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Young entrepreneurs champion for UK's future leaders

PICTURED: Visual artist Onome Otite

THE PRINCE'S Trust, the UK’s leading youth charity, has launched a campaign encouraging young people across the UK to take their first step to becoming the next generation of entrepreneurs and business leaders.

Featured in the campaign is south London’s Onome Otite, 32, a visual artist who was supported through the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme, which works with 18-30 year olds to turn big ideas into business reality, to launch her eponymous contemporary art business.

Supported by NatWest, the #YouAreTheNext campaign features Onome alongside four other successful Prince’s Trust supported businesses in a film, spreading the message that young people already have the ideas needed to carve out their own success.

The film credits support as all-important in enabling young entrepreneurs to thrive and shows the crucial role of family, friends and charities such as The Prince’s Trust, in helping young people to succeed.

Onome was working as a freelance interior and prop stylist in London, but she was finding the uncertainty of freelance work challenging and wanted to explore other options.

During one particular project, she found herself experimenting with textiles and print, from sculpting, moulding and drawing to creating three-dimensional artworks.

“I found myself really inspired and began to develop my own designs. I’d never really considered myself as an artist before, let alone one who could make a business out of it, but a friend recommended speaking to The Prince’s Trust, and that got me thinking about the commercial potential of my work.

“I don’t come from a business background at all, so the Enterprise programme was crucial in giving me the support and knowledge I needed to prepare my business plan, financial forecasting and the pricing of my work. On top of that, having the support of a mentor was invaluable. Knowing I had someone at the end of the phone gave me real peace of mind.

“If there is anyone considering using their ideas and creativity to start their own business I would definitely say go for it. If you have the drive and work ethic, don’t let doubt hold you back.”

Onome is a recent awardee of the Cockpit Arts / Prince’s Trust Creative Careers programme, giving her creative studio space to explore new ideas and already increase limited edition print and art card sales and commissions. She is currently teaming up with the British Fashion Council to work with international designers at this year’s Milan Fashion Week.

“I’m hoping to grow my business profile, continue to secure commercial commissions for publishing and advertising campaigns, and to collaborate with textile and fashion retailers. I’m very excited about the future.”

Rozzy Amos, Regional Director for South of England at The Prince’s Trust, said: “The vision and commitment of businesses like NatWest, who are prepared to give financial support to help young entrepreneurs, means we are able to support more and more young people into business. No young person should ever feel like there isn’t a place for them to work on their ideas and be supported into launching their own business. Partners like NatWest allow us to continue to unlock the potential of the next young entrepreneurs in London.”

Gordon Merrylees, Managing Director of Entrepreneurship at NatWest, commented: “For the last 18 years we have worked in partnership with The Prince’s Trust to create an environment that encourages and enables young people to develop their talents and ideas into sustainable businesses. Time and time again we see the transformative impact of someone believing in your idea and providing the necessary support systems to validate it, test it and develop it into a reality, and into a career.

“Self-employment is an empowering opportunity for young people as whatever their background, they can carve out a new life for themselves by doing something they love and are great at, the world needs it and it can make a difference to people’s lives.”

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