East Anglia: Ex-dragon Doug Richard backs Prince’s Trust enterprise programme appeal

THE Prince’s Trust is urging businesses in East Anglia to back a fundraising drive to support the region’s next generation of entrepreneurs.

And the appeal by the charity, which works with disadvantaged young people aged from 13 to 30, is being backed by East of England entrepreneur, and former television “Dragon”, Doug Richard.

The trust’s enterprise programme helps thousands of young people across the UK into jobs and training as well as backing business start-ups through financial support and mentoring.

New research suggests that the programme could be worth up to �3.4million to the economy in East Anglia alone over the next three years, including �661,100 in Suffolk, �646,000 in Essex and �851,400 in Norfolk.

This does not include the resulting savings to the public purse in terms of the benefit claims, with young unemployment currently costing the East of England up to �12m a week.

Graham Ball, regional director for the Prince’s Trust in the East of England, said: “The growing success of our enterprise programme shows that young people here in our region are very entrepreneurial.

“Now we need further funds to support more young people across the region. This support will help vulnerable young people escape long-term unemployment and poverty, as well as boosting the local economy and reducing the benefits bill.

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Doug Richard, founder of School for Start Ups and a former panel member on the BBC’s Dragon’s Den show, added: “I am proud to support the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme in helping the region’s most disadvantaged young people into jobs and enterprise. We know that young people have the determination and willingness to reach their potential, but thousands lack the skills, confidence and opportunities to do so.

“The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme is proven to work, with thousands of young people starting their own successful businesses or finding work thanks to the scheme.

“With youth unemployment recently reaching record highs, it is more important than ever that we support the successful routes available for young people to move forward with their lives.“

He added: “From Richard Branson to Michelle Mone, Britain’s most successful entrepreneurs started their first businesses in their early twenties – or even before. We must invest in this young talent, or risk losing some of the most successful and inspiring entrepreneurs of the future.”

For more information on how to support The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, call Charlie Baxter on 07717 511 140 or email Charlie.baxter@princes-trust.org.uk .