The Prince of Wales is celebrating 21 years of Duchy Originals, which started with an oaten biscuit and now includes 230 products.
Prince Charles hosted a reception at Clarence House yesterday to mark the birthday of the brand, which has led to more than £11 million being contributed to charitable causes from company profits.
Although the original oat biscuit is now sold in more than 30 countries, it had a difficult start. The formula for the biscuit took 18 months to perfect, with the ingredients, flavour, shape and consistency all the subject of experimentation. More than 100 recipes were tried before one was chosen, and the last job was figuring out a way of stamping the Duchy logo on the biscuit.
Today it is sold in more than 30 countries and over 700 million biscuits have been made.
Important principles were behind the Prince’s decision to make a biscuit. He said he wanted to show "it was possible to produce food of the highest quality by working in harmony with nature in a way that would benefit environmental and human health".
The Prince of Wales’s charities have helped create more than 125,000 entrepreneurs in the UK and overseas and 80,000 young people start up in business, newly released figures show.
Details of the extent of the help Charles’s charities have provided were released as the Prince marks 21 years of Duchy Originals products and as he meets some of the thousands of people who have been helped and supported in recent years at a series of engagements this week.
Later today the first in line to the throne will host a reception for the global network of Youth Business International (YBI) while tomorrow he will officially open the Prince’s Trust’s new retail space in central London.
Tomorrow’s Store will sell goods designed and created by young businesses supported by the charity and Charles will meet staff and young people who have been involved and see examples of the products they produce.
Later on he will host a reception to celebrate the Prince’s Initiative for Mature Enterprise (PRIME), which helps entrepreneurs over 50 and on Wednesday he and the Duchess of Cornwall will put on a reception to celebrate the Duchy Originals milestone.
The Prince has been committed to helping young people into enterprise for decades. He established the Prince’s Trust in 1976 when he was himself in his 20s but it was not until the aftermath of the 1981 riots in Brixton and Toxteth that the charity began to help disadvantaged young people into self-employment.
Since then Charles has established a number of other charities focused on creating entrepreneurs, providing business support, mentoring and training.
Carphone Warehouse chairman and chairman of the Prince’s Trust, Sir Charles Dunstone, said: "His Royal Highness has led the way and has consistently been responsible for creating more opportunities and giving more of a chance to young entrepreneurs than anyone else over the years.
"These figures present just a snapshot of the number of lives that have been changed as a result of HRH’s work and do not reflect the knock on effect as many of these individuals also go on to help or employ other people."
Pierre Nanterme, chairman and chief executive of Accenture and supporter of YBI, said: "Accenture shares the Prince of Wales’s passion for building skills and for the impact those skills have on people, businesses, markets and communities around the world.
"Teaming with Youth Business International has been a great opportunity to support young entrepreneurs, helping them sharpen their business skills and build their enterprises."
Jo Malone, entrepreneur and PRIME supporter, said: "The Prince of Wales’s support for over-50s trying to start their own businesses is a wonderful initiative.
"As an entrepreneur, building my second business at the age of 50, I know that making the leap from employee to employer is an exciting but often challenging time. By recognising this, PRIME provides advice and contacts to help build confidence and inspire new start-up ventures throughout the UK."
Founded in 2000, YBI has helped entrepreneurs establish more than 21,000 businesses in the last three years across 37 countries that are expected to create 75,000 jobs.
This month marks 21 years since the first Duchy Originals product, the oaten biscuit, went on sale. Since then it has expanded to 230 products with a proportion of profits going to charity and £11 million raised so far.