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29 August, 2011 - 10:42 By News Desk

Prince’s Trust fights to avoid ‘wipe-out’ of young talent

Doug Richard backing Prince's Trust campaign

Transatlantic entrepreneur Doug Richard has warned that the aftermath of recession could wipe out a whole generation of young talent with a bitter backlash for the UK economy.

The former Dragon’s Den guru is backing a fund-raising drive by The Prince’s Trust to pluck the next generation of entrepreneurs out of the economic rubble. Richard and The Trust have appealed to East of England entrepreneurs to support the new campaign.

They cite the inspirational example of Craig Fox, who joined the programme from the Cambridge dole queue, set up a technology events management business and has now started a recruitment drive to take his workshops worldwide – starting with California next February.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme helps thousands of young people into jobs and training as well as backing business start-ups through financial support and business mentoring. The new scheme could add up to £3.4 million to the region’s economy over the next three-years according to recent research.

One in six young people in the East of England are said to be struggling to find a job and Richard warned: “We are already in danger of losing a whole generation of young people from the UK economy. A report issued by The Prince’s Trust, shows that youth unemployment in the East of England could cost up to £12 million a week.

“We cannot let the aftermath of recession wipe out our young talent. Young entrepreneurs are hugely important to continue the region’s economic recovery. They are future job creators, bringing creativity to the country.

“From Richard Branson to Michelle Mone, Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs started their first businesses in their early twenties – or even before. We must invest in this young talent – or risk losing some of the most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs of the future.

“So many young people are exceptionally enterprising but are all too often viewed negatively; as no-hopers. The reality is that the vast majority of these young people want to work or start their own business but lack the support they need.”

The Prince’s Trust has already helped more than 77,000 young people set up in business since 1983. Many of them set up small firms in poor areas, creating jobs where there are none.

This year The Prince’s Trust needs £50 million to ensure they can continue to help the UK’s most disadvantaged young people move forward with their lives and Richard said: “Business leaders need to step forward and pass their experience onto the next generation of entrepreneurs.”

More than three in four young people helped by The Prince’s Trust move into work, training or education.

Craig Fox was unemployed for more than a year after being made redundant but set up his own business earlier this year with help from The Prince’s Trust. Losing his job was a massive blow to his self-esteem and left him struggling financially. He applied for job after job but never heard back.

The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme gave him the motivation to explore his idea further and he was thrilled when after drawing up his business plan, the Trust loaned him £4,000 to set up Flawless Productions, a technology events management business.

He was also allocated a long-term business mentor, Ray Morley, who not only offered practical advice and support but also boosting his self-esteem to make the business work.

The demand for Fox’s expertise is now so wide that he is looking to employ people across the world so he can begin holding his workshops globally – starting in California in February 2012. Help from The Trust literally turned his life around.

The Trust now needs more support from local business leaders and entrepreneurs to make sure that it can support thousands more young people into jobs and enterprise.

• For more information on how to support The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme please contact Charlie Baxter on 07717 511 140 or email Charlie.baxter [at] princes-trust.org.uk

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