(Jamaica Gleaner) Virgin Holidays passengers and Virgin Unite will pump US$3.5 million (J$300 million) into the new Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean, which opened at the ATL Bogue City Centre in Montego Bay, St James, on Thursday.
The multimillion-dollar commitment, which was made by airline mogul Sir Richard Branson, spans more than 10 years.
The centre, the first of its kind in the region, welcomed its initial intake of 14 aspiring young entrepreneurs, who will participate in a series of practical coaching and mentoring foundation and then advanced programmes.
Addressing some of the country’s most influential stakeholders during the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Branson said he was moved by the energy and drive from the entrepreneurs who were accepted at the centre.
“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,” said Branson, urging the business community to partner with his organisation by helping small businesses to grow, create job opportunities and inspire the next generation.
“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,” he said.