Essex County Council’s Enterprise team has provided £30,000 in funding to The Prince’s Trust to support business start-up grants for Essex participants on The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme.
Jordan Smith, together with his friend and colleague Abigail Saxon, has used The Prince’s Trust support and funding to set up his Disability 4 Sport business and take his business plan to the next level. Disability 4 Sport provides a wide range of sporting opportunities and activities for people of all ages and abilities from his local community, with the aim of positively improving physical health and mental well-being.
The aim of the Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme is to provide training, mentoring support and funding to enable unemployed young people aged 18-30 to create a business plan, test their assumptions and work towards launching a new business. Three in four young people supported by The Prince’s Trust move into work, education or training.
Background to Jordan’s business
Despite difficult beginnings, Jordan has achieved tremendous personal success in sport and wants to give others the opportunity to share in his experiences. He was born premature and contracted cerebral palsy. At school, his opportunities to take part in sport were limited, but when he went to college, his sporting potential was soon discovered.
“I was selected for the England cerebral palsy football team and played in 16 internationals, including World and European cerebral palsy championships. I have also done well at several other sports and am now playing seated volleyball.”, says Jordan. In 2007, he completed the London Marathon.
Jordan has gained various coaching qualifications and experience throughout his career in disability sports, including completion of the Prince’s Trust Step into Sport programme in 2007. He is now using those credentials to successfully develop Disability 4 Sport.
Joining the Enterprise Programme
Jordan approached The Prince’s Trust, took part in the Enterprise programme and used the support and a grant to set up Disability 4 Sport.
The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme begins with a 4-day course in business planning followed by a review. Candidates are able to present to a Business Launch Group, which may result in the award of a grant and/or loan to support the early stages of their business. Awards are typically in the region of £2,500 to £4,000 per participant, of which the business start-up grant portion provided by Essex County Council would be between £1,000-£1,500.
Development of the business
Disability 4 Sport currently runs more than 20 sessions a week with schools, community partners and organisations, as well as setting up clubs and organising sports days.
As the business has grown, there has been a need to take on additional staff. So far four sessional staff have been recruited and Jordan will be looking for full-time positions as demand increases.
Looking to the future, Jordan wants to expand his business, and a key goal for this is to get his own premises, a sports centre for disabled people. The new David Lloyd Centre planned for Colchester offers a potential opportunity.
From a personal perspective Jordan sees an opportunity to go to the Rio Paralympics in 2016 and will juggle those ambitions alongside his business credentials.
Jordan praised the help available from the programme and from his business mentor. “Running a business is hard work, but the rewards we get from giving people with a disability the chance to play sport are our proudest achievement.” The Prince’s Trust, through their allocated mentor, will continue to work with Jordan to track progress and provide further advice and support for two years from the start of the business.
The programme’s economic impact
The Prince's Trust has supported more than 80,000 young people like Jordan to become their own boss since 1983. Independent research* indicates that the economic impact of the grant funding can be measured in new business start-ups and job creation, although it is challenging to report on further impacts due to the nature of the time a start-up takes to develop, launch, thrive and grow.
The analysis shows that, for every £1 invested in the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme, an estimated £4.31 of social value is created in return. The figures take into account the value created from the young people’s increased skills, as well as their economic earnings following the programme.
Enterprise benefits for Essex
“It’s great that we can enable young people become economically active by starting a new enterprise. We recognise that business start-ups are a significant factor in achieving economic growth, but they are more likely to survive if they have access to good business advice. We are proud to help The Prince’s Trust provide that support.”
David Adlington, Head of Enterprise, Essex County Council
*Source nef consulting. The figures refer to the 5,652 young people starting on the programme in the 2010/11 financial year.