Branson Centre to Help Kingston Unleash Creativity for New York Times Must-Visit-City Award — Joe Issa

St. Ann businessman Joe Issa, who is regarded as a creative genius for his many successful entrepreneurial endeavors, has said that the move by the Branson Centre for Entrepreneurship — the Caribbean from Montego Bay to Kingston, will unleash the creativity needed to help the metropolis live up to its New York Times award as a must-visit city in 2017.

Issa, a mentor for the Branson Centre, was in an interview reacting to the formal opening of their offices at the Sovereign Commercial Centre in Kingston.

The first centre was opened in South Africa in 2006, and it is based on its success that a second office was established in Montego Bay, Jamaica; and in the British Virgin Islands.

The shift now to Kingston is said to be in recognition that all the local patrons are based in Kingston, where it has a better chance of creating new opportunities with a revamped suite of services that include the provision of tools and high-tech services, both free and at a cost. The centre is also seeking to attract high-potential, high-impact, fundable entrepreneurs.

Issa and Sir Richard Branson are said to have much in common, not least is their creativity and business model, on which both men grew their fortunes, albeit on different scales — Issa, founder of the Cool Group of over 50 companies; and Sir Richard, founder of the Virgin Group of some 400 companies.

They also share a passion for business and attention to detail, including listening to their frontline staff and customers, in order to churn out perfect goods and services for public consumption.

The two are believed to have a charitable nature as philanthropists — Sir Richard giving back through Virgin Foundation and Issa, through Cool Charities; both outfits are subsidiaries of their group of companies.

In earlier times, while running the SuperClubs chain of hotel resorts, Issa was at the receiving end of passengers brought in by Sir Richard’s Virgin Airlines.

They both believe in tourism as a force for good, including its capacity to create employment and generate economic growth, as well as facilitate cultural exchange, which makes travelers more tolerant of cultures that are not their own.

Issa, whose tourism prowess is still being touted some 15 years after leaving the industry, had earlier been described as “chuffed” by New Your Times’ characterization of Kingston as a must-visit city this year.

“Coming from one of the most reputable newspapers in the world, it’s a great boost for individuals and businesses in the Kingston metropolitan area.

“We all know Kingston has flair…it’s a potpourri of style, fashion, food, music and entertainment…the center stage for Jamaican cultural expression and a repository of immense talent,” Issa said at the time.

Now, he believes that the creative potential to which he referred is more likely to be realized with the coming of the Branson Centre to Kingston.