The Prince’s Trust and NatWest have announced the launch of a £5 million fund to help young entrepreneurs across the UK to keep their businesses afloat during the coronavirus crisis.

The Prince’s Trust and NatWest Enterprise Grant Fund is available to entrepreneurs aged 18-30, who can apply for grants and tailored support from today.

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Grants can be used to maintain core business operations during the crisis, as well as meet any existing financial commitments, such as paying for essential equipment or settling invoices from suppliers. In conjunction with these grants, the initiative will also offer one-to-one support and guidance to applicants who need it.

To be eligible, businesses must have started up in the last four years and be run by someone aged 18 to 30.

Young people who are in the process of starting a business and don’t have any other source of income during the crisis are also eligible to apply for a grant.

Jonathan Townsend, Interim UK Chief Executive of The Prince’s Trust said: “It is more important than ever to encourage and protect the entrepreneurial spirit of young people in the UK. Small and medium sized businesses make up most of this country’s economy and we need the next generation of entrepreneurs to come out fighting on the other side of this crisis. The challenge, in the short term, is that many young entrepreneurs whose business models are ordinarily completely viable are now suffering a considerable loss of income during this unprecedented economic time.

“That’s why this new fund is so crucial; it’s a lifeline that will help these businesses make it through the challenging time ahead. It compliments support from the government and allows us to provide grants to those who need it most.”