Richard Branson is an entrepreneur and author and Chair of Virgin Group, which now comprises 200 companies in diverse areas, from travel and tourism to finance and health. Virgin Green Fund invests in renewable energy and resource efficiency.
Richard Branson founded Virgin in 1970 as a mail order record retailer, and shortly afterwards opened a record shop in Oxford Street, London. With around 200 companies in over 30 countries, the Virgin Group has now expanded into leisure, travel, tourism, mobile, broadband, TV, radio, music festivals, finance and health and through Virgin Green Fund is investing in renewable energy and resource efficiency.
In 2007, Richard launched the Virgin Earth Challenge – a $25 million prize to encourage a viable technology which will result in the net removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases. In July of the same year Richard joined Nelson Mandela, Graça Machel, Desmond Tutu and Peter Gabriel to announce the formation of The Elders, a group of leaders to contribute their wisdom, independent leadership and integrity to tackle some of the world’s toughest problems.
Richard also supports the work of Virgin Unite, the not-for-profit entrepreneurial foundation, which continues to focus on entrepreneurial approaches to social and environmental issues. Richard was knighted in 1999 for “services to entrepreneurship” and presented as a millennium icon.