Twenty students of the Barbados Community College were today personally issued a business challenge by Virgin Atlantic head, Sir Richard Branson.
In a conference room at the Cave Hill School of Business this morning, Sir Richard
challenged students of the Barbados Entrepreneurship Foundation and Entrepreneurs in Action Classroom to Boardroom project to come up with ways to bring more locals to the United Kingdom.
Issuing the challenge via Internet video link, the English business magnate told the students that it was recognised that the UK was a major market for Barbados, but by comparison, not many locals chose the east as a vacation spot, compared to travel to the US. He told them he would like to know why this was and what would encourage more Bajans to consider vacationing there.
Virgin Atlantic’s Regional Manager for the Caribbean, Nick Parker noted that as a company led by one of the most
widely known entrepreneurs, they were pleased to be associated with the challenge that would see the students working in their offices over the next few days to come up with proposals.
Chief Executive and Founder of EIA, Derek Brown, said this year was the highest profile challenge ever to be issued in the nine year history of the programme, which had been held locally for three years.
“The way the programme works is that a challenge is set and this is the highest profile challenge we have ever had, set by one of the world’s leading entrepreneurs in Sir Richard Branson. What this means for the team is that the bar was raised when you arrived… and essentially this programme will change these young people’s lives here,” he said.
In addition to working in Virgin’s offices over the next four days, Browne said the groups would then present their proposals before a panel of Virgin Atlantic executives to choose the best.
The programme is being held in conjunction with the Rotary Club of Barbados South and the British High Commission, along with the BCC, whose students are involved this year for the first time. Traditionally, the competition has seen the involvement of students under 18 years, with last year’s groups coming from a number of secondary schools.
Rotary President Sonya Alleyne said she believed the students would benefit tremendously from the experience that would hopefully transform them from job takers to job makers. (LB)