A £3 million business support service for young people has been launched in the West Midlands by The Prince’s Trust to help reduce youth unemployment.
The initiative, run through the youth charity’s Enterprise programme, aims to help more than 2,000 entrepreneurs and create hundreds of jobs.
The programme works with disadvantaged young people aged 18 – 30, to move them into self-employment and jobs, through a practical course and mentoring.
The support can then lead to loans of between £1,000 and £5,000 to help start a business.
The European Regional Development Fund has provided £1.5 million for the project with the other half fundraised by The Prince’s Trust.
John O’Reilly, Prince’s Trust regional director for Central England, said: “Self-employment and starting up in business can offer a real alternative to young people – especially at a time of high youth unemployment.
“With our support, young people are proving themselves to be a catalyst for the region’s economic recovery.”
Drew Roper, aged 24, from Walsall established his own animation business Yamination Studios with the help of the Enterprise programme, where he learnt about business planning.
Mr Roper lost his job aged 22 and six months later signed up for the course.
“I learnt so much about setting up in business and things like marketing and finance,” he said.
“I really felt like I gained a lot of knowledge and confidence.”
He also received a £3,000 loan and a £1,000 grant through the charity.