Our roots can be traced all the way to South Africa…
Back in 2006, Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, established the first Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Inspired by the success of the South Africa project, in 2011 Virgin Unite went on to spearhead the launch of the Caribbean arm of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
Virgin Unite believes business can and must be a force for good in the world – and that this is also good for business! Supporting entrepreneurs around the world is a part of the game-changing organisation’s mission to incubate new approaches to leadership.
As Branson Centre Caribbean’s operational partner, Virgin Unite works closely with our team on the ground to support entrepreneur development and our ongoing expansion.
Virgin Holidays is Branson Centre’s lead business partner. A responsible business and the UK’s leading long-haul tour operator, Virgin Holidays invests much needed resources in the Caribbean – a destination their customers have fallen in love with over the years – through their support of Branson Centre Caribbean and its entrepreneurs.
The collaboration between Virgin Unite and Virgin Holidays demonstrates how a shared goal to create life-changing opportunities can transform lives around the globe.
When Branson Centre first opened its doors in 2011, we admitted up to 20 entrepreneurs per cohort to attend training one day a week for 12 weeks in the centre’s Montego Bay location. By the end of 2014, we had successfully trained seven cohorts in Jamaica and was ready to scale the programme.
In March 2015, we launched Branson Centre Caribbean Online – an online platform that provided training to a much wider pool of entrepreneurs.
Soon after, we took our first leap outside of Jamaica into the wider Caribbean, setting up the programme in the British Virgin Islands, where we welcomed our first cohort there in January 2016.
2017 was yet another major milestone year for Branson Centre Caribbean…
In June 2017, we moved our headquarters from Montego Bay to Jamaica’s capital city, Kingston. We also revamped our suite of services to provide tools and high-touch services to an even wider pool of entrepreneurs, both free and at a cost, while also sharpening our focus on a specially selected group of high-potential, high-impact, fundable entrepreneurs.
We do a lot of tracking and analysis here at the Centre. Based on our monitoring and evaluation reports, we realized that we could increase our impact by supporting entrepreneurs who are ready scale and allow other well-equipped incubators and programs to support entrepreneurs that are in the start-up phase.
We want to create more opportunities for deal-flow within the region. This repositioning solidifies Branson Centre Caribbean as a key player in the transformation and development of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in the region as it allows us to effectively fulfill our mission of creating dynamic Caribbean economies.
In January 2018, we welcomed the first cohort of entrepreneurs stemming from that strategic shift.