Prince’s Trust & RBS A-Z of Young Businesses: A – Arnold Sebutinde

Arnold Sebutinde, 28, Birmingham
Spontaneous Portraits

While growing up, gangs operated within Arnold’s community and in a desperate bid to fit in with his peers, he found himself falling in with the wrong crowd.

He recalls: “Looking back I was so desperate to fit in and be accepted. It was a desperately unhappy time of my life.”

Things soon got worse and Arnold became further embroiled in gang culture. In 2007 Arnold was sent to prison for conspiracy to rob and served two and half years.

Arnold’s time in prison gave him the chance to reflect on life and what he wanted for his future. Arnold could see the remorse and hurt he was feeling mirrored in the faces of his fellow prisoners and he wanted to help. He’d always had a passion for drawing and realised he could make their time in prison a little easier by drawing portraits for them to send home to friends and family.

Upon release in 2009, Arnold was shocked at the lack of job opportunities there were due to the recession.

Arnold says: “A lot of my friends were being made redundant and I witnessed a few of them turn to crime to help pay the bills – a route I definitely didn’t want to go down. I knew that I’d find it even more difficult to find work because of my criminal record and I started to realise that I could potentially turn my talent into a business.”

It was around this time that he heard about The Prince’s Trust Enterprise Programme and he jumped at the chance to take part and learn about business planning. Arnold went on to present his business idea to The Trust and was thrilled when he received a £2,000 loan and a business mentor to help set up Spontaneous Portraits.

The ongoing recession solidified Arnold’s idea of turning Spontaneous Portraits into a high-end business. Originally his products were sold at a relatively low price but he soon realised how popular his products were. He changed his strategy of selling lots at a low price, to increasing the costs and targeting a higher-end client base – something he credits with the ongoing success of his business,

Spontaneous Portraits is now going from strength to strength and he has expanded from just human portraits into pets, horses, wildlife and architecture. His fan base is growing significantly and Arnold is coming up with a strategy to inspire, nurture and support craftsmanship across all sectors. He aims to assist in the revival of dying crafts and trades.

Arnold says: “Without The Prince’s Trust I really don’t know where I’d be. They gave me the help and support I needed to set up my business and I can’t thank them enough for giving me the chance to have a happy future.”

Youtube channel: www.youtube.com/spontaneousportraits

Website: www.spontaneousportraits.co.uk

Facebook: www.facebook.com/spontaneous.portraits


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Paul Jones

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine, and head of Capital Business Media's automotive division working for clients such as Aston Martin and Infiniti.
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https://bmmagazine.co.uk/

Editor of Business Matters, the UKs largest business magazine, and head of Capital Business Media's automotive division working for clients such as Aston Martin and Infiniti.