On the 9th July, The Prince of Wales, visited The Trust centre in Cardiff, where he met young people who have been supported to start their own businesses through the charity’s Enterprise programme. During the visit, His Royal Highness heard how the programme has enabled 18-30 year olds in Wales to build the confidence and skills they need to establish businesses during the pandemic.
The Enterprise programme helps young entrepreneurs to explore if self-employment could be for them. The programme offers training, mentoring and funding to help young people generate and test business ideas, write business plans, and ultimately start their own business.
“The Prince’s Trust gave me the confidence I needed to go after my dreams.”
Gabriella Di Salvo, 25, from Neath, launched ‘Grow Up Gaby’ after joining the course in May 2020. After experiencing PTSD from childhood trauma and losing her father to suicide, Gaby wanted to set up a business to support those experiencing their own mental illnesses. Gaby had been working in retail when her hours were reduced due to the pandemic, which gave her the drive to become her own boss.
“Last year, before I joined the Enterprise programme, I felt like there was a lack of purpose in my life. This made me feel anxious, helpless, and I had no motivation. I have suffered with mental health issues for as long as I can remember, and I knew that I wanted to start my own business associated with mental health – however, I just didn’t know where to start.”
After completing the Enterprise course, which was delivered online during the lockdown, Gaby now runs her own store on Etsy; Grow up Gaby. As a qualified wellbeing practitioner and a self-taught illustrator, she creates giftware designed to help people cope, from mindset mugs to positivity notepads and inspirational coasters.
“I could not imagine a life without creativity, and I wanted to pursue something that was meaningful to me and gave me purpose. I now believe I can do all of that through my own business.”
Gaby launched the business in October last year and it has gone from strength to strength. The business has sold thousands of products to customers around the world and is a finalist in The Prince’s Trust category at this year’s Wales Startup Awards, which recognises people in Wales who have set up a thriving business in the past three years.
“At the start, I often felt anxious about setting up my own business, but The Prince’s Trust gave me the confidence I needed to go after my dreams. Instead of working the usual 9-5, I am doing what I love, and earning money doing what I love!”
Speaking at the event, Gaby added: “It’s great that His Royal Highness is so passionate about the work of His Trust, and that he can get to see the difference it makes today.”
Philip Jones, Director, Prince’s Trust Cymru added: “Entrepreneurial spirit is alive and well in Wales, despite the challenges presented by the pandemic. We’re incredibly proud of the young people here today who successfully started businesses and made a career out of their passion. We are delighted that our President was able to join us in celebrating the achievements of these young people who, given the right support at the right time, worked incredibly hard to transform their lives.”
During the event, HRH The Prince of Wales also met a number of local volunteers and supporters who have helped The Trust through the challenges of the pandemic, including representatives of the Hodge Foundation, who began their support in 2014 and have funded The Trust’s education programme, Achieve, in Wales since 2017.
Founded by The Prince of Wales in 1976, The Prince’s Trust helps young people to develop the confidence and skills they need to realise their ambitions, so that they can live, learn and earn. If you’re a young person, someone who knows a young person who needs support or someone who wants to donate or volunteer, search ‘Prince’s Trust’ online to find out how to get involved.