Ram Karia is a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador. He completed our Enterprise programme in 2015 and now has his own luxury car-rental business.
Before hearing about The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, Ram already had business-orientated background.
"I always knew that I wanted to own my own business. I had completed a degree in Business and IT and planned to set up in business after leaving university, however I ended up starting work in the corporate world with a one-year placement with Enterprise Rent-A-Car. I started working with them during the credit crunch when it was really hard finding a job, but fortunately I managed to secure a permanent job and learnt a lot of skills and knowledge which I think has helped me a lot and got me to where I am today.
"Following on from that role, I then worked for a friend of mine in the care hire industry for 12 months. I also gained experience with Hewlett Packard which was more of a sales role in order to gather more skills. I then secured a great role with British Airways in account management. The role was fantastic and I got to travel the world, but I knew that I had always wanted to own my own business and that I needed to fulfil that dream. It was really hard to give up the job with British Airways, but in October 2015 I decided I had to go for it.
"I heard about The Trust from a friend who is a teacher and also from another friend who received support from The Trust. I decided to enquire and I was then on a course within two weeks! I really enjoyed the course and was amazed by the level of support and useful tips I received. Unfortunately, three weeks before presenting my business idea to the Enterprise panel, one of my car engines blew up and it cost £5.5k to repair. This was a really big setback for me and I felt like I wanted to quit. Thankfully, due to the support and advice from my mentor I decided to keep going.
"This is just something I would never have known about without the help of my mentor. My mentor also taught me how to look after my own social media accounts so that I could keep costs down, rather than paying someone else to help with this.
"One of the greatest things I’ve learnt from my mentor is to just slow down and focus on the best ideas. My mentor also showed me some good ways of getting extra support. For example, I approached De Montfort University in Leicester to see if they had any students interested in a work placement – it was a great way of getting much needed support and now I have a strong relationship with the University. My mentor has also taught me how to network and is always able to give me a second opinion on the things I’m working on. It’s great to have someone to listen to you who will be your rock and not just tell you what you want to hear.
"The Trust is amazing and is willing to give everyone a chance. I really felt that The Trust live up to their value of being non-judgemental, as I believe that anyone can receive support and be treated the same. The Trust provides information which you wouldn’t necessarily get during your education at school and I feel that everyone gets treated as an individual. I can’t praise The Trust and my mentors enough. The knowledge of the people supporting on the Enterprise programme is amazing and I got to learn from people who already have their own successful businesses. The staff working at The Trust are also fantastic and are always willing to help people no matter what.
"If I could give any advice to someone starting out on the Enterprise programme I would say it’s not just about the loan – the loan is just one part of it and you should take advantage of the knowledge and expertise available. You can learn so much from your mentor so make sure you listen to them and lean on them for support as much as possible."