whole new level in 2012. The Centre’s main base is in Montego Bay. It will be supplemented by a number of smaller virtual satellite ‘Chapters’ throughout the Caribbean, developed on a bespoke basis as funders come on board. 

The Centre is interested in hearing from all entrepreneurs. Lisa Lake, Chief Development Director of the Centre explains, “We want applicants who are driven and passionate entrepreneurs. They need to have a strong understanding of where they are and have a vision about how they want their business to grow. We will work with them to determine how best to get there.” 

Successful applicants will participate in the first part of the programme, which is held over 12 weeks where they will receive support with business planning, marketing and finance issues. They will also have access to successful business leaders who can offer valuable advice and guidance.  The current set of businesses are now ready to move to Stage two of the programme and are now market ready for growth and expansion.  

Alecia James, Founder of Signature Cakes is a Branson Centre entrepreneur. She says, “Since being with the Branson Centre I’ve been grateful for all the practical business help and tips. I’ve learnt how to do a business plan and I understand its importance. I feel more mature and grounded and I now know about the realities of the business world- not just what I read in books. I feel I have gained more knowledge and received lots of advice”. Alecia recently catered at the Shaggy fundraising concert. She also catered at the Jazz and Blues festival last weekend. Alicia is currently negotiating to move to larger premises to accommodate her expanding business.

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