Philippa Stedman, from Southfields, London, has a good head for numbers but after 16 years of running her own accountancy practice, she felt she wanted to use her skills to help those who were struggling to get that all-important start in life.
She became a Prince’s Trust volunteer, and by dedicating two afternoons a month, over the last 10 years she’s helped over 1,000 young entrepreneurs learn essential skills to boost their business success.
Philippa says: "It can be very difficult for people to set up their own business and, for those who aren’t that numerate, managing their accounts can be really daunting. I grew up in an industrial area of Stockton where unemployment was rife, so I know how tough it can be, but I was lucky – I enjoyed working with numbers and made a career from it.
Initially volunteering as an individual business mentor, Philippa worked on a one-to-one basis supporting young people as they developed their business plans. Then, feeling that she could do more, she spoke to The Trust and became a specialist mentor focused solely on accounting – going above and beyond to help her mentees succeed.
Philippa’s commitment fits neatly around her three-and-a-half day working week in Moorgate, close to The Trust’s head office. She now spends up to two afternoons a month doing one-to-one sessions and has recently helped with The Trust’s new drop-in initiative alongside her group workshops.
Over the years she’s met lots of young people and heard almost every type of business idea, but one thing never changes – her admiration at the young people’s energy and determination.
“I’m always amazed at how positive and enthused the young people are. It’s fantastic when you see them start to understand. Once they’re engaged they’re already half way there. It’s a great feeling to know you’ve helped these young people on their way.”
During her time with The Trust, Philippa has made connections with a number of other like-minded people through regular events, but what she enjoys most is working with the young people themselves, and seeing them develop.