If you’re a young mother who’s wondering about starting a new business then you may come up against two questions that seem huge:
- ¨ Where will I get the money to get started?
- ¨ Who’s going to help me with advice and support?
You can get answers by joining the thousands of other people who’ve been helped by the Prince’s Trust. For some odd reason, many people don’t know about the Trust and how it can give you that vital helping hand.
You’ll want to know whether you fit the Trust’s requirements: what does “young” mean? If you’re aged 18-30 and unemployed then the Trust’s door is open to you. And if you’re older, then don’t despair – more below. The Trust runs a Business Start-Up programme which aims to help young people to build a successful business. It does this by offering small start-up loans and (occasionally) grants and by actively advising and supporting the businesses it accepts. The money helps, of course, but it’s the advice and support that really make the difference.
Sadly, most start up businesses fail inside a year or so, for lots of reasons. However, 75% of the businesses supported by the Prince’s Trust survive that vital first year. This is because you get a personal mentor for two years if the Trust takes you on. That person is experienced, knowledgeable and genuinely interested in making you succeed so is available when you need help and advice. Mentors are often self-employed themselves, so they know all about the difficulties and how to survive them. They aren’t paid, but the Prince’s Trust tries to match you and your mentor and both people often get a lot out of the relationship.
Here’s how it works.
- ¨ Get in touch with the Prince’s Trust through http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/need_help/business_start-up.aspx
- ¨ They’ll help you with applications, which usually involve
- o Submitting an idea – perhaps getting advice on one
- o Getting help preparing a Business Plan
- o Getting a provisional mentor who’ll help
- o Submitting your plan to a local Prince’s Trust panel
- ¨ If the panel decides to help you, it can make a low-interest loan of up to £4000 (£5000 for a partnership) or sometimes a grant of up to £1500 if it thinks you’re a special case; or sometimes a grant of up to £250 so that you can do some test marketing
- ¨ Panels try very hard to be helpful and use their experience to decide whether they think your idea has a good chance of success.
- ¨ If you become a Prince’s Trust business then you get a personal mentor for two years and lots of help with marketing, accounting, legal issues and all the things you need to know.
And if you’re 31 or older, look at http://www.princes-trust.org.uk/need_help/the_business_programme/other_start-up_support.aspx
This article is from Sandy McMillan who helps people work out what to do. You’ll find him at www.careersolutions.co.uk