Sir Richard Branson visits Winnipeg for a day
It’s not every day that you get to hang out and listen to a billionaire, let alone a knight. A knight!!
Sir Richard Branson spent a day in Winnipeg and was the guest of honour at the joint Virgin Radio and Winnipeg Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel. As a business owner, and entrepreneur, I was excited to listen and learn a few things from Sir Richard Branson.
The “Screw It, Let’s Do It” mentality was humorously highlighted at lunch by Branson’s story on how he started Virgin Atlantic Airlines. After being bumped on an American Airlines flight from Puerto Rico to the Virgin Islands, Branson filled his first chartered plane by selling seats for only $29 for a one-way ticket to the Virgin Islands. All this because he promised to see his wife, then-girlfriend that day and wasn’t willing to miss the flight.
When my parents started the Filipino Journal over 28 years ago, I grew up knowing that the main reason they started the newspaper was because they wanted share positive stories of Filipinos in Winnipeg. At that time, there were a lot of negative stories in mainstream media about new Filipino immigrants, and felt it was important to highlight the positive contributions of Filipinos in Winnipeg. By publishing their own community newspaper, allowed my parents to stay focused on our small and growing community. We featured business owners, students’ achievements in academic, athletic and community initiatives.
After 28 years in business, our focus at the Filipino Journal remains committed to all the Filipinos all across Manitoba. How does this all tie into Sir Richard Branson’s visit? It was one answer that struck a deep chord in my thinking. Branson said that people start and build businesses in order to make a difference in people’s lives. While we may be a small ethnic community newspaper in the grand scheme of things, I truly believe that what we do as a media company makes a difference in our community. Our community is you, our readers, followers, fans, business associates and most importantly, our advertisers who have supported our family business for over 28 years.
In Branson’s short visit to Winnipeg, fundraising proceeds of over $300,000 was raised for one of Branson’s favourite charities, Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY). Resource Assistance for Youth (RaY) is a non-profit street-level agency working with street-entrenched and homeless youth up to the age of 29. RaY is non-judgmental and non-partisan, employing a harm reduction approach to all interactions with youth in need.
Announced prior to Branson’s visit to Winnipeg was “Phones for Change” by the Virgin Group’s non-profit foundation, Virgin Unite. The program will provide Virgin Mobile phones to at-risk and homeless youth and financial management education.
Sir Richard Branson is the epitome of being an entrepreneur. He’s worth over $5.4 billion and the Virgin Group empire consists of over 200 companies in over 30 countries. The most notable worldwide brands include Virgin Mobile and Virgin Atlantic Airlines. In Winnipeg, the former Hot 103 FM station was recently re-branded as 103.1 Virgin Radio.
Photo by Ron Cantiveros | Filipino Journal