As you may know, I am no stranger to the media and am well known in some parts of the world. I was the first to receive a loan from the micro lending program started by Virgin founder, Sir Richard Branson (“Richie” as I call my friend) and Google founder, Larry Page (along with his wife Lucy Page). I used the loan to start my business, Sea It Clear Glass Bottom Boat, and the name Gumption has become not just a household name, but an inspiration to others.
Respect is like a sheet of paper: once it is crushed, it’s hard to make it perfect again. A man’s word is very important; it paves the way for the future. I was honored with the chance to share my idea with Richard, and told him “I will pay you back”; those are very important words to me. Rather than fail to keep my word like many others, I decided that wouldn’t be my story.
On the nineteenth of October, 2012, my life took a new turn. My thirteen year dream would become a reality. I receive the loan to buy a glass bottom boat. I had two goals: pay it back as fast as I could and make Richard and me proud. I thought about how many people may have taken advantage of Richard because he’s a billionaire and to me that was wrong. I was going to be one of the few who kept their word because all a man really has is his word.
By working hard and following a few simple tips that I learned from Richard, I was able to repay the loan just six months after being in business on the thirtieth of April, 2013. It worked out perfectly, and all I did was use these tips and work hard every day on my business. I kept my word, remained truthful, took some risks, but with faith and the support of many family and friends, it all resulted in a mind blowing adventure.
In 2014, as a young entrepreneur from the British Virgin Island, I have the full support of Sir Richard Branson & the team at Virgin. That is my reward for keeping my word and being truthful to not only myself, but to Richard and others. Today I don’t just have one, but TEN wonderful, inspirational blogs posted on Virgin.com.
One of my goals one day is to put in solid years of working with Virgin Unite or maybe one day in the Future a member of Virgin Unite Caribbean. I am fully aware that all of the things I do naturally is Virgin Unite, Its not confusing, Once you stand up for the earth & stand up for what’s right, automatically your become apart of the team & that means we are family. Virgin Unite is a mentality.
Virgin to me have many meaning describing the brand it self. Having the opportunity to have a job with a company that is fill with experience,knowledge given employees the chance to move on unto other parts of Virgin or with their own adventure. To me Virgin stands for *hope*opportunity & not given up.
Richard Branson to me is very down to earth & as I always would say. Take away his bank account & Virgin, Richard as a husband to one a father of two & friend to many is a very cool person & not because of his status people should take advantage of. Years ago a woman in a small village in Africa ask Richard for $300 to buy a sewing machine & promise to pay him back in 3 months. Richard ended back to the village in about 3 to 4 months after for work & the friends of the lady who was now employment of that small loan bring Richard a beautiful robe that the lady had made for him & give him his $300.00 back.
It doesn’t matter how often a person gets a paycheck or how much money a person may have, if they lend you money with an agreement of paying it back, then you should do just that. You never know the rewards you might get that will change your life if you just keep your word. After all respect is the highest reward you can ever earn.
I have learned a lot over the last few months & still very young & growing as a person & entrepreneur. I’m the future of tomorrow & the present of today, I’m not a High school graduate but I’m happy that I was accepted in the university of Sir Richard Branson where I’m studying entrepreneurship & when I do graduate & that I will do, I will be a perfect example for many others & building self esteem. Thanks Richard for the opportunity.