The Prince's Initiative for Mature Enterprise.

Ambition has no age limit

Are you over the age of 50?

Would you like to start up your own business but not sure how to do it?

Are you unemployed or facing the prospect of being made redundant and would like to know how to get into self-employment?

If you have answered yes to any of these questions then the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (The Prince’s Initiative) might be the charity for you.

The Prince’s Initiative was established in 1999 by HRH The Prince of Wales in his 50th year in response to letters he was receiving from people who wanted to work but were unable to find anyone to employ them, simply because of their age.

Statistics on unemployment.

As of writing this introduction, the latest statistics from the Office for National Statistics suggests the employment market is buoyant as the number of people in work has increased to 29.73 million and the unemployment rate has gone down to 7.8%. 

While this is good news, we need to ask whether these statistics help represent the situation of people over the age of 50?

There are more than 21 million people in the UK who are over the age of 50. Out of this total, 8.6 million are in employment (29% of the workforce), 389,000 are unemployed and there are 3.4 million people aged between 50 and 64 who are defined as economically inactive, i.e. people who are neither in work nor seeking employment. 

If we look at these figures again, we have a missing 11 million people who are not working. Granted, a few of these people will be not in a position to work due to disabilities or health-related reasons and maybe some have taken early retirement but that is a significant amount of people who might like to work and help contribute to the economy. 

The only charity to help the over 50's into self-employment.

Having become a registered charity in 2005, The Prince’s Initiative is the only national charity dedicated to helping mature people who are unemployed or facing redundancy explore how to set-up a business as a viable route into sustainable employment.

 The UK prides itself on its entrepreneurial profile and the number of self-employed workers in the UK has increased at just over 4.2m. We believe that this is good news for the over 50s as it demonstrates that it is possible for anyone to start up their own business and gain sustainable employment – whatever your age.

 As expected, the 35 to 49 age group makes the biggest contribution to the number of self-employed workers but the second highest contributor to the self-employment numbers was the 50 to 64 age group with around 1.4 million and interestingly, there are 345,000 workers who are 65 and older who consider themselves as self-employed.

How we can help.

Since 1999, The Prince’s Initiative has gone onto help more than 25,000 over 50s explore the possibility of self-employment and today the charity offers several key initiatives.

Members of the public can access a plethora of online resources through the charity’s website, such as how to write a business plan and how to navigate around tax and accountancy issues.

Then The Prince’s Initiative facilitates business training courses located across the country, delivered over six to eight weeks, including three classroom days, where we take people through the challenging process of preparing to run their own business, covering areas such as researching a business idea and how to market and sell a product or service. 

Then there are regular networking events across the UK, open to all over 50 entrepreneurs to come and share their stories and The Prince’s Initiative also helps match our clients with business mentors, who can provide guidance and advice on how to grow a successful business. 

A Success story

Steve Lapworth is a good example of the help we have provided. Following a successful career as a teacher and then a council-based education officer, Steve went on our one of training course and has since set up Interact Arts.

His new venture offers drama workshops to vulnerable groups to help build personal and social skills, such as people with learning disabilities and young offenders, and Steve has since gone on to secure a £4,000 Millennium Award to further help set up his social enterprise. 

Our philosophy at PRIME

We firmly believe that mature workers have the right skills and experience and shouldn't be denied equal opportunities in the employment market.

Whether it is our on-line resources, training courses or networking events, we are helping to mobilise a significant number of people to have the confidence to venture out and start a new business as a viable route into sustainable employment– the same people who often find themselves in challenging situations simply because of their age.


For more information on The Prince’s Initiative: or by telephoning 0845 862 2023. @charityPRIME (

If you enjoyed the article on The Prince's Initiative then you might like to link to the self-employment questionnaire.

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