UPFRONT A right royal helper

Prince Charles wants to help fund 100 young Kiwi entrepreneurs into business every year.
His visit to New Zealand last month coincided with the launch in New Zealand of his Youth Business International programme here. YBI New Zealand is division of the Prince’s Trust which helps disadvantaged or in need youth generally.
YBI New Zealand will provide seed funding and business mentoring for young people with viable business ideas and who are unable to find help elsewhere. It wants to provide start-up loans and advice to back the ideas of 100 young entrepreneurs, aged between 17 and 26, every year.
The Trust is already operating in about 20 countries and has helped about 65,000 young people to turn their ideas into businesses. Nearly 60 percent of these, about 40,000 of them, are still in business. YBI was set up by Prince Charles in the early 1980s.
“The concept is simple,” he told about 200 business leaders at lunch in Auckland last month. “We want the business community to work in partnership with local and national organisations to provide access to finance and mentoring to young people with viable business ideas to enable them to work for themselves and contribute to the economy.”
The YBI programme recognises the difficulty some creative young people have getting started in business or even, in some instances, finding appropriate employment.
“Providing training, funding and support during the six months before starting business and the first two or three years of trading is critical if young person is to create sustainable business and develop their entrepreneurial skills,” says Andy Hobbs, managing director of Hayley Media and YBI New Zealand’s first chairman. “We already have number of key business people committed to making this programme work here. We want to help young people realise their business visions and contribute to society and the economy. It’s all part of what we stand for in New Zealand – give things go.”
Hobbs and his foundation board are now looking for CEO to drive the Trust. They are also seeking government, both national and local, and business organisation support for YBI. They plan to establish $1 million revolving fund to back the lending. They also want to recruit mentors for young people in business.
“The programme has been outstandingly successful in Scotland and that is the model we are using,” says Hobbs.
“The programme increases young people’s self-esteem, their employability and helps them achieve economic independence. It encourages business to become involved in the local community, it develops an entrepreneurial culture, improves workforce skills and encourages the development of dynamic small business sector. It also reduces youth unemployment, relieves poverty and helps reduce social conflict,” says Hobbs.
YBI New Zealand is division of The Prince’s Trust run by an independent board of business people including Simon West, managing director Hay Holdings; Clare Wade, managing director Clare Wade Consulting; Grant McGregor, director ANZ Investment Banking and Private Equity; Paul Glass, director Brook Asset Management; Dianne Ludwig, director Gosling Chapman; Phil Ryan director Healthy Food Media and Reg Birchfield, managing director of Profile Publishing.

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