SIR Richard Branson is following in the footsteps of President Bill Clinton and Sir Bob Geldof as the keynote speaker at a key Scottish business dinner.

The Virgin boss will address up to 2000 people at the Scottish Business Awards (SBA) which are being hosted by ITV news presenter Alastair Stewart. His inclusion at the event at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre on May 12 is seen as a tremendous coup for the organisers.

The SBA this year will be sponsored by Virgin Money, one of the entrepreneur's brands.

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Jayne-Anne Gadhia, CEO of Virgin Money and Chair of Scottish Business in the Community, said: "It is a rare opportunity to have him here in person, and this is a great opportunity for business people in Scotland to hear his views on business as a force for good - and to hear his exciting plans for the future of the Virgin Group."

Sir Richard Branson follows a prestigious list of SBA guest speakers including President Bill Clinton and Sir Bob Geldof.

The SBA is the nation's largest business dinner and the brainchild of businessman Josh Littlejohn, who runs the Social Bite sandwich shops in Glasgow and Edinburgh, which employ homeless people.

"It was a tough task to arrange someone to follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton," said Mr Littlejohn. "But with the help of Virgin Money we have been able to do just that. Sir Richard Branson is a great fit with these awards in every respect."

He added: "I am also really excited about the possibility of breaking through the £1 million fundraising target in just three years of the Scottish Business Awards. We have some superb charity auction prizes."

SBA Chair, Sir Tom Hunter, said: "The Scottish Business Awards are the biggest and best, and this year's will be brilliant. Sir Richard Branson in an open conversation. Say no more, just get involved."

l Tables at the Scottish Business Awards are on sale now. Visit