How the Branson Centre is digitally supporting the Caribbean’s entrepreneurial landscape
The world is experiencing rapid change and people everywhere are learning how to adjust to a new normal. COVID-19 has disrupted day-to-day businesses everywhere and the Branson Centre Caribbean is no exception.
Lauri-Ann Ainsworth is CEO of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship. Below she shares an update on how the centre is adapting to support entrepreneurs through COVID-19.
Our team has been furiously working from home to support the entrepreneurs we serve and I’m proud to say that we’ve been able to deliver our entrepreneurship training programme to the current cohort with minimal disruption.
Here at the Branson Centre we choose to be guided by our founder’s motto: Screw business as usual. For us this means acting fast to meet the immediate needs of our entrepreneurs, many of whom are now grappling with the effects of this pandemic. Our focus has shifted from business acceleration to recovery planning and management – services that will continue to be critical in the ongoing recovery period for Caribbean businesses.
The Branson Centre is one of the leading business accelerators and we want to ensure our resources on business sustainability and resilience are shared with as many entrepreneurs as possible.
In addition to providing 100 percent online support to our community we are developing a series of public webinars to educate business leaders and their teams during this crisis. The series focuses on recovery, resilience, and growth and is pulling together industry experts to share solutions to some of today's challenges.
Here at the Branson Centre we are committed to supporting entrepreneurs so that they’re better equipped to withstand rapid operational change. This means incorporating wellness into daily routines, deeper thinking and planning around remote working, and developing ongoing strategies for sustainable business practices. Our goal is to cultivate innovative thinking and encourage strategic action so that businesses can survive during and after this pandemic.
Already we have been amazed by how Branson Centre entrepreneurs have adapted to this new normal. Danielle Thompson runs Nature My Therapy – a vegan food distribution company known across Jamaica for its all-natural immune-boosting juices – and she has seen demand for her services increase dramatically. Danielle and her team have handled the situation swiftly and safely and have been delivering much needed food to people in need.
Since working from home is in many cases ‘the new normal’ Leanne Spence, founder of Instant Save, is helping families reduce household costs with her water-saving conservation kits. Leanne and her team provide water-use assessments, as well as installing cost-effective water services and energy efficient plumbing fixtures.
Gariel and Gillian Ferguson of The Rib Kage Grill restaurant have implemented delivery services to support social distancing efforts. Dwayne Watson of Connect Critical Infrastructure Solutions has sights set on high efficiency air filters for commercial buildings to slow the spread of bacteria. Our entrepreneurs have also taken a proactive approach to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. Larren Peart of Blue Dot Insights is part of a team of experts creating personal protective equipment (PPE) like masks, face shields, gowns, and emergency ventilators for healthcare workers.
We are constantly inspired by the innovative nature of these changemakers. Our teams remain committed to developing the Caribbean’s entrepreneurial landscape and helping entrepreneurs navigate the road of recovery. For more information about Branson Centre and it’s upcoming webinars, visit www.bransoncentre.co
The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship Caribbean is an initiative of Virgin Unite and lead partner Virgin Holidays. The centre was launched in 2011 and since then has been helping Caribbean entrepreneurs scale their businesses.