On Monday and Tuesday this week, seventeen enthusiastic entrepreneurs met each other for the first time as Branson Center Cohort 4. Out of a pool of sixty applicants, these seventeen made it through three selection rounds.
The next step is a twelve-week training program that is meant to help them structure their businesses to be competitive in a globalized world. For the Jamaican economy to grow and avoid being left even further behind, our businesses can no longer operate in an ad hoc manner. Everything has to change – from being late for meetings and missing deadlines, to inefficient production and limited long-term planning.
My partner in crime, Kerrie Richards, and I have put together a case-based program that uses real-world examples of world-class businesses in operation around the globe to show what is possible for Jamaican businesses. We hope to help each entrepreneur act bigger, reach higher, and think outside the box.
If they make it through the twelve weeks, they will have access to a vast network of individuals and businesses that have committed to help the Branson Center and Virgin Unite impact entrepreneurs around the world. For example, five lucky entrepreneurs from past cohorts will benefit from an all expenses paid trip to the Inc Magazine Growco conference in New Orleans this April.
These past two days helped me see the direct impact of our work on individual lives. We had a session where each person had to work on someone else’s business model before working on his or her own. The energy coming out of that session was amazing.
When we sat down for 1:1 consultations, we started receiving feedback (already!) that the entrepreneurs were thinking about their businesses in entirely new ways. New connections were being made with potential suppliers, customers, and partners right before our eyes.
Guys, if you are not yet working on something where you can see the direct impact of your efforts on changing people’s lives and therefore changing the world, you’re missing out!