Putting its trust in new ventures

LAUNCHED in 1989 by its president, Prince Charles, the Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust has helped more than 6000 companies spring to life.

The trust exists to help entrepreneurs aged 18 to 25, with around 40 per cent of the recipients being female.

To date, more than 20 million has been awarded, 87 per cent of which has taken the form of low-cost loans.

Last week’s regional award ceremony saw Rhona Adams, who founded the Scallywags children’s nursery in November 2002, grab top spot.

She will also have the chance of a place in next month’s national final where the title of Young Entrepreneur of the Year and a 1500 prize are up for grabs.

The runners-up in the Edinburgh heat were Chris Hutchings, of Dalkeith-based Ensemble Tours, and Lucy Sharp, an independent sales agent. A graduate from Cambridge University, Mr Hutchings, 23, established his firm last April, organising trips and concerts for all types of arts groups which wish to perform outside their home cities.

Highlights so far have included a choir tour of Ireland and a drama group presenting The Tempest at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

His fellow runner-up launched herself as an independent sales agent in October 2001, specialising in the sale of greetings cards.

Ms Sharp, who is 25 and based in central Edinburgh, says her future plans include expanding her portfolio to incorporate gifts and stationery products.

She is also in the process of converting the business to limited company status.