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Prince’s cash helps Vincent create £1m business success

PUBLISHED: 14:02 27 May 2008 | UPDATED: 13:19 05 October 2010

Vincent with his £1m a year business in Poplar

Vincent with his £1m a year business in Poplar

TEENAGER Vincent Jelinek was a traveller from a poor Irish family with little hope of improving his lot. Just 10 years on, he runs a successful interior design and furnishing business in London’s East End with a £1 million turnover. He’s been such a success that the Chancellor Alistair Darling made a beeline for his booming studio-workshop as part of last week’s 25th anniversary of The Prince’s Trust Business Programme.

By Mike Brooke

TEENAGER Vincent Jelinek was a traveller from a poor Irish family with little hope of improving his lot.

Today, just 10 years on, he runs a successful interior design and furnishing business in London's East End with a £1 million turnover.

He's been such a success that the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Alistair Darling, made a beeline for his booming studio-workshop in Poplar.

The Chancellor's visit was part of last week's 25th anniversary of The Prince's Trust Business Programme.

It was the programme that got Vincent off the ground with cash in 2005 when no-one else seemed willing to help.

The Trust helps emerging entrepreneurs set themselves up through loans and grants. Many have gone on to become highly successful, like Vincent who is managing director of Increation, a company in Pixley-street he set up to create bespoke interiors.

Vincent decided at the age of 15 to turn his life around.

"I wanted more out of life," he recalls. "I didn't want to end up being a 'waster.'

"But there were no strong role models. Most people I knew were on drugs and uninspired.

"I moved away, found a place to stay and enrolled in college. I signed up for a furniture-making course as that was the only thing I knew how to do."

Vincent graduated with a BTEC vocational qualification, but found himself back in a similar situation to the one he had come from, living in a small place in Dalston where he was hanging out with people who were "going nowhere fast" in life.

"I had to get out of that," Vincent added. "I had a business idea and definitely knew I had the potential to succeed.

"But I needed some help and money to start up."

He approached The Prince's Trust, but admits writing a 'really unrealistic' business plan.

"I had no experience, no knowledge, no anything really," he said.

"But they backed me anyway. They take risks where others wouldn't.

"Once I'd received money from the Prince's Trust, others helped, like the bank."

His first workshop was in a dingy basement, but he persuaded the landlord to give it to him rent-free for two years if he did it up.

"I had no experience and didn't know much about the market place," he remembers.

"We had stiff competition, but now we're turning over £1 million a year."

Vincent is one of the shining lights of The Prince's Trust Business Programme begun in 1983 which has been a 'last chance' for those who can't get the help anywhere else for that first step on the business ladder.

The trust gets through £1 million a month supporting the young entrepreneurs of the future and constantly needs its own funding if it is to make the next 25 years as successful as the last.

mike.brooke@archant.co.uk


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