How youth charity The Prince’s Trust can support your new business venture

This charity offers help and support to young entrepreneurs

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme provides support to young people aged 18-30, unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week who have a business idea they would like to explore.

The programme can help young people to work out whether self-employment is the right option for them. The programme can support young people to plan and test their business ideas and provide, for those young people who prove themselves to be capable and their ideas to be viable support to start their business.

Prince’s Trust can also support young people to achieve other goals in education, training and work. The Enterprise Programme operates across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

Who is eligible?

Applicants must be within the stated age range, be unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week and have a business idea.  The Prince’s Trust aims to help those young people who are often overlooked by established business communities: ethnic minorities, young and ex-offenders, people with a disability and lone parents.

The Prince’s Trust is a lender of last resort and focuses its support on young people who have been unable to access funds and support from elsewhere.  The applicant must have a business idea that they would like help to explore and test in the market.

What does it offer?

Financial help

For those young people who really need it and prove their business idea to be viable, The Prince’s Trust offers start-up loans; up to £4,000 for a sole trader and up to £5,000 for a partnership. They are repayable at 3% per annum. In exceptional circumstances grants  of up to £1,500 can be available (dependant on local funding). Will it Work  grants, of up to £250, are also available to help applicants test whether their ideas will work.

Mentoring

For those young people who start businesses, business mentoring is available for up to 2 years.  For those who decide self-employment is not for them, 6 months progression mentoring is available to support them to move into education, training or work.

The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust

The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust offers similar support to young people aged 18-25 In Scotland.

The Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust gives loans of up to £5,000 and grants of up to £1,000. There is no automatic 6 months delay on repaying the loan but a delay can be negotiated. Expansion loans are available as long as the total of both loans does not exceed £5,000.

Both loans are repayable over 4 years maximum, unless under special circumstances, and are repayable at 4% per annum. Between £10,000-£30,000 equity finance is available under the Scottish Equity Finance for You scheme, for businesses that do very well and want to expand further using equity finance.

Both loans are repayable over 4 years maximum, unless under special circumstances, and are repayable at 4% per annum. Between £10,000-£30,000 equity finance is available under the Scottish Equity Finance for You scheme, for businesses that do very well and want to expand further using equity finance.

Business Support

Both trusts allocate the businesses they help a business mentor, usually a volunteer from the local business community. They donate about four hours monthly to advise the business, provide contacts and track their progress. The monitors submit a monthly report to the Trust that provides early warning if things are going wrong. Business support managers monitor the contact between the Trust and the mentors.

How does it work?

If you want funding, you must approach their local area office to talk about their proposal with the area manager. You must then prepare a business plan. The area manager can give help and advice with this and may even suggest taking a course.

The trusts can’t offer financial help towards courses but have good contacts and usually know of cheap or free local schemes. Once the plan is complete the area manager will visit you to discuss it further.

The next step is to present the plan to a local trust board, made up of volunteers from the local business community. The board takes the opportunity to talk to you and make sure you have the knowledge and commitment to see the plan through. The board then decides whether the loan should be awarded and the sum to be awarded. If you are successful, you will receive the loan and be assigned a mentor within a couple of weeks.

Does it work?

The Prince’s Trust has set up 40,000 businesses since it was set up in 1983 and 60% of these businesses are still going after 3 years.53% of these businesses have traded beyond three years.

Where to go for further help?

The phone number of the head office for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 020 7543 1234 and fax 020 7543 1200. The head office in Scotland can be contacted on 0141 204 4409 or by fax on 0141 221 8221. They can give details of local offices. Alternatively job centres have details of the trusts under training and self-employment options.

Alternatively, visit the Prince’s Trust website: www.princes-trust.org

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