Celebrating Britain’s entrepreneurs

Richard Branson laughing
Image from Fast Track 100
A close up of Richard Branson smiling, looking at the camera
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Published on 17 September 2020

It’s that time of year again when we’d usually host a Fast Track event to celebrate the wonderful achievements of the UK’s fastest-growing private companies. 

Well, things have been a little different this year, to say the least. While the event was virtual, we still came together online to raise a glass to the ingenuity and drive of British entrepreneurs. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted every single businesses large and small unlike any other crisis. For many it is an ongoing challenge as to how to navigate this changing world. Most of these impacts have been devastating, in some cases existential. But that’s why events like Fast Track are so important. The pandemic may have thrown a wrench into business plans and changed your outlook. 

But at the heart of it, that’s what entrepreneurship is all about: taking risks, overcoming adversity, adapting, embracing failure – and pulling yourself up again. 

Think of past FastTrack winners: Topic Skincare, Gymshark, Brewdog – theirs are inspiring stories of entrepreneurs challenging convention and rising above the ordinary, clearing a lot of hurdles along the way.   

I’ve never made a secret of my optimism, and I think every crisis offers opportunity, too. There’s lots of talk of a “great reset”, of “building back better” and  I’m sure British businesses will be on the leading edge of this. 

At Virgin we have been supporting Virgin StartUp as it has backed, promoted and mentored thousands of new businesses over the last seven years. This effort is needed more than ever now, as a new generation of companies spring up to meet the opportunities of today.

Many companies will pivot to discover new revenue streams. Others will build greater resilience into their business models. I hope many entrepreneurs will discover opportunity in green growth so that we are all better prepared for what the future may hold.