“I DON’T need a business plan. I want to live to 100 and make a million pounds!”
Those were the words of 66-year-old Winchester resident Terry Young, who is angry that the council have thrown out his application for a £1,000 business start-up grant.
The ex-military man sells ‘silk’ flowers on the streets of Winchester from a dustcart, and applied for the money from Winchester City Council to replace his 20-year-old three-piece suit, which he wears everyday on the job complete with a top hat and purple velvet bow tie.
He said: “They asked me ‘what’s your email address’, I said I don’t have one, ‘what’s your business plan’, I don’t have one, ‘what’s your Facebook page’, I don’t have one. I don’t need all these modern things - I’m just on the street, in your face and selling my roses. I’m reliable but they won’t help me because I don’t have a business plan. What is a business plan anyway?”
Mr Young spent £700 on the new cart, and said he could only afford it with the help of Winchester Litter Pickers and Winchester BID, who he says both donated £350. Jeremy France Jewellers and The Bakers Arms both advertise on the cart.
Mr Young added: “I understand where [the council] are coming from but they could be a bit more flexible.”
A city council spokesman said: “The council needs to be fair to all applicants, ensure that council tax payers’ money is used to best effect and maintain a transparent process for determining grants. A business plan is an important element for the potential business and for the council as the grant-maker.”
He added: “This applicant has received support from officers, councillors and the BID in terms of advice and help to get his business moving. He has not been successful in his grant application on this occasion but that is not to say he will not be in the future.”