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Business programme gives young people a second chance

STRIVING FOR SUCCESS: Speakers Nathan Dennis, far left and Errol Lawson engage with delegates

AN INITIATIVE aimed at giving young people with an entrepreneurial spirit a second chance received its highly anticipated launch in Digbeth, near Birmingham city centre recently.

The Street Smart to Business Start programme, developed by the influential First Class Legacy network, will partner with The Prince’s Trust to offer additional opportunities via its business enterprise programme.

It is hoped that the partnership will enable The Prince’s Trust to engage a wider range of young people, in particular, those from black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.

First Class Legacy works with service providers to help them to engage, connect with and build lasting relationships with those in the community deemed traditionally hard to reach. First Class Legacy prides itself with keeping its finger on the pulse of youth culture, using its experience and to foster related causes and develop diversionary activities and engagement opportunities some mainstream groups either do not understand or cannot address as comprehensively.


The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme helps 18- to 30-year-olds turn their ideas into a business reality. With advice, guidance and support on offer for budding entrepreneurs, individuals can access the programme online or in person.

Founder of First Class Legacy, Nathan Dennis, below left, told the media: “The survival skills that many of these young people pick up on the streets are in essence, the fundamentals of running a business.

“We want to capture those transferable skills and train these young people to use them to grow a business idea of their own from conception to launch and beyond. Many of them may have never considered that they could become an entrepreneur. If we can show them how to use their skills in a productive way, this could lead to less of our young people heading down the wrong path and will instead enable them to make positive contributions to society.”

Role models on hand to help launch First Class Legacy’s ‘Street Smart to Business Start Business Programme’ included guest speakers, diversity advisor and mentor.

Joel Blake OBE, who gave the keynote address; alongside enterprise consultant Daniella Genas and author/speaker and coach Errol Lawson.

Prince’s Trust alumni, Antonio Henry of MuscleTone Fitness, was also on hand and said of the programme: “The Prince’s Trust helped me to get into the best shape of my life. “My day job is now about transforming lives in the way that my own was transformed thanks to The Prince’s Trust.

REAL TALK: Daniella Genas addresses the crowd during the packed out Digbeth event

“Knowing how to run the streets isn’t as rewarding as knowing how to run your own legitimate business. The Street Smart to Business Start Programme will help to instil the same sense of pride in our young people that I feel everyday as an entrepreneur.”

Dennis added: “We are excited to be working with such a fantastic organisation who deliver such inspiring work with young people and offer them a wide range of opportunities. It’s the start of what we hope will be a long term relationship with The Prince’s Trust.


“We are pleased that they see the value in partnering with smaller organisations like ourselves.”

Emma Southern, head of community engagement, central region at The Prince’s Trust said: “At The Prince’s Trust we encourage young people to develop the skills they need to realise their ambitions, while also encouraging their entrepreneurism, self-confidence and resilience. We’re really looking forward to working with First Class Legacy and increasing our reach with young people through their innovative programme.’

Now an international youth charity, 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.

Founded by The Prince of Wales in 1976, the charity supports 11- to 30-year-olds who are unemployed, struggling at school and at risk of exclusion.

The Trust has helped over 950,000 young people to date and supports more than 100 more each day.

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