Elle and I are patrons of the Trust and I’m part of the Alumni group who have come full circle and I recently discovered I’m the first member of the Alumni to give back – It goes without saying I’m incredibly proud to be part of the journey.
Talking about journeys – I’ve recently agreed to help the Prince’s Trust find and locate some of the successful folks who have received help in the past to grow the Alumni and to give back to the trust – I’m really excited to be involved.
I’m honoured to be a part of the Trust because it’s one of those organisations that really does a fantastic job in helping people at grass roots.
In 1990; six months into my first business I was struggling with my cash flow and needed to invest some capital; I turned to the bank manager and, well, you can guess the answer. Can you imagine an eighteen year-old in 1990 asking the bank manager for money? It was hard enough just opening a business account in the first place!
I think about this now and again when I’m asked to invest into a new digital start-ups in an evolving industry that seems to change weekly.
I’m not an traditional venture capitalist; I invest in people as well as the idea-businesses pivot and change so it’s critical you back people who can cope with getting their hands blistered not just the folks who think blue sky.
What this particular bank didn’t see was the opportunity to forge a business relationship with me for the rest of my career. They couldn’t see past my age, but the Prince’s Trust did.
Over the past 30 years I’ve built many businesses, sold two for north of $150m and employed hundreds and thousands of people and in turn, generated £100m+ for the British economy.
In 1990 at the age of 18; I received a loan of £5000.00 from the Trust and went on to create a business from a standing start which generated £56,000 in revenue during its first year, hitting £126,000 in year two when I hit the giddy heights of 19 years of age..!
I then went on to a 30-year career in business employing hundreds and thousands of people in organisations that I started or co-founded.
In addition to the loan I received some brilliant but not always welcome mentorship from a couple of great folks from the Trust. The tried desperately to help me and I owe them both huge thanks.
Mike ended up being my Best Man and John became a lifelong friend.
I’ve come full circle and I’m now available to the Trust for support and mentorship to those individuals who the bank – and others – have turned down.