We caught up with Brook Tate, a young entrepreneur, to find out how the Enterprising West of England (EWoE) and Prince's Trust have helped his painting business launch and thrive.
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My name is Brook Tate and I'm a painter, musician and writer.
I moved to Bristol to study nursing at the University of the West of England. I was painting in my spare time and writing music and performing.
The first painting that I painted properly, that made an impact, was a painting called 'Hannah' and I was selling them for about £15 because I didn't really know how much to sell them for! Someone said you should get in touch with the Prince's Trust, so I applied for the enterprise course. From that I realised that this could become a business. I didn't see it as a business before, it was just a hobby and I was like well if I can sell the painting then that's great but I didn't see it as a business as such. And yeah, I've learnt so much.
When I got to the course I hadn't been to something like that for quite a while and it was just a breakdown of like what's your audience and what marketing strategies would you use - I've never considered anything like this. Financial, size, tax and what kind of business you are, and all of this, was sort of new to me. Half of it was going over my head but I was like "Come on, I need to learn this" and it was like "Okay, there's so much here that I can learn and I can put into practice". It was kind of slowly building from around one painting over those four days and my whole mindset changed, and I was like "Yeah! I think I can do this!"
I wrote a business plan and I got a mentor. Met him and we chat and we had a chat and I was saying how I like to do this, not just music, and I like to do books and drama. He was like, right, well I'll just help you with your painting for now and it's use that as your product. And that relationship built and we planned going forward what markets am I going to turn up to - I got £250 to put towards my first art fair.
So this painting is going to London which is a big milestone for me.
The latest thing that I've written was a book called Mr. Maglumb. Cutting a long story short, that's now being developed into a musical with the Bristol Old Vic which is very exciting.
The support I've received from the Prince's Trust and the ERDF has changed my life really, without sounding too dramatic, but it has. I think we grow up thinking that we can't do something that we enjoy as a job or without degree or without some extensive years studying. We can't have that as a job and it can't be our source of income, whereas through the Prince's Trust, even with the slightest seed of an idea, you can go along and you'll talk to people. Just the skills that you attain there and they give the tools to build your own business. If you have any sort of vision, or if you feel like you don't know what that vision is but you feel like you've got some little fire, they've [Prince's Trust] have got the engines that can drive that energy into the right direction.
So this is one of the books that I've written called "Theresa the tree". It's just about trying be brave and be hopeful and never forget:
"You can if you try, don't say 'can't' say 'can't yet'!
"Hurrah!" Shouted Pip.
"We made it! "You thought that you couldn't but look where you are!"