Ladies and Gentlemen, you have all been very good in hanging around for a long time in this gallery – and I can’t tell you what a joy it has been for me to see so many of you, to see, particularly if I may say so, all those people we have set up in business over the years. Perhaps you can imagine, from my point of view, just how rewarding and encouraging it is to see so many of these people who have done so well over the years.
When you start these kinds of ventures, you never think you’ll get anywhere at all. As you can imagine, I had to put up with a certain amount of opposition and scepticism. So to achieve what we have, with so many wonderful generous people like yourselves assisting, in the Enterprise fellowship over the last ten years, has made a fantastic difference to these young people’s opportunities.
The Enterprise programme started back in 1983 and since then my Trust has helped more than 88,000 young people to start their own business. One of the things that really is rather encouraging, I think, is that 73% of the Trust-supported businesses are still trading after three years, compared to the national average of around 60%, so we still just have the edge from that point of view. So some of you probably know, as I mentioned to you as I came around, for quite a long time now I have been hoping to bring together a network of Prince’s Trust business alumni.
All I can say is, it has made me so proud, to see that remarkable quality of the work on display here and also, if I may say so, the talent of so many of you. I know the companies here represent a range of sectors including fashion, creativity, food, hospitality, beauty, eyelashes…eyelashes! The health and fitness and indeed the technology sector.
One of the difficulties we had at the beginning of all this, is that no one kept the right records at The Prince’s Trust of who we started up. When I asked a few years ago; “can you find me different businesses in different sectors?”, nobody could. Now we are getting a better act together in terms of where all the alumni are. Apart from anything else, if I may say so, all these alumni showed their dream originally of self-employment is within reach, regardless of circumstances.
As you can conclude we have reached the 10th anniversary of the Trust Enterprise Fellowship and to date there have been 68 members and my Trust hopes to grow to over 100 members by 2022. Since 2009, the fellowship has raised over £24.5 million to help young entrepreneurs. This is my particular opportunity, ladies and gentlemen, to thank all that I can possibly say to all those fellows here this evening who have given so wonderfully generously to my Trust, because if it wasn’t for their tireless help and generosity. We could never really have done as much as we have to enable young people to succeed.
I particularly wanted, if I may, to extend my real special thanks to those who have made this evening possible. The Enterprise fellowship committee led by Sir Stelios Haji-Ioannou together with Mr. Nicholas Wheeler and Mrs. Jennifer Campbell. The young people who have displayed their businesses here this evening and to the alumni of the Enterprise programme for the time you are now taking time to give back and support the next generation of businesses started through The Prince’s Trust.
Ladies and Gentlemen, with your continued support, I hope together we can continue to enable young people to become the entrepreneurs of the future and make real difference to this country’s economy and opportunities from now on so.
I am so proud to be able to contribute a little bit anyway towards this process and I look forward, as long as I retain some marbles, to seeing all of you succeed even more in the future.