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Richard Branson

by Academy of Achievement

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Sir Richard Branson is the Founder and Chairman of the Virgin Group of Companies, a global publishing, aviation and entertainment conglomerate of over 400 companies based in London, England. He started his empire and $4 billion personal fortune from scratch when he was 15 years old. Branson built his business during one of Britain's darkest economic hours. His first successful venture was a magazine called "Student." In 1970, he set up an audio record mail-order business. In 1972, he opened a chain of record stores, Virgin Records, later known as Virgin Megastores. He started his record business from the crypt of a church where he ran The Student. Branson advertised popular records in The Student Magazine and it was over-night success. He eventually opened a record shop in Oxford Street in London. Branson's Virgin brand grew rapidly during the 1980s – as he established Virgin Atlantic Airways and expanded the Virgin Records music label. He became an international celebrity when co-piloted the largest hot-air balloon ever built on an historic transatlantic voyage. This "multi-billionaire turned folk hero" has been selected for many years by British youth as one of the most admired individuals in the world. Sir Richard Branson participated in the 1992 Achievement Summit in Las Vegas and responded to questions from the Academy of Achievement student delegates.

Richard Branson
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