042_Global12_Arena_V7

Global issue 12

Arena “If you have an idea that’s going to make a difference, just do it, get on with it and give it a go” IntervIew Sir Richard Branson Founder and Chairman of Virgin Group At the height of the dispute between Virgin Trains and the Department for Transport over who should run the West Coast Main Line rail franchise, Richard Branson managed to find time to talk toGlobal about his wide-ranging interests in space tourism, sustainable development, global warming, philanthropy and encouraging entrepreneurship I a multinational group that now consists of more than 200t was in 1970 that Richard Branson, aged 20, founded theVirgin mail-order record company, which in time grew into companies. His biggest breakthrough was the establishment of Virgin Atlantic Airways in 1984, which went on to compete successfully with the big-name airlines. With Virgin companies now involved in a wide range of activities around the world, Richard Branson clearly enjoys putting his personal stamp on every new business venture. At the same time, he likes to spend his money on charitable and development-related activities. Having developed a commitment to tackling global warming, he is disappointed that governments seem to have lost the will to work for sustainable development and to fight against cli- mate change. In this interview, he talks about his passions and beliefs, including the spirit of entrepreneurship and the need for constant innovation in business. Global: The global success of your flagship airline businesses over the past 25 years or so has helped make you both world famous and influential, and yet you seem always driven to take on new adventures, such as your own involvement in high- altitude ballooning and now your advocacy of space tourism. Is it the prospect of reaching ever-greater heights that drives this ambition? Richard Branson: I love a challenge and enjoy pushing the boundaries! Also these events are a great way to raise awareness for a particular charity or cause. Re- cently my children and I climbed Mont Blanc; we were launching their charity Big Change, which will help young people reach their potential. When do you expect Virgin Galactic to be offering its first suborbital trips? What else will that company be striving to achieve in the future? 42 lwww.global-briefing.org fourth quarter 2012global


Global issue 12
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