VIRGIN founder Sir Richard Branson has been announced as keynote speaker at this year’s Scottish Business Awards.
Sir Richard is the latest high-profile figure to headline the awards, following appearances by former US president Bill Clinton and Sir Bob Geldof.
Event organiser Josh Littlejohn, who also owns the socially conscious sandwich shops Social Bite in Shandwick Place and Rose Street, said: “It was a tough task to arrange someone to follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, but with the help of our sponsors, Virgin Money, we have been able to do just that.
“Sir Richard Branson is a great fit with these awards in every respect. He’s one of the biggest names in business and he’s also very proactive in making positive change, especially through the Virgin Unite foundation.”
At the awards, which will be presented by comedian Michael McIntyre, Sir Richard will take part in a Q&A discussion of social and responsible business behaviour hosted by ITV news anchor Alastair Stewart, who will be quizzing him on how business can be a force for good and still produce profit when conducted in an ethical manner.
“I chaired the Q&A on the last couple of occasions,” said Mr Littlejohn, “but we felt that Alastair would take things to another level, and bring a bit more gravitas to the event. We’re really looking forward to seeing Michael McIntyre in action as host, too.”
There will also be a charity auction held at the event, where the 1600 attendees from the business community will attempt to outbid each other for some very exclusive prizes.
Mr Littlejohn added: “I am also really excited about the possibility of breaking through the £1 million fundraising target in just three years of the Scottish Business Awards. We have some superb charity auction prizes and we hope that the funds raised will do further good here in Scotland and across the world.”
Long-term awards supporter and judge Sir Tom Farmer, the Leith-born entrepreneur who founded Kwik-Fit, encouraged more people from the business world to get involved with the event before the deadline for entries on March 14.
Sir Tom said: “The Scottish Business Awards are the biggest and best, and this year’s will be brilliant. Sir Richard Branson in an open conversation? Say no more, just get involved.”