Billionaire Sir Richard Branson graces Global Expo

Billionaire and Founder of the Virgin Group Sir Richard Charles Nicholas Branson, is in Botswana this week. 

The business magnate, investor and philanthropist paid a courtesy call on both President Ian Khama and Vice President Mokgweetsi Masisi on Thursday before he made time to speak to local entrepreneurs at the ongoing Global Expo.  The talk titled, ‘In conversation with Sir Richard Branson,’ is the brainchild of the Botswana Investment and Trade Centre (BITC) which invited the business mogul to this year’s Global Expo.

BITC Director Corporate Communications, Kutlo Moagi confirmed that Sir Branson would meet the President and Vice President for a courtesy call. She could not say much about the agenda, insisting it was just a simple courtesy call. “His visit to the Office of the President will just be a courtesy call,” she said, adding that often, BITC invites prominent business personalities to not only grace the Global Expo but also to inspire the local business community and share personal business experiences. 

All exhibitors at the 2017 Global Expo will have an opportunity to grace the Knight of the British Empire in an event that has strict access after Branson’s meeting at the Office of the President.

Government Spokesperson, Dr Jeff Ramsay could also not be drawn into the details of the meeting Sir Branson will have with the President and the Vice President.  “I would not want to speculate on what they will discuss,” said Dr Ramsay dismissing ideas that Sir Branson might have investment interests in Botswana. “He will speak for himself once here,” Ramsay said. It is speculated that Botswana will persuade the tycoon, who founded the Virgin Group that controls more than 400 companies, to invest either in environmental conservation, which he has a soft spot for, or in  our ailing national airline. Unconfirmed reports say he will fly out of the capital shortly after his session with local entrepreneurs at the Global Expo for several other business meetings within the country. According to Forbes, Sir Branson’s net worth is $5.1 billion. He owes his fortune to a conglomerate of businesses bearing the "Virgin" brand name, including Virgin Galactic and Virgin Atlantic. The son of a barrister and flight attendant, Richard got his start with a mail-order record business almost 50 years ago. The 67-year-old primarily lives on a luxe British Virgin Islands retreat, Necker Island, which he bought for $180,000 in 1978.


How Sir Richard Branson made his $5 billion fortune

Seemingly born to be an entrepreneur, Richard Branson started his first two businesses in 1968 when he was just 17 years old. Two years later, in 1970, he opened his first business under the Virgin Group umbrella, and the rest is history.Though perhaps best known for its airlines, the Virgin Group consists of more than 60 businesses today. Combined, they bring in more than $24 billion in annual revenue and employ 71 000 people in 35 countries, according to The Telegraph of UK. 

He sold Virgin Records for $1 billion in 1992, but instead of celebrating, he famously ran down London’s Ladbroke Grove in tears, distraught over cutting ties with the business. These days, the father of two dedicates most of his time to Virgin Unite, the Virgin Group’s non-profit entrepreneurial foundation. Established in 2004, the charity supports ventures close to Branson’s heart, including speaking out against poaching. Virgin Unite’s projects are changing the world for the better. Some of the foundation’s work includes providing life-saving healthcare to people in Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria; creating Branson Centres, which have helped 4 000 entrepreneurs get their businesses off the ground; and fighting for LGBT rights in Uganda.

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