More than half of young people in Birmingham dream of starting their own business, but think that only rich people can afford to go it alone, according to research by the Prince’s Trust.
In a report marking 25 years of the Trust’s business programme, the group claimed 55 per cent of young people in the city would like to go into business, but only a small percentage had made a move.
Many thought being an entrepreneur was just for white, middle-class, middle-aged men. And nearly three-quarters said careers advisers at schools and colleges did not even mention starting a business as a career option.
Kathy Williams, West Midlands regional director of The Prince’s Trust said: “Young people are the spark plugs of the economy. This country has produced some of the world’s most talented business people, but could do more when it comes to investing in young talent.
“Over the past 25 years, The Trust has championed youth entrepreneurship and promoted growth opportunities with the support of regional development agencies and funders. In view of these findings, we call on the local business community to join us in encouraging more young start-ups, ensuring that the UK’s enterprise culture continues to evolve.”
The Prince’s Trust helps more than 500 young people start up in business each year in the West Midlands, providing financial assistance and business support to 18 to 30-year-olds from a variety of backgrounds.
Their survey – taking in more than 1,000 young people – also reveals their concerns about the current economic climate. More than a quarter of Birmingham young people said they would start their own business if they lost their job during a recession.
The research carried out by the Prince’s Trust coincides with an enterprise leadership conference with Chancellor Alistair Darling and some of Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs to encourage more young start-ups.
Dragons Den’s Deborah Meaden and James Caan, Peter Cruddas and Travelex founder Lloyd Dorfman will launch the campaign with HRH The Prince of Wales as President of The Prince’s Trust.
The Prince’s Trust Business Programme has helped more than 70,000 disadvantaged young people into business since it was started in 1983. The Trust needs £1-million a month to run the programme.
One Birmingham man who took part in the celebrations marking the quarter-century of the business programme was 33-year-old Fitzroy Fraser, who turned his life around after help from the charity.
Mr Fraser, who runs Better Cut Barbers in Winson Green, met up with millionaire entrepreneur Steve Verrall to mark the anniversary of the programme.
The young businessman has been running his barbers for almost three years after he was given an interest-free loan and support from the Trust.
In the one-to-one meeting he had plenty of questions for Mr Verrall, who owned his first IT support business at the age of 21, about how to improve his business.
Mr Verrall, from Sutton Coldfield, who recently sold his business, Sirius, an IT service provider for the insurance sector for £44 million, gave Fitzroy hints and tips from his experience in the business world.
He gave Mr Fraser advice on how to expand his business with a second barbers shop and gave him advice on the options of purchasing or renting premises. Mr Fraser said: “The Prince’s Trust has changed my life so much since I moved to the UK. I used to cut hair for people in my home town in Jamaica but I could not afford to buy proper hairdressing tools.
“When I found out about The Prince’s Trust I could not believe the amount of support and help they were able to give me to set up my barbers.”
The young businessman was struck by tragedy last year when his family’s home in Jamaica was destroyed by Hurricane Dean but luckily Fitzroy was able to send money back to his family to help them re-build their house.