Have you ever heard of the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship – Caribbean (BCoEC)? I have, and it brings to mind two thoughts when I think of it.
1. Wow, will I get to work with Richard Branson?
2. What on earth do they teach there and will it really help my business?
That second one is what I have always pondered when I hear about any type of accelerator programme because I often wonder just how much the information that is shared can really help to shape a business venture. Is it just a bunch of case studies? Is it just a bunch of successful business people coming to tell me how they did it without practical information that I can use to grow my own business? Sure, sharing your footsteps are a great help, it can give me a few ideas on how to grow my own business. But I feel like I can research that online. How can you help me, specifically?
Good thing is, I happen to know more than a couple people who have been through the program who seem to have definitely benefited from the program. So when BCoEC asked me to share with my audience that they’re now recruiting, I decided to reach out to a few of their “past students” if you will, to see what’s good over at Sir Richie Rich’s place. First, I’ll allow the Branson Centre to introduce themselves.
The Branson Centre Caribbean Online programme is part of a hybrid model that utilizes a mix of technology-driven tools and in-person interaction to deliver one-of a-kind practical business training to entrepreneurs over a 12 week period. The online training offers three valuable facets to entrepreneurs: an online community which connects entrepreneurs in a shared learning environment, excellent networking opportunities and most of all, a condensed business plan known as a Business Pitch Deck which can be used to present their business in a bankable way once the training is completed.
Best of all, use of the Branson Centre Caribbean Online programme is completely free of cost to all entrepreneurs who register, and it’s the first step to becoming a Branson Centre Official Entrepreneur and accessing their full suite of support services. Services that include: mentorship, coaching, access to pro bono professional services, media and other exposure, as well as being a part of their community of entrepreneurs.
BCoEC is now recruiting for the next group of participants who wish to join its online training programme, and if successful in their application to become a Branson Centre Official Entrepreneur, would be admitted as part of Cohort 11.
It’s important to note that if you have a great idea, but aren’t operational, then you should have done the research to back up your idea, – an idea alone isn’t enough, and if you’re already operational then you should be driven to move from start up to scale up.
I spoke to Marc Laird of Cohort 7 about his experience of the programme and he spoke highly of it. He was in one of the first groups that completed the programme online and he says it has boosted his business savvy tenfold. He now feels confident to make business decisions, confident in discussions with his accountants and financial planners, confident to give up the reigns and delegate and confident in planning immediate growth in his event rental company. He was also very appreciative of the vast support network of both young entrepreneurs and experienced professionals with scores of years under their collective belt that official entrepreneurs have access to once they complete the programme.
Cyreca McGaw also highlighted just how much her confidence has grown since completing the programme, so much so that she has grown her employee count from 1 to 3. She says she accepted that she can’t do it all and in order for her business to grow, she needs the added manpower. Hooray for the added jobs! She’s a raving fan of the BCoEC and highly recommends other entrepreneurs to sign up for the program.
Joshua Chamberlain of AlphaWearJa spoke highly of the programme:
The Branson Centre provided me with a crash course in business preparation and operations and planning. Being surrounded by passionate entrepreneurs is a great motivator and an important part of the success of the program in my opinion. Branson Center also takes to heart its commitment to business as a force for good. That commitment is very real, it is integrated into the training and was particularly relevant to my experience and the benefit I received from the program.
The Branson Centre is a very unique opportunity for Jamaica and for the Caribbean. This is very true in my case and that of my business which revolves around the Alpha boys school, a non-profit vocational school in Kingston. Although I completed the program a couple years ago the Branson Centre continues to lead the way as a source for training and professional development, as a sounding board for my business as well as a community of like-minded business owners and entrepreneurs who I believe are committed not only to their business but to each other in great part because of the Branson Center being there to bring us together. Without the Branson Center both I and alpha would be less better off.
Are you convinced yet? I already want to start a business and start their virtual online training just so that I can get access to this kind of support right here in Jamaica! They’re expanding to the British Virgin Islands as well so if you’re anywhere close to Necker Island and always wanted the hook-up, now’s your chance! Interested participants can sign up for entrepreneur registration at www.bransoncentre.co Registration closes on January 26, 2016 and if you still have questions then head on over to the FAQs here.