London’s young business start-ups get cash boost

Enterprise charity London Youth Support Trust (LYST) has received a £10,000 cash boost to help young entrepreneurs in the capital set up their own businesses.

The funding has been awarded through Stepping Stones Fund, a social investment readiness scheme in partnership between the City of London Corporation’s charitable arm, City Bridge Trust, and UBS.

Established in 2000, the charity helps young entrepreneurs aged 18-30 start and grow successful businesses. It provides affordable business space for two years, as well as advice, support and mentoring.

The grant will be used to increase the number of business centres the charity runs in London. It currently runs four in Tottenham and Southwark. LYST’s business centres are created by transforming underutilised buildings into thriving community enterprise hubs, stimulating the local economy.

Over 1,000 unemployed young people have been helped to start businesses, with 120 currently being supported through LYST’s business centres.

In London, the high levels of commercial rent, coupled with the demand for large deposits, often exclude young people from becoming business-owners. Through subsidised business space, the young entrepreneurs graduate to paying market rent, later moving on and vacating their unit for another start-up.

Over £600,000 has been awarded to support 16 charitable organisations across the capital looking to get their foot on the ladder of the social investment market through the latest round of Stepping Stones.

Grantees range from projects looking to protect the environment and tackle climate change to community initiatives designed to strengthen local employment skills and education.

This brings the total awards given to £2,802,100 to 65 organisations since the launch of the fund in 2015.

Alison Gowman, Chairman of City Bridge Trust, commented:

“This charity supports young people from disadvantaged and deprived areas to flourish into successful business owners, fantastic work which we are proud to fund.

“Our funding will sow the seeds for expansion, helping even more budding young entrepreneurs to receive life changing opportunities.

“City Bridge Trust is committed to tackling disadvantage across the capital and making London a fairer and better place to live.”

Patrick Shelley, CEO of London Youth Support Trust, said:

“London Youth Support Trust’s mission is to make self-employment accessible to all young people with a good idea and the commitment to turn it into reality – regardless of whether they have the money, family background or social networks to help them.

“The Stepping Stones funding will help our charity to create a more sustainable operating model, to become investment ready and ultimately to achieve our aim of opening three further centres in areas of deprivation in London.”

London’s biggest independent grant giver, City Bridge Trust, and UBS launched the Stepping Stones Fund over two years ago to support charities and social enterprises in London who want to access the social investment market. Funding helps organisations develop their ideas, bring in new technical help and get products ready for market. Stepping Stones encourages more of London’s charitable organisations and social enterprises to look how social investment might support their work.

The success of the Stepping Stones Fund is underpinned by a strong partnership between City Bridge Trust and UBS. It is an exciting and effective combination of the Trust’s grant making expertise, and the skills and insights of UBS’ volunteers. The role that the non-profit and private sectors play in working towards the public good is ever more important in the age of a shrinking state.

City Bridge Trust makes grants totalling around £20 million per year towards charitable activity benefitting Greater London.

The charitable funder has awarded more than 7,700 grants totalling over £370 million since it first began in 1995. It helps achieve the City Corporation’s aim of changing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Londoners

The Trust has pledged £1m a year to The Prince’s Trust over ten years, the largest single pledge ever given by the Trust, to address youth unemployment in London

More information on

Case study - Taffy's story

Tafadzwa Murdock (Taffy), aged 21, set up his business We Print Express with the support of LYST. Having previously been affiliated with a gang he recalls life growing up in Brixton as being surrounded by "a lot of negative influences.” An initiative including a £5000 grant was presented to him by LYST and Southwark Council; this marked a turning point in his life, enabling him to get his business off the ground.

He began operating from LYST’s new incubator hub on the Aylesbury Estate (image attached) in September 2016. He says that he has a vision for the future; ‘I want to move to a bigger office and take on 2 members of staff – one to do the printing and one for sales.’

Setting up his business has enabled Taffy to become financially independent and has changed his life for the better: ‘When I started I wasn’t able to do anything for myself – now I can provide for myself. I live with my mum and now I pay her rent and money for bills.’ 


About UBS

UBS provides financial advice and solutions to wealthy, institutional and corporate clients worldwide, as well as private clients in Switzerland. The operational structure of the Group is comprised of our Corporate Centre and five business divisions: Wealth Management, Wealth Management Americas, Personal & Corporate Banking, Asset Management and the Investment Bank. UBS's strategy builds on the strengths of all of its businesses and focuses its efforts on areas in which it excels, while seeking to capitalize on the compelling growth prospects in the businesses and regions in which it operates, in order to generate attractive and sustainable returns for its shareholders. All of its businesses are capital-efficient and benefit from a strong competitive position in their targeted markets.

Full list of grantees:

Age UK East London £45,000

Causeway Irish Housing Association £40,000

Family Action £46,000

Four Corners £37,000

Khulisa £28,500

London Play £20,000

London Youth Support Trust £10,000

Longfield Hall Trust £29,500

Migrant Helpline £45,000

Naked House £45,000

Pure Leapfrog £49,000

St Michaels Fellowship £39,000

Streets of Growth £49,000

Teens and Toddlers £40,000

Trees for Cities £45,000

Women’s Aid £49,000

Media Enquiries

Kristina Drake

Media Officer, City of London Corporation

07710860884 / 020 7332 1125