The BVI branch of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean (BCoEC) was launched on Tuesday 1 March at the J.R O’Neal Botanic Gardens, with some 180 local entrepreneurs in attendance.
The initiative – a collaboration between the Sir Richard Branson and KPMG (BVI) Ltd – is aimed at creating jobs and growing revenue through entrepreneurship.
Russell Crumpler, Managing Director of KPMG (BVI) Limited chaired the event and announced that the idea was presented to the company by Director at KPMG (BVI) Limited, Jacques Roux.
“When Jacques came to us with the concept of working with entrepreneurs in the BVI we were very excited about the idea. We were even more excited when the opportunity to team up with the Branson Center presented itself.”
Mr Roux, who piloted the idea, explained that partnership was embraced because KPMG recognized the challenges facing entrepreneurs in the BVI, and the benefits that entrepreneurship can bring to the community. “We at KPMG started exploring how we can best utilize our skills and expertise to benefit entrepreneurs in the community,” he said.
“Having seen the tremendous success the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship has achieved in Jamaica, and being very cognizant of their intention to expand into the region it was a very straight forward decision for us to partner with the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship to bring their highly successful program to the Territory,” Mr. Roux added.
Lisa Lake, CEO at Branson Center of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean explained that the Branson Center provides support that is truly critical to entrepreneurs: “The road of entrepreneurship is not a straight and narrow one. It is one that is probably more similar to a rollercoaster; and as a result there are different interventions that are needed and different support that are needed at different times. That makes this a very complicated but rewarding path of support.”
“With this in mind the Branson Center created what we are calling a hybrid model …We were able to create an online training platform that provides the business skills and tools that are needed to help entrepreneurs create what we call a bankable business pitch. That is something that can be used for entrepreneurs to grow their business with additional support, be it through partners, investors, clients etc,” Lake explained.
She pointed out that the mentorship and coaching that are required through the roller coaster journey of entrepreneurs is what is available in the Branson Center Entrepreneur program.
“Collectively we are really excited to get to work supporting entrepreneurship talent that we see alive and well in the BVI, and what we can all accomplish together,” she added.
Premier and Minister for Finance, Dr. the Hon. D. Orlando Smith said that Government is happy to have a branch of the Branson Center here: “We have heard good things and we expect to see that growth that has been done in Jamaica. We expect to see that in the BVI.”
Sir Richard Branson said: “We live in the BVI, which I think is one of the best countries in the world. We have people here who I think can achieve extraordinary things and a lot of young people who want to, but it helps to have a helping hand, and I hope that through the entrepreneurship college, that we can find mentors and help them get going. And not just for transforming the BVI for the good, but let them think really big and transform the Caribbean.”
“A business in itself is a force for good and if they can come with an idea to radically change other people’s lives for the better, they will have a successful business,” Sir Branson added.