When Emma Reilly, 34, from Newcastle, knocked on our door in 2011 to join our Enterprise programme, little did she know her journey with The Prince’s Trust would see her conquer her fear of public speaking, open our Tomorrow’s Store with Rod Stewart and stand on stage with music mogul Simon Cowell. 

We caught up with Emma, our Mappin & Webb Young Ambassador of the Year winner to find out what life’s been like since Celebrate Success 2015. 

Prince’s Trust (PT): Hi Emma! How are things?

Emma Reilly (ER): I’m good thanks. I’m running two businesses side-by-side at the moment – working as an illustrator and continuing my apparel range Brave and the Bold. I design all the time, but I really enjoy it. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

PT: How did it feel to be nominated for an award last year, let alone win it?

ER: Being nominated for the Young Ambassador award was unreal. I didn’t become one to get an accolade; I signed up because I wanted to do something that scares me. At the time I thought I couldn’t speak up in front of people, but the training was fun and boosted my confidence. It really helped me to believe in myself.

PT: What was your Young Ambassador highlight?

ER: Opening the Tomorrow’s Store in 2013 and chatting to Rod Stewart about football. I never thought I’d get to do that!

PT: How did you prepare for the Celebrate Success national finals?

ER: Celebrate Success was nerve-wracking. Travelling from Newcastle to London on the day, I had some time to think about how big the event was. But, meeting the other finalists, we realised we’re all in the same boat and the excitement of the red carpet, photographers and celebrities took over.

PT: Who was your favourite celebrity?

ER: I was really happy when I read that Simon Cowell was presenting my award. Just knowing that I was standing on stage with someone who’s on TV every week was amazing.

When I walked into the theatre, Fearne Cotton was walking past and she smiled at me. That doesn’t happen every day.

Another great moment was Ant and Dec realising that I was a Geordie. I got a cheer for that!

PT: This year at Celebrate Success we’re focusing on journeys. What made you start yours?

ER: I was 30 when I approached The Prince’s Trust. It was last-chance saloon for me. A lot had been happening in my personal life but I knew I had to take a chance. Until that moment, I’d tried everything – and had a lot of doors shut in my face.

I remember when I was signing up to Enterprise, I met two women who were the first people I chatted with about my mental health. They didn’t bat an eyelid. They were more interested in what I could do, rather than what I couldn’t.

PT: What advice would you give to others thinking about setting up in business?

ER: It’s true what they say – it is better to try and fail, than to not try at all. You learn a lot about yourself when you set up a business.

PT: Describe Celebrate Success in one sentence.

ER: Celebrate Success is exciting, surreal and life-changing.

PT: Lastly, what’s next for you?

ER: I’m designing prototypes for a unique product I’ve designed. Watch this space.

Find out more about Emma and her business, Brave and the Bold, by visiting her website: www.wearbrave.com