Cliff Saran speaks to Josh Antwi, a 31-year-old IT entrepreneur who was given support and mentoring by the Prince's Trust.
Web designer Josh Antwi was made redundant from his job at an advertising agency during the recession in 2008. In a tough jobs market, he struggled to find work and was unemployed for six months.
"I always had a passion for web design," he says. "I built up some experience in the industry before I was made redundant during the credit crunch."
Like many job seekers at the time, Antwi admits he found it hard to get back into the industry: "It was comforting to know that I was not alone and a lot of other people were also being made redundant. But there was a lot of competition for jobs. It was a really difficult time. It was taking longer than I thought to get a new job and I started to worry about what I was going to do next."
Antwi had always wanted to set up his own business, and he believed the start-up market would be a good market to provide a web design service to. However, he didn't know where to start in setting up a design agency.
"I didn't have the start-up capital or support I needed. I approached the banks for a loan, but at the time it was difficult to get money as they wanted to see proof - they were not lending money to small businesses," he says.
Antwi decided to ask The Prince's Trust for help. He joined the youth charity's enterprise programme, which offers practical advice and mentoring support to young people looking to set up a business.
The Prince's Trust gave Antwi a business mentor and a loan to help him set up Blosh, a new media business specialising in building websites for start-up companies. "The charity gave me the help and support I needed to get my business off the ground at a difficult time," he says.
"Along with the financial support, I was offered advice to help me put the business plan in place and prepare the business," Antwi says. He was given on advice on creating a survival budget and separating personal expenses from business costs, and received help with marketing and identifying financial goals, in terms of revenue.
"It was difficult at first, as I had so much to learn about running a business, but having a mentor on hand for business advice made a huge difference," he says.
Two years on, Blosh is a successful web design business, with an office in Liverpool Street and a team of 11 designers. "This year we have focused on building our credibility and developing a client base," says Antwi.
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