Both trusts allocate the businesses they help a business mentor, usually a volunteer from the local business community. They donate about four hours monthly to advise the business, provide contacts and track their progress. The monitors submit a monthly report to the Trust that provides early warning if things are going wrong. Business support managers monitor the contact between the Trust and the mentors.
If you want funding, you must approach their local area office to talk about their proposal with the area manager. You must then prepare a business plan. The area manager can give help and advice with this and may even suggest taking a course. The trusts can't offer financial help towards courses but have good contacts and usually know of cheap or free local schemes. Once the plan is complete the area manager will visit you to discuss it further.
The next step is to present the plan to a local trust board, made up of volunteers from the local business community. The board takes the opportunity to talk to you and make sure you have the knowledge and commitment to see the plan through. The board then decides whether the loan should be awarded and the sum to be awarded. If you are successful, you will receive the loan and be assigned a mentor within a couple of weeks.
The Prince's Trust has set up 40,000 businesses since it was set up in 1983 and 60% of these businesses are still going after 3 years.53% of these businesses have traded beyond three years.
The phone number of the head office for England, Wales and Northern Ireland is 020 7543 1234 and fax 020 7543 1200. The head office in Scotland can be contacted on 0141 204 4409 or by fax on 0141 221 8221. They can give details of local offices. Alternatively job centres have details of the trusts under training and self-employment options.
Alternatively, visit the Prince's Trust website: www.princes-trust.org