British entrepreneur Richard Branson will open 10 new clubs and invest in South Africa.
British mogul Sir Richard Branson has pledged to invest R1 billion in South Africa’s Virgin Active clubs. There are currently 98 Virgin branded gyms in the country, some of which will be upgraded, and 10 more clubs will be opened. Branson, who is visiting South Africa to unveil the Virgin Active gym in Maponya mall, Soweto, heralded the clubs a great success.“It’s one of the great success stories in Africa and SA, 98 clubs – why couldn’t it be 100 clubs? I think I’ll come back when the 100th club opens,” said Branson. “We have 10 clubs opening, which is the most we’ve ever had. We will be spending a billion rand over the next twelve months upgrading the current clubs and building new ones. I think as far as Virgin Active is concerned there will be a lot of expansions,” he said. Branson said that it was vital to keep investing, despite a turbulent economic period. “There are always unexpected challenges in business – for example, 9/11 had a hugely negative impact on my airline business and I lost 300 million dollars in a month. There are still opportunities even in difficult times and businesses need to get on their feet and create employment; they can’t depend on government to do it. “Despite the economic crisis we won’t stop investing, that is essential I think. Businesses need to play their part in getting the economy back on track.”