Richard Branson recently traveled to Jamaica to celebrate the relaunch and relocation of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship.
After originally launching the center in Montego Bay in 2011, Branson’s Virgin Unite has moved the center to Kingston to be closer to the burgeoning innovation ecosystem in Jamaica’s capital.
“The spirit and energy of the Caribbean is like nowhere else in the world – this place buzzes with entrepreneurial spirit,” Branson said.
The non-profit Virgin Unite, founded in 2004, aims to “unite people and entrepreneurial ideas to create opportunities for a better world.”
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness also attended the launch, and discussed with Branson the state of the current business landscape and ways to raise the country’s GDP and support new business ventures of the future.
“Ongoing support from both government and business is crucial to delivering entrepreneurs in the Caribbean with what they so desperately need – accessible investment options, business support, mentoring and global growth opportunities,” Branson said.
Both walked around a showcase of Branson Center entrepreneurs and listened to their business stories.
The group also held a panel about “the power of connection,” which Branson noted is central to the life and success of every entrepreneur.
“As I said at the event, in this day and age, the world is one world,” he said. “As business people you should try to think globally as much as you can. Try to make sure your brand is gonna work anywhere in the world.”
Branson called for global community action and for all sectors to work together and support each other.
“Entrepreneurs can solve some of Jamaica’s, and the world’s biggest problems. We must find bright and innovative thinkers, give them the support, encouragement and the community they need to build strong and socially responsible businesses,” he said.
It’s also another major boost for the city of Kingston, which has been seeing renewed investment, particularly in the tourism sector, with a new Courtyard Marriott and a major planned $50 million AC Hotel project.