The story comes full circle: Cognassist CEO, gives back to The Prince’s Trust
This December, Geordie entrepreneur, Chris Quickfall, will be donating £10,000 to The Prince’s Trust as part of The Big Give Christmas Challenge. The Big Give will match his donation, so £20,000 will go directly towards the Young People Relief Fund to support young people in the North East.
This donation represents a milestone with personal significance, as Quickfall himself is one of the alumni of The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme in the North East from 2006.
He recounts the story, “When I wanted to start Invate, I didn’t have any money because I was a penniless graduate, so I sold my PlayStation on eBay for about £150, which gave me the start-up capital to register a business.
However, I couldn’t get the money to facilitate the first purchases of stock to sell because I couldn’t get any credit. The regional development agencies wouldn’t support me, but the Prince’s Trust gave me a grant of £500 and a loan of £2,500.
With the support of The Prince’s Trust, I then reapproached the organisations that knocked my idea and I back for previous loans and asked why they weren’t prepared to support me when The Prince’s Trust was. Once I had the Prince’s Trust name behind us, I got another £10,000 from one the regional development agencies.
It was through the Prince’s Trust that I could demonstrate confidence to third parties. I think it’s almost that nobody wants to be the first person to sign off on somebody and because of that I couldn’t raise the money I needed to start a business. But The Prince’s Trust took the risk of going first, and others followed.”
This little seed funding from The Prince Trust turned into £260,000 in the first year. It launched a business career, in which Quickfall has founded four businesses, and helped to create more than 100 jobs across the UK to date.
Clare Crabb, Director for the North of England at The Prince’s Trust spoke about what stories like Chris’ mean to the charity, “Seeing how our support helped Chris Quickfall transform his idea into a successful business is immensely rewarding, particularly given that his latest enterprise Cognassist supports neurodivergent learners. At The Prince’s Trust, we’re passionate about breaking down barriers to education and employment, and it is inspiring to see an alumnus not only drive this commitment in his own work, but also choose to give back and support the Trust’s mission.
“The harsh reality is that young people in the North East are facing disruptions to their futures on a greater scale than in living memory. That’s why we’re thrilled to receive this generous donation from Chris for our Young People Relief Fund. The Prince’s Trust helps young people build their confidence and skills and access jobs, education and training – and of course, will empower the entrepreneurs of the future, the same way it did for Chris 14 years ago.”
Quickfall’s closing statement says it all, “Giving back to The Prince’s Trust feels like closing that loop, which they kicked off. It’s a great feeling to give to the organisation that gave so much to me. It’s always been a charity I feel closely aligns to what I do now across my companies, putting young people into education and employment – or their own businesses like me. It’s something I want to pass on, to help other young people like me to get the start they need, the right start.”
Since being diagnosed with Dyslexia at university, Quickfall has been driven to increase inclusion and accessibility within education. Invate, the business seeded by The Prince’s Trust, is now one of the largest disability services companies in Europe. Cognassist is the UK’s leading digital cognitive assessment EdTech platform, working with over 100 of the UK’s best education providers. Its cloud-based platform identifies neurodiversity in 30 minutes, provides personalised learner journeys to increase learner success, and delivers in-depth neurodiversity training, which enable providers to drive real change. Cognassist is on a mission to create a world where no learner is left behind. Cognassist.com