How the Prince’s Trust helped me start my business

The Prince's Trust

Not many people know that I’m actually a Prince’s Trust start up. Back in 2005 when “Kay Ransom Photography” was still just an idea. I chatted to lots of friends and family about becoming a professional photographer and many ideas were shared, one of which was a recommendation to approach the Prince’s Trust. I have to say this wasn’t an avenue I’d considered and I wasn’t sure if I’d meet the criteria, but at 25 I knew I was within the age range they support so thought I’d get in touch.

Upon contacting The Prince’s trust in Gloucester they said I met the criteria and were happy for me to come along to their programme in May 2005, so I keenly signed up! In the meantime (it was April) I carried on my temp job at Capita in Cirencester whilst getting very modest photography jobs here and there (including photographing pigs and llamas). The week before the course was due to start Capita (who were aware I was starting out as photographer) offered me the opportunity to photograph their conference! This was such an incredible opportunity at this stage of my career that I said yes immediately and sadly had postpone my course with The Trust for a month, they were really understanding however and gladly rescheduled.

May came round and I attended The Prince’s Trust Business start-up course in Gloucester, this comprised of an initial 3 day course, which was attended by myself and about 20 other start-ups. The range of businesses was really diverse and it was great to meet other likeminded young people. We were taught the basics of marketing, business development, accounts and had the opportunity to discuss our prospective businesses thoroughly. Mine had already began, however at five weeks old I still had a lot to learn!

Did you know that Prince’s Trust start-ups are 3x more likely to succeed than non-supported new businesses?

The Prince’s Trust help some businesses financially I was offered a loan and potential grant, I declined the loan and applied for a grant and I was lucky enough to be given £300 to be used specifically towards a zoom lens. At 25 this really made a big difference to me and I am still grateful to this day. After the course we were all assigned mentors who would be with us for at least a year, my mentor would ring and check in periodically to make sure everything was ok, I was fairly independent but it was reassuring to hear from someone I knew.  

Six months later I had an exciting email saying I had been specially selected to attend a funded spot at The Young Entrepreneur’s conference in Edinburgh! Having all my costs covered for me made this trip possible (it would have been hard to justify/cover the expense at that early stage of business). It was a two day conference/practical workshops along with a 100 other young entrepreneurs from the UK and Ireland. I felt very lucky to have been selected for this trip because there were only two spots for the South West division.

Three years passed business was going well due to the strong foundations The Princess Trust had given me and I had been very successful in that time. Then as we all know in 2008 the recession came thundering in and my business took a huge hit, my turnover plummeted and things were looking a rather dire. I picked up some hours over the winter back at Capita, started to teach one to one photography to try and ride the tide, but I really needed some solid event photography work to keep the business open. So in desperation I rang the Princess Trust and spoke to Sam one of the business navigators who I explained the situation to, she was really nice and our paths have crossed randomly ever since. Within 24 hours Sam called me back saying “Kay I’ve found you some work would you like to photograph the Prince’s Trust South West Business awards?” The answer of course was an overwhelming yes! That one shoot kept me afloat for a while and ensured my motivation to stop the business collapsing stayed! In 2010 as abruptly as the phone stopped ringing did it then start again, I was expecting it to be more gradual, but it was back to business and it was all systems go! Now in 2019 I’d like to report I’m still in business and now an award winning photographer.

To anyone reading this who is young and considering starting a business I urge you to call the Princes’ Trust they are really helpful and you don’t necessarily have to come from a challenging background to receive support. Being taught business acumen and having a mentor is an excellent foundation for any new venture. There’s a link below for more info, the age range tends to span from 16 to 30 (different options apply to different age groups). I suspect 14 years on the organisation has gone on leaps and bounds and I may be a little out of touch with what’s new, so have a dig around and see what opportunities you can find!

https://www.princes-trust.org.uk/help-for-young-people/programmes

https://medium.com/@kayransom/blog-how-the-princes-trust-helped-me-start-my-business-c5838d381172

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