Holly Branson, the daughter of Sir Richard Branson, chaired a roundtable organised by venture capitalist Mustard Seed

By Ian Horswill


Posted on October 14, 2019

Holly Branson, the daughter and eldest child of Sir Richard Branson, has shared tips for building a responsible business from seven successful women.

Holly Branson, a doctor, philanthropist, executive at Virgin Group and Virgin Unite and mother of three, hosted the first female foundation roundtable by Mustard Seed (an impact Venture Capital firm in the UK). Among the businesses, before 150 members of the public, were Jennifer Rohn, a top scientist from AtoCap, Nicky Lynch, from sustainable luxury fashion brand Beulah, Laura Lambert, founder of luxury jewellery Fenton & Co and Sarah Hesz, co-founder of Mush, an app for new mums.

Here are Holly Branson’s best tips from the event on building a responsible business

  • When pitching your business, tweak your messaging to appeal to each individual investor. Are they more interested in the market proposition, the philanthropy of the project or do they have a personal connection to the problem you’re trying to solve? Develop your pitch accordingly.
  • Find ways to highlight the big-picture, societal issue that your business is addressing without losing the consumer message or the need for a top-notch, high-quality product. If you want to scale, it needs to be consumer-led.
  • In the digital age, don’t underestimate the importance of building connections, communities and creating genuine dialogue with your customers. This should always be at the forefront of the picture and your channels of commerce and communications should come second.
  • Back yourself and don’t be embarrassed when it comes to fundraising. Remember that investing is an opportunity for people to get involved in your brilliant idea, not a charitable act or donation. All of the women agreed this was a big learning lesson. As Sarah from Mush (a digital community for new mums) wondered out loud, would a panel of men have experienced this sort of apprehension or self-doubt?
  • When you need to articulate some of the more complicated elements of your business to a stakeholder, ask yourself – how would you explain it to your parents or children? It’s important to engage with people based on their level of involvement if you want to spark genuine interest.
  • Holly Branson has four-year-old twins with husband Simon Andrews and recently gave birth to a girl, Lola Snow.

    Holly Branson Simon Andrews Lola Snow