OCD artist fronts drive to create young entrepreneurs
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