Four Partners Join Forces in Creation of an "Entrepreneurial Exchange"

By Virgin Unite, PRNE
Sunday, July 17, 2011

JOHANNESBURG, July 18, 2011 -

UKPrime Minister
and Partners
Spend Time with Branson
Centre Entrepreneurs in
to Listen
and Learn About What They Want From
the Exchange

On the day the UK Prime Minister visits South Africa to
demonstrate how Africa is a place to find innovation, make
investments and do business, Virgin Unite, the Tech City Investment
Organisation (TCIO), Facebook and the London Stock Exchange Group
(LSE.L) have brought together a group of entrepreneurs to listen to
what is needed on the ground in South Africa. This is the start of
a longer term connection between South Africa and the UK to
encourage a flow of business investments and sharing of best
practice that will see the group search for businesses to take part
in an innovative exchange programme. In return the businesses will
be able to access the skills and programmes available in each
other’s countries through Virgin Unite, Tech City, the London Stock
Exchange Group, and a digital sharing space on Facebook. The group
hopes that by working together it can combine the necessary
essentials to help grow businesses - support, mentoring and access
to funding - ultimately creating thousands of jobs in both the UK
and South Africa.

Today, it all starts with twenty-two inspiring entrepreneurs
from the Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship, who will help shape
what they need from the four partners as they start to set up the
exchange programme.

One of these entrepreneurs, Yashwin Mohan, owns and runs ‘Game
Over’ an arcade business in South Africa. He said: “The Branson
Centre has contributed to my success. I can now create jobs for
people that I’ve hired and the impact this has on their lives and
the lives of their families and their communities, is

Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group,
CEO Jean Oelwang, commented, “At Virgin Unite we have a growing
number of successful entrepreneurs who are mentoring budding
entrepreneurs at the Branson Centres of Entrepreneurship to help
them scale their businesses. We’ve seen the great benefits that
these connections and mentoring can deliver and are thrilled to be
part of this partnership that can help create a powerful network of
entrepreneurs to ultimately create thousands of new jobs in both

The partners are planning to launch a competition to identify
ten leading entrepreneurs (five from the UK and five from SA) who
will be part of a country exchange programme - bringing African
Start Ups to Tech City in the East End of London, and British Start
Ups to the Branson Centre in South Africa. The “entrepreneurial
exchange” will tap into all four of the partners’ talent pool and
match business leaders of today with the emerging entrepreneurs of

“Today highlights the talent and the potential impact of
Africa’s entrepreneurs and reinforces Facebook’s desire to help
businesses around the world develop strong, lasting relationships
with people,” said Joanna Shields, Facebook Vice President for
Europe, Middle East and Africa.

Eric Van der Kleij, Chief Executive of UKTI’s Tech City
Investment Organisation, said: ”Entrepreneurs are key to
economic growth. Tech City is home to some of the most exciting,
innovative start-ups in the tech and creative industries. We are
excited to be able to work with Virgin Unite and Facebook to share
this spirit between the UK and South Africa.”

London Stock Exchange Group CEO, Xavier Rolet, said, “Through
AIM, the London Stock Exchange’s market for smaller, growing
companies, we have helped over 3000 domestic and international
businesses to raise equity capital to support their future
development. We are therefore delighted to be involved in this
initiative to support African and UK entrepreneurship and to
facilitate greater access to expertise and funding.?” ?

Notes to Editor:

About Virgin Unite:

Virgin Unite is the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group.
We unite people to tackle tough social and environmental problems
in an entrepreneurial way. Our aim is to help revolutionize the way
business, governments and the social sector work together - driving
business as a force for good. This is based on the belief that this
is the only way we can tackle the scale and urgency of the
challenges facing the world today. Virgin Unite’s overheads are
covered by Sir Richard Branson and the Virgin Group, meaning that
100% of additional donations received go direct to the frontline
where they are needed most. For more information please visit href="">
 Follow us on Twitter href="">
Join the movement on Facebook href="">
The Branson Centre can be found at href="">

The Branson Centre of Entrepreneurship in Johannesburg was
established by Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite, the Virgin
Group’s non-profit foundation. It provides aspiring entrepreneurs
with business skills, access to mentors to share their experiences
and financing opportunities to enable growth. These entrepreneurs
are making a huge difference not only to their immediate families
and communities, but also to South Africa’s economic growth.

About Facebook:

Founded in February 2004, Facebook’s mission is to give people
the power to share and make the world more open and connected.
Anyone can sign up for Facebook and interact with the people they
know in a trusted environment. Facebook is a privately held company
and is headquartered in Palo Alto, Calif.

Facebook® is a registered trademark of Facebook Inc. Other names
may be trademarks of their respective owners.

About TechCity Investment

UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the Government Department
that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We
also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to
the UK’s economy- acknowledged as Europe’s best place from
which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and
contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK,
and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the
world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be
competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit
href="C:\Local Settings\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\TEMP\"> or telephone +44 (0)20 7215 8000. For
latest press releases, visit the online newsroom at href="">

You can also keep in touch with developments at UKTI through href="">,
and href="">

About London Stock Exchange Group:

London Stock Exchange Group (LSE.L) sits at the heart of the
world’s financial community. The Group operates a broad range of
international equity, bond and derivatives markets, including
London Stock Exchange; Borsa Italiana; MTS, Europe’s leading fixed
income market; and Turquoise, offering pan-European and US lit and
dark equity trading. Through its markets, the Group offers
international business unrivalled access to Europe’s capital

The Group is a leading developer of high performance trading
platforms and capital markets software and also offers its
customers around the world an extensive range of real-time and
reference data products and market-leading post-trade services.

Headquartered in London, United Kingdom with significant
operations in Italy and Sri Lanka, the Group employs around 1500
people. Further information on London Stock Exchange Group can be
found at href="">


Ellie Springett, Virgin Unite, +44(0)7780-855662, ellie.springett at ; Jodie Dalmeda, Virgin Unite, +44(0)7967-562862, jodie.dalmeda at

will not be displayed