Local entrepreneur Stephanie Woolven, 26, has secured a new business growth loan which will enable the young business owner to expand her textile and design business, and secure new clients.
Following support from youth charity The Prince’s Trust and its partner, The Samuel Wilson’s Loans Trust, Stephanie has secured a valuable financial boost and additional mentoring support to help her grow her client list and employ more staff.
The Prince’s Trust has partnered with The Samuel Wilson’s Loan Trust, run by the City of London Corporation, to launch a pilot programme to provide young entrepreneurs with access to low interest business growth loans, and further one-to-one mentoring support.
Stephanie, who is from Horsham, took part in The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme to explore and test her business ideas, and benefited from the charity’s one-to-one mentoring support and expert guidance. Since completing the programme and launching her business, Stephanie pitched her plans to a panel with The Samuel Wilson’s Loan Trust, a charitable organisation which grants business loans to younger people for establishing and developing start-up businesses, in order to help her expand the business further.
Stephanie said: “I launched my business, StephanieAnn Design, last year after taking part in the Enterprise programme. I can’t explain how beneficial I found the support from The Trust, in particular the guidance from my business mentor. She provided me with support every step of the way, sharing feedback on designs and market research, and encouraging me to keep going. She has become like family to me.
“The support from The Prince’s Trust has helped me to persevere, as going it alone and launching your own business isn’t easy. In particular, I have struggled with my mental health and self-esteem, and was diagnosed with depression last year. The Prince’s Trust was consistently supportive, and can safely say that without The Trust I wouldn’t have launched my business.
“In June this year, I heard about the opportunity to apply for a business growth loan with The Prince’s Trust and The Samuel Wilson’s Loan Trust, and jumped at the opportunity to secure additional funding to enable my business to grow.
“After presenting my business plan to a panel, it was fantastic to find out I had secured the funding, and already I’m seeing new doors opening. Business is going well and sales are up 200 per cent on last year, and I’m beating my monthly sales targets every month. I’ve upgraded my packaging and created new designs and products. I have also hired a retail consultant, who is helping me secure new clients and contracts. Most recently, this has included a very exciting supplier contract with Fortnum & Mason’s.
A spokesperson from The Samuel Wilson’s Loan Trust, which is run by the City of London Corporation, said: “We are delighted to hear about the exciting developments with Stephanie’s business, following her successful application for a business growth loan from Samuel Wilson’s Loan Trust.
“Being able to support ambitious and creative young entrepreneurs like Stephanie, is exactly why we have partnered with The Prince’s Trust to provide low interest business growth loans. We look forward to working with more creative and innovative businesses in the months to come, supporting sustainable business growth and young entrepreneurs.”
To find out more about The Prince’s Trust Enterprise programme and opportunities available, visit The Prince’s Trust website or call 0800 842 842.