His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales visited the NatWest branch in Brixton, South London, today to meet young people who have set up their own businesses through our Enterprise programme.

The Prince’s Trust Founder and President met with young business owners and heard how our support helped them to establish their diverse range of businesses, from a young chair designer to a local Brixton wine subscription club. He also met with Karl Lokko, co-founder of Black Seed, a Brixton-based venture fund group which helps Black-led start ups access funding.

The Enterprise programme provides training and mentoring support as well as funding and resources to young people aged 18 to 30 interested in self-employment or starting their own business. Between 2019 and 2020, we supported over 9,000 young people on the Enterprise programme.

He also heard from young people who had received grants from The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund to provide much-needed help to their businesses during the pandemic. The £5 million fund was set up in 2020 to provide emergency grants.

Grants were used to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers. In conjunction, the initiative offered vital one-to-one support and guidance to those who needed it.

Brixton-based artist Melissa North, co-founder of art collective Underway Studio said: "It has been such an honour to share our entrepreneurial journey with HRH The Prince of Wales, here in Brixton where our business, Underway Studio, is based.

The Enterprise programme was invaluable to learn the practicalities of running a business and understand how to turn our idea into a sustainable enterprise. Last year our business was handed a lifeline when we received a grant from The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Relief Fund, which enabled us to keep going during the pandemic.

"We are still in touch with our business mentor from the programme who has been such a huge support to us, especially as we’ve been navigating keeping our business going over the past year and a half. Running your own business can be tough, but it’s incredibly rewarding to be able to turn your passion into your career."

Ben Marson, Director of Corporate and Government Partnerships at The Prince’s Trust said: “Our Enterprise programme provides practical support, funding and mentoring to young people who want to be self-employed. Giving young people the tools they need to set up their own business and take control of their own employment and finances, is vital to our overall mission to help young people secure the best future for themselves. Thanks to the generous support from NatWest we have been able to give over 7,000 young people the opportunity to take part in the programme."

Alison Rose, Chief Executive of NatWest Group said: "It has been an absolute privilege to welcome HRH The Prince of Wales to our Brixton branch today and hear from some impressive young entrepreneurs whose businesses are thriving.

NatWest has been a proud partner of The Prince’s Trust for over 20 years, supporting young people through the Enterprise programme, and most recently through our Enterprise Relief Fund which provided much needed financial support for young business owners struggling during the pandemic.

Since 2009, NatWest have funded 7,421 young people to take part in the Enterprise programme and continue to do so, with the current partnership seeing them donate £1.5million to the programme.

NatWest has been a partner of The Prince’s Trust for over 20 years, however the relationship goes back much further as NatWest set up the charity’s first bank account in 1976.