One of the richest people in the UK, with a net worth estimated at more than £3bn, Richard Branson is known for his adventurous exploits, including circumnavigating the world in a hot air balloon.

Today, Richard Branson is a figurehead for Virgin Media’s telecoms business in Ireland and the UK, which is owned by Liberty Global. He holds a 10pc stake in the business.

He also has a deep interest in space travel and set up Virgin Galactic, the space tourism business behind SpaceShipOne.

Branson said that these days, his personal attention is still on solving real-world problems. In particular, he supports not-for-profit firms that are solving problems ranging from climate change to drug issues in disadvantaged communities.

Speaking to Virgin Media staff and Voom participants, Branson gave his best tips for business success, including how important it is to treat people decently: “The best companies are companies where the managing director of the company has as much respect for the lady who is cleaning the loos as they would a fellow director, and who knows the name of that person and treats them with decency.”

Virgin Media’s UK and Ireland Voom start-up competition – with prizes worth €1.2m – will return in March 2018.

Words by John Kennedy