Fashion designer Ozwald Boateng has spoken of how a grant from the Prince’s Trust gave him the confidence to succeed as the Prince of Wales celebrated the impact of his charity on young entrepreneurs.
Boateng, known for his unique twist on classic British tailoring, said the money, which helped pay for a sewing machine, not only set him on his way but the belief it engendered was priceless.
Speaking at the Youth Can Do It event, which showcased a range of businesses helped by the trust’s Enterprise programme, Boateng said: “The key was being believed in. At the end of the day when someone bets on you, that gives you another layer of confidence and I have to say in business that’s the most important point.
“Because confidence and belief is a big percentage – if I didn’t believe in what I was doing it would never happen.”
After receiving funds from the trust in 1986 he went on to design outfits for some of the world’s most celebrated men from Sir Mick Jagger to Jamie Foxx.
During the event, hosted at auction house Phillips, in Mayfair, central London, Charles walked through a marketplace of pop-up stalls meeting young entrepreneurs who have received mentorship, practical guidance and, in some cases, financial support from the trust.
In a speech the prince told the guests: “Perhaps you can imagine, from my point of view, just how rewarding and encouraging it is to see so many of these people who have done so well over the years.
“When you start these kinds of ventures you never think you’re going to work in any way at all and I had to put up with a certain amount of opposition.”
The event also marked the 10th anniversary of the trust’s Enterprise Fellowship, a network of leading entrepreneurs who are committed to supporting and inspiring the next generation of business leaders.
One of the young people who met Charles was Dominique Parlatt, who completed the Enterprise programme and launched two successful businesses – a fitness company, Warriors, and a cosmetics line.
Ms Parlatt was a young carer from the age of seven who left school with no qualifications and spent several years in short-term jobs.
She said: “Tonight’s event has been incredible – it’s so inspiring to meet entrepreneurs who have built up such innovative and successful businesses, even exceeding their own expectations in some cases. It’s so important to dream big, and that’s exactly what the trust inspires people to do.”