Heather Gray: Helping young entrepreneurs is good way to create jobs

John Swinney has increased the living wage, Picture: TSPL
John Swinney has increased the living wage, Picture: TSPL
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John Swinney’s announcement of a new £1 million Dragons’ Den-style fund for entrepreneurs is another sign that the Scottish Government, along with the private sector, recognises the need to support budding entrepreneurs who create jobs and growth.

This strategy has the capacity to pay dividends if used to support our young business leaders.

The Prince’s Trust Scotland fully supports this investment. We must harness the growth of interest from young Scots keen to get their business ideas off the starting block. In every community in Scotland the trust is working with vital partners in Business Gateway, Scottish Enterprise and the private sector to provide a unique blend of business start-up support. With more than 1,000 volunteers, focused programs, grants and seedcorn finance, the trust and its partners are inspiring this enterprise generation to create the young businesses Scotland needs for tomorrow.

Research from The Prince’s Trust Youth Business Scotland and the Royal Bank of Scotland shows that young people are increasingly keen to set up their own businesses and are starting to do so. The figures show that the top 100 trust-supported businesses started by young people in Scotland with help of seed capital and mentoring from Youth Business Scotland now employ 2,300 people.

Those figures demonstrate that young people have a real desire to succeed that can outstrip the many challenges faced. Indeed, separate research showed that 48 per cent of self-employed UK young people said starting their own business is the best decision they have ever made and one in ten said they set up in business because they could not find a job.

It is an opportune time to support those young people with the ambition not only to pull themselves out of joblessness, but create employment for others and spur employment creation that helps stimulate Scotland’s economy. Through our Youth Business Scotland programme, The Prince’s Trust plans to increase support for young entrepreneurs across Scotland. Young people coming through with new ideas, developing new products and exploring new markets will play an important part in Scotland’s future prosperity.

l Heather Gray is director of the Prince’s Trust Scotland.