How to get funding for your business with The Prince’s Trust

The Prince's Trust could give you with a useful mix of funding and mentoring as well as getting to grips with cashflow forecasting.

If you’ve got a great business idea but are finding out the hard way that it can be a royal pain to get funding, The Prince’s Trust could be the answer.

The Trust’s enterprise programme has been running for four decades and is open to 18 to 30-year-olds who are unemployed or working fewer than 16 hours a week. In addition to business training schemes which tackles topics like marketing, planning and tax, the programme provides funding of up to £7,500 (through the government-funded Start-Up Loan Company) along with support for your business idea. You can pay the loan back within one-five years and can make extra early payments with no early repayment charges.

Prince’s Trust programmes start with a free information session where they can tell you how your venture can be supported. You’ll then attend a two to four-day workshop where you’ll receive mentorship and resources before the chance to apply for a loan.

A year to work through business idea

Sophie Beesley, head of the Business Programme says, ‘We’re very flexible about the time it takes to develop a viable business idea. There’s basically a window of 12 months to work the idea through (before you can secure funding). Although, if someone came to us with, for example, a lot of plumbing experience and wanted to set up their own plumbing company, they could get a loan in as little as three to four weeks.’

Loans and funding available

Simon Prynn used a £1,000 loan from The Prince’s Trust to set up his own drum classes and says the funding and support he received changed his life. ‘I was so sick of having jobs I didn’t like and going back to college wasn’t for me. This was something I knew I could succeed in doing,’ he says.

‘I think the key thing the Trust is looking for is commitment and passion to go that extra mile. My advice to anyone with a business idea is: go for it! Everyone told me I couldn’t do it, even my mum and dad, but The Prince’s Trust helped to prove them wrong. Before I was just drifting, now I have purpose and direction.’

The Printed Bag Shop

Managing director of the Printed Bag Shop, Craig Smith
Managing director of the Printed Bag Shop, Craig Smith

Craig Smith and his partner Lisa Kennedy received a £3,000 loan from the Trust to start their business, The Printed Bag Shop, after they were made redundant. The company has since gone on to win several awards.

Smith says, ‘It’s hard work being self-employed because you can feel quite lonely, but they’ve really helped. We have since got further loans, but we wouldn’t have been in a position to get them without the help the Trust initially provided.’

“The business has supplied the likes of The Royal Bank of Scotland and Coca-Cola, and managed to hit £1 million in revenue this year for the first time”

‘We are over the moon with the success of the company, mostly because it means we are providing a better future for our daughter, Ellie. Not only in terms of money, but I also hope we can encourage her to have a “can do” attitude throughout life,’ adds Smith.

The typical amount of funding businesses usually receive from the Trust is £2,500. Interest on the loan is six per cent and the repayment scheme requires that you only pay £20 for the first six months with the remainder spread out over a period of two to five years.

‘Because it’s such a comprehensive programme we need around £1 million a month and are always looking for donations,’ adds Beesley.

Next steps

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Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke

Dom Walbanke is a feature writer for Growth Business and Small Business, focused on matters concerning start-ups and scale-ups. He has also been published in the Independent, FourFourTwo magazine and various...

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