British Entrepreneurship alive and thriving on the Fast Track

Entrepreneurs are the job creators and innovators of the future who possess the ability to drive positive change and transform the way we do business.

It was so wonderful to host the Sunday Times Virgin Atlantic Fast Track 100 and celebrate the achievements of Britain’s top entrepreneurs.

Fast Track is a fantastic company that supports UK entrepreneurs and private companies through research and networking events. I’ve grown up around Fast Track as Virgin has supported the initiative since day one and it’s been going for 22 years now.

The world has changed a lot since the first Fast Track but one thing has remained consistent: the quality, innovation and passion of the businesses featured on the list.

Year after year, it is exciting to see the incredible progress being made in the sphere of entrepreneurship and private business in our country. Yesterday was no exception. 

I’ve attended many of these events and I always love the buzz that comes with being surrounded by entrepreneurs who genuinely enjoy what they do and strive to grow, not only their own businesses, but the UK economy as a whole.

These inspiring entrepreneurs and private business owners gather together to network, share their war stories, gain insight from some of the best in business and, of course, celebrate their success.

In the last 3 years the combined sales of this year’s top 100 have increased from £620 million in 2014-2015 to a staggering £3.1 billion. They also added 12,000 jobs in the same period bringing their combined workforce to almost 17,000. Now that is a number to be celebrated!  

Holly Branson at Fast Track 100 2019

This year, the event was focused on the importance of, and differences between, Generation Z and Millennials in the workplace and as consumers. 

I’m passionate about education and helping young people thrive in life beyond the school gates so it was fascinating to discuss how to engage with these younger generations in business too.

According to my incredible friend, author and Gen Z guru, David Stillman, entrepreneurship is in Generation Z’s DNA.

One of my favourite moments of the day was sharing the stage for a Q&A with Virgin’s Chief Communications Officer Nick Fox and Dad via satellite.  

Holly and Richard Branson at Fast Track 100 2019

We discussed everything from shared parental leave, the art of delegation, clean energy dividends, dyslexia, the future of education, carbon-absorbing cement and embedding purpose in business.

I always love sharing a stage with Dad - even remotely! Working for the same company, sharing the same passion and the belief that business should be a force for good always makes for a fun and lively discussion. This is especially true when Dad – always one to delegate – throws me some of the trickier questions!

The belief that business should be used as a force for good is an ethos that drives us at Virgin and it was brilliant to see it reverberated throughout the Fast Track marquee yesterday. I’m looking forward to see what next year has in store.

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