Prince’s Trust Charity
Tonight in the UK, a special interview called 40 Years of The Prince’s Trust will be shown by ITV about The Prince’s Trust Charity. It features Prince William and Prince Harry talking about a charity their father, Prince Charles, started 40 years ago. It is a charity that is close to our hearts as it helped us get started in the photography business back in 1995.
For those of you that are unaware, The Prince’s Trust was started by Prince Charles in 1976. It was to give the underprivileged youth, business resources that would not normally be available to them. Loans, grants, premises and most importantly guidance. I can personally vouch for this charity and the work that it does. The Prince’s Trust helped me in so many ways and I am forever grateful
The Start of Nick Adams Photography
After going away to work as a ships photographer with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines I returned to England with my girlfriend and future wife, Lori. I was in the process of starting a photography business, more out of necessity than want. Photography jobs were few and far between at that point in England. Lori could not work as she only had a one year visitors visa, so she helped as much as she could. Whilst I was not actively looking for help to start the business knowing what I know now, I certainly could have used it. I had invested all of my cruise ships earnings into camera gear so I had that…but I was cash poor.
Although I would hardly consider my upbringing as ‘underprivileged’. At the time that I was starting my business, my family had fallen on hard times. It was right after the boom years of Margaret Thatchers Conservative government. Great Britain went into a huge economic decline. My father had just sold his two pubs and then went on to a change of careers. He started to train and work as a mortgage and investment advisor. Probably the worst time to do it. The money he got from the sale of the pubs bought him a modest house and little more. The reason I mention this is that in the past, my mother and father were very supportive of anything I did, they would give you the ‘shirt off their backs’ so to speak. This was a different time though. Whilst they would help with parental advice and guidance, financial help was out of the question. To be honest, at that time, I was not even looking for financial help as I could barely afford the film to go in my camera. So to think about getting a business loan would have been next to impossible.
My Dad, Colin was always on the look out for me. One of his clients had been a successful business man in his career and was telling my Dad about this charity, The Prince’s Trust. This gent had volunteered his time for the charity, as an advisor. Once he retired he wanted to ‘give back’ so to speak and offer young people like me advice and guidance about business. To cut a long story short, my Dad gave me a call and said I should contact the charity. I did and the rest is history.
What The Prince’s Trust Does
Once I got in contact with The Prince’s Trust, the ball started rolling fairly quickly. The first thing that you have to do is put a business plan together and present it to the charity. For me this was a daunting task as you have to stand in front of a panel of professionals and pitch your business/idea. It needn’t have been. They were very encouraging and these guys came across as though they wanted you to be successful. Almost your cheerleader to a certain degree. I got accepted by the charity and the first thing you do is make an appointment with a business consultant to refine your business plan. I then re-presented my plan to the board and was awarded a £2000 loan (which was to be repaid at a reduced interest rate) and a £500 grant. I was also offered a small premises at a converted school in Heybridge, Essex. Not only was the rent reduced but you started off rent free for the first 3 months, then 33% of the agreed rent for the next 3 months, then 66% for three months until you got to the full 100% of your rent. You could then stay in the premises for a maximum of two years. In this building you had a communal secretary, office equipment (you payed a small fee for services used) but most importantly there was an advisor at your disposal. I learned about accounting, I learned about risk/reward, I learned about planning and I learned about cash flow (and how my lack of it was crippling me). We even went on an adventure weekend to learn about teamwork, leadership and planning. I still use things today that I learned from these guys way back then. Although I ended up moving to America, the lessons The Prince’s Trust taught me, enabled me to set up my business in America very quickly. I was able to bypass most mistakes startups make.
I can personally vouch for this charity and the work that it does. I wish there was something like it in the US.
What this charity does for young entrepreneurs is phenomenal. What The Prince’s Trust did for Lori and I helped in so many ways. I am forever grateful to not only Prince Charles and his foresight to start the charity but the thousands of volunteers that give their time to make this happen.
Hopefully the show will be aired here in the United States and we can let Prince William and Prince Harry give us a way better insight into the way The Prince’s Trust works.