OCD artist fronts drive to cre­ate young en­trepreneurs

Birmingham Post - - NEWS -

A BIRM­ING­HAM artist has been cho­sen to front a new cam­paign aimed at boost­ing busi­ness start-ups among young peo­ple.

Alexan­der Rhys Board­man is lead­ing the #YouAreTheNext cam­paign along­side youth char­ity The Prince’s Trust and bank NatWest.

The ini­tia­tive is aimed at en­cour­ag­ing young peo­ple to set up in busi­ness.

Mr Board­man, who suf­fers from anx­i­ety and ob­ses­sive com­pul­sive dis­or­der (OCD), had pre­vi­ously worked with the char­ity through its en­ter­prise pro­gramme at a time when he said he felt lost and lack­ing di­rec­tion.

The pro­gramme works with 18 to 30-year-olds to turn their ideas into busi­ness re­al­ity.

Af­ter launch­ing his own busi­ness, Mr Board­man is now sell­ing his art world­wide and his work is cur­rently on show at the Saatchi Gallery in Lon­don and a new book out soon.

He has taken part in a new film to pro­mote the cam­paign.

Mr Board­man said: “I was lack­ing di­rec­tion and felt com­pletely lost be­fore I came to The Prince’s Trust. I suf­fer from OCD and anx­i­ety which means I can find it dif­fi­cult to cope with ev­ery­day life.

“I was able to find a cre­ative out­let where my OCD could ac­tu­ally be turned into a pos­i­tive.

“Paint­ing has al­ways been a way to ex­press my­self and I knew I had tal­ent but un­til I came to The Prince’s Trust I didn’t know how to start a busi- ness or make a liv­ing from my art. I didn’t even know if it was for peo­ple like me.

“I’d never had peo­ple be­lieve in me be­fore and, on top of that, the Prince’s Trust taught me so much.”

Gor­don Mer­rylees, man­ag­ing direc­tor of en­trepreneur­ship at NatWest, added: “Time and again we see the trans­for­ma­tive im­pact of some­one be­liev­ing in your idea and pro­vid­ing the nec­es­sary sup­port sys­tems to val­i­date it, test it and de­velop it into a re­al­ity and into a ca­reer. Selfem­ploy­ment is an em­pow­er­ing op­por­tu­nity for young peo­ple as, what­ever their back­ground, they can carve out a new life for them­selves by do­ing some­thing they love.”

> Birm­ing­ham artist Alexan­der Rhys Board­man is fronting the #YouAreTheNext cam­paign

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