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Alpha Boys' School makes successful Branson pitch

Published:Friday | November 29, 2013 | 12:00 AM
Chief executive officer of the Virgin Group, which established the Branson Entrepreneurship Centre in Montego Bay, Jamaica, Sir Richard Branson (second right), hugs the top three contenders in the Pitch to Rich competition staged as part of activities to celebrate the second anniversary of the centre. The three are (from left) Victoria Silvera - Touch by VLS (left), Michelle Jones - Vibes Cuisine (second left), and Joshua Chamberlain - Alpha Wear JA (right), winners of the competition. - Contributed

Alpha Boys' School received first place in the Pitch To Rich competition at the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship - Caribbean (BCoEC) earlier this month. Alpha's clothing line, Alpha Wear JA, Touch By VLS and Vibes Cuisine were selected to pitch to Sir Richard Branson as part of Branson's visit to Jamaica and the business incubator he established in his name.

Alpha Wear JA and its fellow competitors have successfully completed the Branson Centre's entrepreneurship training programme and were selected to 'Pitch to Rich' based on demos submitted by video.

As winner of the competition, Alpha Wear JA will be featured on Virgin Unite's website. In addition, each of the three entrepreneurs who participated in the pitch competition will be the first to have access to a new loan programme through the BCoEC.

Joshua Chamberlain, who completed the BCoEC's programme just the week before, made the pitch on behalf of Alpha Wear JA to Virgin Group founder Branson, and his son, Sam, in front of an audience of about 100 people. These included BCoEC board members and staff, fellow BCoEC entrepreneurs, and members of the local media.

"The Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship is a critical resource for business development, personal development and, in Alpha's case, the sustainability of Alpha Boys' School," said Chamberlain. "Alpha has a history of entrepreneurship without really calling it as such. The Branson Centre has helped Alpha staff and students to tap into their existing entrepreneurial values and interests.

reassurance

"The response from Richard Branson and his colleagues, as well as the business owners I've met and worked with through the Branson Centre, demonstrates not only how important the centre itself is, but has also provided reassurance that the school is on the right path," he added.

Alpha Wear JA is a clothing line created by Alpha Boys' School to support the school's sustainability efforts. It currently consists of two T-shirt designs by Michael Thompson (co-founder International Reggae Poster Contest) and will soon extend to tote bags and polo shirts. Alpha boys, who screen print the shirts, are trained at the Jamaica Business Development Corporation. The shirts are available at retail stores in Jamaica (Alpha Boys' School, BASE Kingston, National Gallery of Jamaica, Rockhouse Negril), New York City (Miss Lily's), Japan (Extra Classic), and on OkayPlayer.com.

The vision of Alpha Wear JA is to create socially responsible opportunities for people worldwide to be connected with Jamaica's amazing culture, empower the most vulnerable in Jamaica, and inspire the world by their story.