Sir Richard Branson

Appears as a contributor in the bestseller 'WEconomy'
Sir Richard Brandson
He founded his first magazine at 16 and owns or has owned airlines, record labels, radio stations, hotels, and many other companies
Branson has four space-focused companies
Branson launched social activist projects that included Virgin Unite to combat HIV and AIDS, and the Branson Center of Entrepreneurship to teach entrepreneurial skills in developing countries

Richard Branson’s Contribution from 'WEconomy'

Make no mistake; this is one of my proudest moments as a father. No point denying it. My daughter has written a book; what father wouldn’t be proud!

It was humbling to be asked by Holly, Craig, and Marc to play a role in promoting an emerging economic movement that has purpose at its very core. In the WEconomy, these three young authors from the worlds of business, charity, and social enterprise have unearthed a growing economic movement, one fueled by purpose—individual,

collective, and corporate. That is the best way to find meaning, make a living, and change the world. And change it must.

It’s sad but true that the world we live in can, at times, be frightening. Our smart device, that constant companion with its immediacy, often paints a picture of human nature at its most base. Images of the horrors of indiscriminate global terrorism, violent and xenophobic rhetoric from all sides, and our failure to address climate change can make us

forget that people are inherently good. To truly see the beauty in human nature you need to be present. We all need to communicate face to face, to share stories, to be active participants at home, at work, and in our local and global communities.

The WEconomy shows what can be achieved if we put self-interest and fear behind us and strive for the change that embracing purpose can bring to all aspects of our lives. Positive change is already happening all around us. The role you play, within the businesses you work for or run, is driving that change.

You may not read much about the WEconomy yet in HuffPost or on TMZ. But talk to your friends, your neighbors, check out TED Talks online, discuss the themes in this book with everyone you know, and you’ll see that the lines between business and charity are blurring more and more each day.

Agitate the companies you work for and with, from without and within, to embed purpose into their very DNA. You will be the generation to nurture and grow the WEconomy for generations to come.

Holly, Craig, and Marc kindly named Oprah Winfrey, Jeff Skoll, and me as their mentors. I’m sure my co-mentors would agree that we learn more valuable lessons every day from passionate and purpose-driven young people than we could ever wish to impart. Mentoring goes both ways.

It’s been almost a decade since Holly made one of the hardest decisions of her life and decided to take some time away from her chosen field of medicine to explore what good could also be achieved by the world of business. Working alongside Holly (and my son Sam) is invigorating, inspiring, educational, and enlightening. Over the past few years Holly, Craig, and Marc have been driven by the desire to learn all they can about the individual, yet blurring, sectors that they work in. It’s been a real eye-opener and a rush to support them on their journey of discovery.

I’ve discovered that I am surrounded by WEconomists. Every day, in my tiny corner of the world, I work with 70,000 challengers of the status quo at the Virgin Group. As part of this emerging WEconomy movement, these are women and men who refuse to accept business as usual and demand to see business as a force for good.

But we’re just one brand. To truly get a sense of the momentum behind this movement, you need to get your calculators out. Add our 70,000 to the many, many organizations and companies cited in this book. Add those to the thousands of others—from individual community entrepreneurs in Africa, to the socially conscious cottage industries popping up all over the world, to the massive businesses currently embedding purpose at their very core. Very quickly you get a sense of the scale of the change that is happening right now. The WEconomy, driven by millions of you, has the ability to change the world we live in, for the benefit of all.

I’ve even had the great privilege to witness firsthand the kind of wonderful world that the next generation of WEconomists will create.

Recently, Holly and the team at Virgin Unite invited me to join them and some of the most awe-inspiring people I have ever met—a group called The New Now—for breakfast. Several 20-somethings— among them a nuclear physicist, a peace activist, an entrepreneur, and a climate change expert—had come together from all over the globe to meet in New York. What drew them? The belief that together they could make a positive difference in the world.

I learned about their hopes and desires, and listened to the creative and innovative plans they had, both individually and collectively, to tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. As one young man so eloquently put it: “The world we want to live in is a world that we will have to construct for ourselves.”

Surrounded by the business, political (a future president or two, no doubt), scientific, and environmental leaders, I was struck that they saw no boundaries to their collaboration. Gender diversity, politics, race, geographical regions, and sector expertise were not viewed as negatives but as positives to the effectiveness and potential of the group as a whole. I watched them struggle to understand the economic and charitable sector silos of the past. Simply put—they just didn’t get it. To quote another young leader: “I’d rather work with a group that wakes up every morning and wants to try.”

Thanks to Holly, the driving force behind The New Now, I was able to witness the leaders of the WEconomy in action, and have my belief that our world is in safe hands confirmed over breakfast!

Cooperation and collective responsibility for the well-being of people and the planet by business, government, NGOs, and social enterprise is the bedrock of the WEconomy. To give us the greatest chance of prosperity for all and to protect the beautiful, complicated ecosystems we all rely on to survive it’s the only way of doing business in the future.

I truly believe that if every company in the world adopted this philosophy, all of the world’s problems could be solved.

Craig and Marc, thank you for inviting me along on your exploration of the WEconomy.

Holly, you make me so proud every day. I love you.

WEconomy is an international bestseller and a respected guidebook for the next evolution in business. Written by Craig Kielburger, Marc Kielburger and Dr. Holly Branson with a forward by Sheryl Sandberg and an Epilogue by Sir Richard Branson, WEconomy provides a compelling overview that embedding purpose at the heart of your career and in your business one of the smartest things you can do. WEconomy is full of tangible life examples and has been used as a guide for companies like Facebook, Hearst and KPMG.
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