“To start a computer business you really need a computer. I used a grant from The Prince’s Trust to buy a computer and some software; I don’t know what path I would have taken without their support.”

Martin McKay is the founder of Texthelp, a global company that employs 180 staff across its offices in Belfast, Boston and Australia and has more than 30 million users worldwide. The organisation is the world leader in assistive technology, providing literacy and learning solutions that are used by people with learning difficulties, dyslexia and visual impairments.

Martin started the business in his early twenties with support from The Prince’s Trust.

“I didn't have a job at the time.  In fact I have never had a job apart from this one; I had left university and knew I wanted to start my own business. My Dad had a stroke when I was young and that made me want to do something to help people with disabilities. I began by making software for people with Motor Neurone Disease and Cerebral Palsy which led onto making software for people with communication problems and dyslexia.

“It was my Mum who suggested I get in touch with The Prince’s Trust, she thought I was a bit mad wanting to set up my own business. I was a bit wild when I was younger, and I think she was worried about me keeping on the tracks. She suggested I apply for support with The Trust and helped me with the paperwork.

“I took part in the Enterprise programme and that provided me with useful training, I was awarded a grant that allowed me to buy some computer equipment and was put in touch with a mentor. My mentor was a retired businessman who came out to see once a week for about a year. He asked lots of smart questions that made me re-evaluate my plans and put me in touch with a network of people.”

Once Texthelp was established Martin was keen to give back to the charity that helped him when he was starting out and volunteered as a mentor with The Prince’s Trust.

“I wanted to do what my mentor had done for me and support someone who was starting out in business. I provided advice and support to an IT start up, providing him with some useful contacts and advice. Unfortunately, I don’t have time to mentor at the minute due to work commitments, but it is definitely something I want to pick up again later in life.

“I’ve no idea where I would be now without The Prince’s Trust, it really did get me started. Just knowing someone was willing to take a risk and support me boosted my confidence.”