How To Do It The Branson (Centre) Way With Mentoring

How To Do It The Branson (Centre) Way With Mentoring


What does the Branson Centre do?

We’re funded by Virgin Unite, which is a non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group. Our primary focus is on training, and we offer a foundation course that is free of charge to qualifying entrepreneurs.

In addition to the foundation courses, we offer advanced courses, workshops and a mentorship programme.

Related: Richard Branson on Preparing the Perfect Pitch

How do you select your participating entrepreneurs?

We have qualifying criteria that help select entrepreneurs. We don’t look at the nature of the business at all, but the drive of the entrepreneur, that the business has been in operation at least six months, and turnover doesn’t exceed R800 000 per annum.

This cut off is because the course is aimed at early stage entrepreneurs who need assistance but can’t afford it.

What are the topics addressed with the foundational course?

The course is six weeks long, one and a half days a week, and is modular – covering strategy, marketing, finance, HR, operations, everything you could think of.

Entrepreneurs then have three months to implement their business models, and provided they show growth in their business are then eligible to apply to the advanced course. Only those who complete the advanced course are eligible for our mentorship programme.

Related: (Video) A Tour Around the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship

So there’s no funding offered through the Branson Centre?

No, none at all, and we feel strongly about that as no equity helps us keep our objectivity. What we do find, however, is that by the time a business has come through the programme they’re much more eligible for financing from a bank, or they’re in the right mind-set where they realise they don’t need grants or loans, but can self-finance or appeal to an investor.

Tracy Lee Nicol
Tracy-Lee Nicol is an experienced business writer and magazine editor. She was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Rhodes university in 2010, and in the time since has honed her business acumen and writing skills profiling some of South Africa's most successful entrepreneurs, CEOs, franchisees and franchisors.Find her on Google+.