Yesterday I stood up in front of a room full of 70 people in Moorgate and told them all about my journey from advertising, into running my own business, with all the highs and lows. It was terrifying and thrilling in equal measure, and afterwards I felt elated, and excited about things to come.
But why was I subjecting myself to this, on a Thursday afternoon? The answer is that I was recently selected as one of the ‘success stories’ of the Prince’s Trust’s Enterprise programme, and have now taken on an 18 month role as a Voluntary Young Ambassador.
Many of you will know that my journey with the Trust began in early 2012 when I applied for the Enterprise Programme – a year long initiative to encourage under 30’s to set up their own business. Between 2012 and 2013 I worked with the Prince’s Trust’s fantastic team of staff and mentors to hone my business idea, construct a business plan, create a brand, a website and thoroughly test my market.
To me the best thing about the programme is that it’s not a ‘quick fix’ route by any means. In fact my business idea was pushed to its limits and, faced by a tough marketplace, I eventually changed my whole business idea from photography to branding. In 2013 I rebranded the business, dropped all photography services, got ‘passed’ by the Trust’s business panel and have never looked back.
Those who know me know that I am always sharing how helpful the Trust were to me, and encouraging others to ‘feel the fear but do it anyway’ when it came to a business idea. I now consider myself an entrepreneur, and it’s one of the reasons I can identify best with small businesses that need branding, but I certainly didn’t always feel that way; and that is one of the main reasons I wanted to become a Young Ambassador.
The role of a Young Ambassador is to inspire – both young people who themselves may lack direction in life, and to talk to corporate partners to encourage financial support so that the Trust can keep providing these programmes to young people. Last year Young Ambassadors secured £2m for the Prince’s Trust. Put into context, that is 4 times the amount that Will.I.Am so generously donated in 2012. As one of 13 Ambassadors in London, I’m excited to see if we can match that, but more importantly, inspire those who are stuck in a situation, that they can take control of their future.