London businessman plans Bombay Social Club
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Virgin Atlantic boss Richard Branson has helped a London businessman launch a social enterprise restaurant in India.
The Bombay Social Club is the brainchild of Ed Francis and will involve training 25 young people at a time in Mumbai as chefs.
The 29-year-old is among five entrepreneurs who were chosen to go to India on a four-day business trip as part of a competition run by the Virgin Media Pioneers programme, which was set up two years ago to offer a free exchange of business ideas and tips.
"They have literally done everything for me in terms of a business plan, and the expertise they have brought to the table has been invaluable.
"I love India and I had been looking for a way to live there when, about six months ago, I decided to combine both my passion and professional interests," he told the Evening Standard.
The trainees of the Bombay Social Club, who were once street children, will receive vocational training, English lessons and a placement in an approved hotel or restaurant when they graduate.
"It is still a business and will still make money, but it does have a very strong social element," added Francis.
His Indian enterprise will be run with local non-government groups and the Hope Foundation charity.
Sir Richard said: "The UK is full of gifted and enterprising people so we must help encourage them to fulfil their potential and prevent a lost generation of talent." ]