Scottish entrepreneur and philanthropist Tony Banks has joined Sir Richard Branson at his Centre of Entrepreneurship in South Africa this week to share valuable experiences and mentor budding young business people.
Forfar-based Tony, a Falklands veteran who founded leading care provider Balhousie Care Group in 1991, is one of several global entrepreneurs making the trip.
The visit has been organised by Virgin Unite, the non-profit foundation of the Virgin Group, which aims to unite people to tackle tough social and environmental problems in an entrepreneurial way.
Tony was inspired by the foundation’s aim to help revolutionise the way businesses, governments and the social sector work together, and drive business as a force for good – a message which is reinforced in Sir Richard Branson’s new book, Screw Business As Usual.
The visit will see Tony become a member of Virgin Unite 24902 – named after the number of miles around the Earth’s circumference – a community of people who bring their experience, connections and resources to make lasting changes and work alongside the foundation to create impact on world issues
He said: “I have always admired Sir Richard Branson and the ethos of a global group of businesses like Virgin, who are hugely influential and can play a vital role in creating solutions, but I am also very interested in the business messages in his book, Screw Business As Usual. The book is aimed at people who want to develop a business and make a living, but also do more to help people and the planet. It looks at Sir Richard’s Capitalism 24902 philosophy, the need for a global change from profit to focusing on communities, the planet and caring for people - which is obviously extremely close to my heart as that’s what my own business is founded on.
“Balhousie Care Group has made donations to charity but I am keen to look deeper at the best way of delivering CSR projects for both the company and the charity, and as a means of engaging staff and boosting morale while also making sure the support is sustainable and not just a one-off sum of cash. I believe we need to encourage more of an entrepreneurial spirit in order for businesses to thrive in Scotland and am excited about the lessons we will learn from this inspirational trip.”