Hello! Hope all is well.
Today I would like to talk about my experience with The Princes Trust and how the Enterprise Scheme has supported my small business. This blog post will walk you through my journey step-by-step... It is not a scary experience and is something I would definitely recommend to any small business owner reading this!
I first heard of the Princes Trust when I was a teenager, it was always something I associated with adventure weekends and kayaking in waterproofs in the pissing down rain. It wasn’t until I was leaving University that I found out they offered business support to small start-ups. In June 2019 I filled in the online application form for The Princes Trust Enterprise Program and was given a follow up meeting shortly afterwards. The meeting was a casual chat about my business ideas, product ranges and to determine what stage I was at. Don’t let this put you off – You do not have to be up and running to get access to this scheme – You may just have a business idea!
A few weeks later I was taking part in stage 2 which was a 4-day training workshop. It was great to hear everyone’s introductions and there was a wide range of business ideas from product-based businesses like mine, to wedding planners, musicians and chefs. The workshop was packed full of a range of topics including –
- Business Planning (Market Research, Price Points, Product Types)
- The importance of branding and marketing
- Business Finances (How to register as a business, Profit Margins, How to do a tax return)
- Personal Finances (Income Tax, Budgeting)
- How to create an elevator pitch
To be honest I already had knowledge on most of these areas due to my degree in Promotion – In fact I had already covered most of the areas while creating my brand as part of a University project. I had also already started test-trading and experienced a lot in a short amount of time! However, I would still recommend taking part in this as it was a great refresher, this workshop is aimed to help create a foundation and the topics covered are so important when you are just starting a business.
After taking part in the workshop I then had to create a business plan, it sounds scary but I promise you it’s not. A lot of the information needed was taught in the workshop and you have a great information booklet along with a member of staff to proof read it. The great thing about this part of the process is that there is plenty of time to get it completed – so if you are working full/part time or have other commitments such as children you can go at your own pace.
During this process you will also have the opportunity to apply for funding in the form of a ‘Will it work grant’ – a small amount of funding that allows you to test an idea, this could be a product, marketing technique or form of advertising. This may also sound scary but it’s not and you do not have to pay the money back. I used my funding to purchase some new materials and trial out a new product type.
The final stage of the Princes Trust Enterprise Scheme is Launch Group. The chance to pitch your business to small group of people… you may be imagining Dragons Den, going up in the lift and spending 30 mins sweating and blubbering, trying to do all the numbers in your head. You could NOT be more wrong! For me, it was a small room of 3 friendly people, one of which worked for The Prince Trust. Their job is not to interrogate you but to ensure your idea is viable and sustainable. It’s designed to be a positive experience – and to ensure there are no weak points in your plan. Throughout university I have had to take part in many presentations and luckily, I have found a way of presenting that works for me. I still get nervous but I am so passionate about my business that it still shines through despite any nerves. To make it successful you need to familiarise yourself with your business plan, be prepared with notes in case you need them and have some products to show.
At this stage there are also additional finance grants available to help you with the start-up! So definitely apply for those too if you can. I used my grant to purchase a Cricut Maker Machine and accessories which will help me to create my products much more quickly and efficiently as well as allowing me to experiment with more products in the future.
Once you have completed the Enterprise Programme you will be assigned a 1-1 business advisor who can offer advice, guidance and recommendations tailored specifically to your business. For me, it has been so helpful to have someone to talk to who understands my area and the difficulties of starting a business. It also holds me accountable and helps keep me on track. Completing the Princes Trust Enterprise Scheme will also allow you to access to events such as webinars, Princes Trust design competitions and low-interest business loans.
If you are wanting to start a small business (or even if you already own one) I would definitely recommend getting in touch with The Princes Trust to see if they can help you. They have definitely contributed to my business journey in a positive way and my 1-1 business advisor is still continuing to do so.
I hope that I get to work with the Princes Trust a lot more in the future. Maybe one day I will be able to thank them – helping people the way they have helped me. You can find out more about the Princes Trust Enterprise Scheme here –