This morning Sage CEO Stephen Kelly kicked off the first official day of Sage Summit 2016 by welcoming more than 20,000 entrepreneurs and small and medium-sized business owners with a lively drumline performance at Chicago’s McCormick Place. Kelly encouraged attendees to find inspirations during the four-day conference that will help move their businesses forward.
“Your companies are powering the global economy,” said Sage CEO Stephen Kelly. “Our goal is to ignite your passion so that you go back to your business and pursue your dreams.”
Sage Summit 2016 is the largest gathering of entrepreneurs in the world. Attendees came together this morning to hear Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group, and Sage CEO Stephen Kelly give an inspirational keynote about the power of being an entrepreneur.
Branson and Kelly both discussed how their parents inspired them to become entrepreneurs. Branson reflected on how his mother, a small business owner, has been his biggest role model.
“I never thought of being an entrepreneur,” said Sir Richard Branson, Founder of Virgin Group.
Branson started his first business at age 16 as a magazine publisher.
“I saw a crying need for something, and I wanted to help,” said Branson.
Branson encouraged attendees to take a leap of faith and take on obstacles they may face during the journey of entrepreneurship.
“If you can take on the goliaths in business and differentiate yourself with a good product, you can succeed.”
Branson also talked about the importance of finding work-life balance in your career and making your business a customer-centric organization.
“Entrepreneurs should find somebody as good or better than them, so you can focus on the big picture and spend time with your family.”
Branson has been married for 40 years and has three children and grandkids.
Both Kelly and Branson challenged attendees to give back to the local and global communities they live in.
“If each small business helps solve one problem in the community, the world’s problems can be solved.”
Stephen Kelly touched on the Sage Foundation, where Sage employees give two percent of their time and commit to over 100,000 hours of community service. Branson also discussed Virgin’s commit to solving global problems with the Virgin Unite Program.
Branson closed out the keynote encouraging attendees to infuse their companies with more love and praise.
“Look for the best in people, and they will blossom.”