Get to Know: Sir Richard Branson

Q: As someone who inspires many, is there anyone who inspires you?

A: Nelson Mandela, Archbishop Desmond Tutu

 

Q: Which of your companies are you most passionate about and why?

A: Virgin Atlantic, because we are democratizing access to space

 

Q: What advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs?

A: Start with what you are most passionate about. If you first have meaningful purpose, the money will follow.

 

Q: How do you define success?

A: Health, friends and family

 

Q: What’s been the most important factor that led to your success?

A: Not to fear failure, which is a part of every entrepreneur’s life!

 

Q: How did you come up with the idea of SpaceShipTwo?

A: I did not. Burt Rutan developed SpaceShipOne, which won the X Prize in 2004 and which is now in the National Aerospace Museum.

 

Q: What is the cost?

A: $250,000

 

Q: How many people have signed up for it?

A: 700

 

Q: Who are a few people who have signed up for it?

A: James Lovelock, Ashton Kutcher, Sarah Brightman, my family and me

Q: What’s on the horizon?  Your next project?

A: Virgin Hotels. The headquarters will be here in Miami. We will open four-star hotels, with the first one in Chicago this fall. Then will come New York and other cities where Virgin flies.

 

Q: Why is giving back important to you?

A: Business is a force for good, and there is a lot of good left to do in this world.

 

Q: What’s the most important problem we face today?

A: There is so much to do. One thing is ensuring that the beautiful species of the earth and oceans are protected and cherished.

 

Q: Recently you teamed with Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute in a $5,000-a-seat question and answer luncheon to help benefit the Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute in Miami’s $100 million expansion. Why did you get involved?

A: My wife developed a blood clot that threatened her life. They saved her life, and I’m forever grateful.

 

Q: As someone who can go anywhere in the world for care, what made you choose Baptist Health for your wife’s care?

A: Dr. Barry Katzen and the staff there make a world of difference.

 

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The Baptist Cardiac and Vascular Institute is currently undergoing a massive $100 million expansion program. To support their fundraising efforts, world-famous entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group, and his wife, Lady Joan Branson were the honored guests at a $5,000-a-plate event featuring a Q & A session where Sir Richard graciously answered questions directly from the audience. Constance and Mike Fernandez hosted the fundraiser, called the Pulse of Innovation, at their home. It helped raise more than $1 million toward pioneering breakthrough research and developing vital new treatments at the Institute.

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