Open For Business will take place in three communities across Johannesburg. The first is in Katlehong on 8th September, the second in Alexandra on 6th October and the third in Soweto on 3rd November to tie in with the country’s Global Entrepreneurship Week activity. Besides marketing and selling to their communities, participants can also interact with Branson Centre entrepreneurs to receive advice and tips on how to grow their businesses.
"We’ve supported almost 300 entrepreneurs through our courses. Each of them has achieved a lot to be where they are today and have the right attitude to make it as an entrepreneur. They are also an inspiration to other community-based small business owners as they share similar backgrounds and challenges," explains Webster.
In fact, nine of the centre’s current entrepreneurs are intimately involved in the planning, marketing and implementation of Open For Business, not least so they can meet and mentor others who need support from ‘people like me’.
Webster goes on to say that it is this culture of peer-to-peer mentoring and support that defines The Branson Centre. And it stems directly from its namesake, Sir Richard Branson. "Richard is committed to helping others make something of themselves. He founded The Branson Centre in 2006 after he visited South Africa and saw the potential our people have, yet don’t have enough support to ignite. Open For Business wants to sustain that legacy by sharing knowledge and skills to empower entrepreneurs who need it most."
Anyone who does business in, or near, the three communities can join Open For Business. (Some terms and conditions do apply; see website for details). Public are invited to come and try or buy goods and meet the Branson Centre entrepreneurs. Family-friendly entertainment will be provided and entrance is free.
"We see Open For Business as an initiative that will grow naturally as word spreads. Because of this Katlehong and Alexandra are more intimate events while Soweto will be bigger with plenty of free entertainment like jumping castles, live music and dance."
One participating entrepreneur per event will also be chosen to join the next Branson Centre programme that starts in October 2012 and runs for seven months, at no cost to them. There, he or she will receive tailored business training, mentoring and networking opportunities with local and international Virgin stakeholders.
For more information visit www.bransoncentre.org