Lotus Maternity

The Prince’s Trust launches new support for youth entrepreneurship in partnership with LDC

Youth charity The Prince’s Trust has today launched an extension of its Enterprise programme in partnership with LDC to help young entrepreneurs sustain and grow their businesses through the first three years of trading, recognising the important role they play in driving economic growth, fostering innovation and shaping the future of the UK economy.

The Prince’s Trust and LDC have worked together to design and develop Enterprise Advance; a comprehensive package of support designed to increase the help available to young entrepreneurs as they navigate the early years of running their business. It will launch in the Midlands before being rolled out across the UK over the coming months.

Enterprise Advance is an extension of the charity’s existing Enterprise programme, which supports young people from all walks of life, including disadvantaged communities across the country, to launch their own businesses by equipping them with the confidence, skills and funding they need to do so.

LDC, the private equity investor that is part of Lloyds Banking Group, first partnered with The Prince’s Trust in 2019 to support the Enterprise programme and has so far helped almost 4,000 young people to turn their dreams into reality.

However, while the majority of businesses launched through the Enterprise programme are still trading, focus groups with Trust-supported entrepreneurs who launched businesses in 2020/21 revealed that many felt they could unlock latent potential and better sustain the growth of their business if they had access to additional tools and support. Help with finding and managing customers, digital marketing and accessing finance were cited as three of the most common challenges young business leaders face.

Through Enterprise Advance, young entrepreneurs can access a designated mentor, structured business reviews to track progress against targets and ambition, workshops and networking opportunities.

It will help young entrepreneurs like Ruddington-based Olivia Swift. In 2019, Olivia launched her multi award-winning business, Lotus Maternity, which provides postnatal education, support and guidance to mothers and families. Olivia's business also offers postnatal programmes for organisations to support colleagues, managers and new parents returning to work following parental leave.

Olivia said: "The Prince's Trust has been with me throughout my entrepreneurial journey with Lotus Maternity. Sustaining my business and increasing the services I offer is crucial to its growth. Specialist support, networking and opportunities to access additional finance, all of which is offered as part of Enterprise Advance, is vital. It will make a real difference for many emerging businesses."

David Bains, Partner and Head of East Midlands and East of England at LDC, said: “Young entrepreneurs play a vital role in the economy, both here in the East Midlands and across the UK. It's crucial that we equip them with the necessary tools, skills and funding to grow and sustain their businesses. These individuals are driving innovation, progress and improvements in society, and they’re our next generation of business leaders.

“We have more than 40 years of experience in helping management teams across the UK to drive growth and realise their ambitions, and our partnership with The Prince's Trust extends that commitment to young entrepreneurs from different backgrounds. Together with The Prince’s Trust, we're creating a path for young business leaders that will empower them to contribute to the sustained growth of the UK economy.”

Jonathan Townsend, UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust, added: “Since launching our Enterprise programme in 1983, we’ve supported more than 91,000 young entrepreneurs to kickstart their own businesses and that’s something we’re incredibly proud of. Enterprise Advance takes the support we can offer even further - it’s a flexible, broad-ranging programme that will help young entrepreneurs to go on and grow their businesses in those crucial early years after launching.

“It wouldn’t have been possible without the support and expertise of LDC. They are one of our biggest supporters at The Prince’s Trust and together we’re excited to help more young entrepreneurs to maximise the potential of their businesses.”

Enterprise Advance is being funded through LDC’s multi-million-pound partnership with The Prince’s Trust and has been created with the support of an advisory board consisting of LDC’s employees over the last 12 months.

LDC is the leading supporter of The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and its partnership is designed to inspire the next generation of UK entrepreneurs. It has contributed towards a more diverse group of future business leaders, as a quarter of the young entrepreneurs supported to-date are from ethnic minority backgrounds and more than half are female.