Branson urges entrepreneurs to benchmark globally

Sir Richard Branson with Pat Dambe at the Global Expo 2017 PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES
Sir Richard Branson with Pat Dambe at the Global Expo 2017 PIC: THALEFANG CHARLES

Virgin Group founder, Richard Branson has advised local entrepreneurs to think globally and focus on making their products and services suitable for the global market.

During a meeting session organised by the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) last Thursday, as part of the Global Expo, the multi-billionaire said local businesspeople should not limit themselves to the domestic market, noting that Africa and the world are massive market places that need to be exploited.

According to Branson, start-ups are no longer constrained by geological boundaries as cross border collaborations allow new businesses to grow and develop.

He encouraged local businesses to study and realise the potentials in other markets and take advantage of them, and not be content with local successes.

He also said in thinking globally, Botswana will be able to move higher to the next stage of its development. “You should realise you are in competition with the world and encouraging more global entrepreneurship is the key to improving economic growth worldwide,” said Branson.

He advised young entrepreneurs to ask how they can do things better.

Branson said he became an entrepreneur at a young age, and his first business venture, at the age of 16, was a magazine called Student.

In 1970, he set up a mail-order record business. He opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores, in 1972.

Branson’s Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s, as he set up Virgin Atlantic airline and expanded the Virgin Records music label. In March 2000, Branson was knighted at Buckingham Palace for “services to entrepreneurship”.

For his work in retail, music and transport, with interests in land, air, sea and space travel, his taste for adventure, and for his humanitarian work, he became a prominent figure.  In 2002, he was named in the BBC’s poll of the 100 Greatest Britons. In 2004, he founded spaceflight corporation noted for the SpaceShipOne project.

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