Branson Centre Caribbean – the leading scaleup business accelerator in the region – is pleased to announce the appointment of Lauri-Ann Ainsworth as the organisation's new CEO.

Lisandra Rickards officially passed the torch this January: “After seven amazing years at the Centre, and three as CEO, the time has come for me to shake things up. I believe deeply that we should redesign our lives every few years in order to fully explore our mission in the world.”

“As I enter this next phase to focus on my own evolution, I want to thank the Board, our partners, the team, our dynamic group of entrepreneurs, and the entire Virgin family for the honour of being part of something much greater than myself”, said Rickards.

branson centre entrepreneurship, BCoE, Caribbean

Achievements during her tenure include pioneering the organisation’s shift from working with start-up to scale-up businesses, creating a pipeline of venture investment within the Caribbean and relocating the Centre’s base of operations from Montego Bay to the country’s business hub, Kingston.

“I leave the Branson Centre in very capable hands,” Rickards said of the incoming CEO. “Lauri-Ann carries with her years of experience in developing the Caribbean’s entrepreneurial landscape; her visionary thinking and leadership capabilities around development, partnerships, fundraising and communications, make her ideal for the role”.

Lauri-Ann Ainsworth transitions into her new role as CEO from being the Centre’s Development and Communications Director for the past three years. Ainsworth will further optimise operations as the Branson Centre continues to serve its growing pool of entrepreneurs by ensuring continued world-class output, and increasing the organisation’s impact on economic growth in the Caribbean.

branson centre entrepreneurship, BCoE, Caribbean

“I’m excited about the future of the Branson Centre. I will take a holistic approach to entrepreneurship development within my role, by enhancing our already stellar programme. I believe it is crucial to develop the whole entrepreneur so that they are prepared to scale in all areas of their businesses." 

Ainsworth continued, “I am honoured to step into this new role as CEO which has always been occupied by strong female leaders and will continue to build on Branson Centre’s legacy of making an impact on Caribbean entrepreneurs and economies.”

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Branson Centre helps Caribbean entrepreneurs scale their businesses. Its accelerator programme now has a specialised component for Blue Economy Entrepreneurs. Take the business assessment quiz and learn more.