Dragon Steven Bartlett plans a ‘money school’ for the Grenfell community

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Steven Bartlett, Dragons’ Den billionaire investor, is planning a “money school” for the Grenfell Tower community to mentor potential entrepreneurs.

The 30-year-old wants to offer free weekend workshops with other financial advisers after people affected by the June 14, 2017 disaster, which claimed 72 lives, asked him for help.

Many have been developing their own businesses and community organizations. Compensation negotiations in the high court, involving 1,100 people from the Grenfell community demanding compensation from the companies involved in the disastrous redevelopment, as well as the owner of the municipal tower, are also nearing completion. The process could result in payments totaling millions of pounds.

The fire adversely affected more than 85 businesses in the area, according to the Portobello Business Centre, and Bartlett said he became involved with people in the North Kensington community after meeting some of those involved with the football team founded after the fire, Grenfell Athletic.

“Entrepreneurship was everywhere,” he said. “I think everyone else I talked to wanted to start a business. Young people would push me aside and say, ‘Would you mind coming over here and talking about money?’”

Bartlett said: “Some of them received some money in the aftermath of the tragedy for various reasons, and they contacted me asking me to give a workshop in Grenfell. I’m helping them understand taxes, saving, investing, and all that kind of stuff.”

The investor’s move comes as the Grenfell community awaits the conclusions, likely later this year, of a public inquiry, which heard damning evidence of government failures to regulate the construction industry and how companies that made the combustible lining knew how dangerous their products were. were.

Related: Gove admits ‘faulty’ targeting is partly to blame for Grenfell fire

Despite being part of one of Britain’s wealthiest boroughs, North Kensington, where the 24-storey tower is located, is one of the most deprived areas in the country, according to the government’s multiple deprivation index. Bartlett, who grew up in Plymouth and was twice expelled from school, said he wanted to “help young people from disadvantaged backgrounds learn about money in a way that I didn’t as a kid.”

He’s already been advising Bobby Ross, whose father, Steven Power, died in the flat they shared. Ross co-founded Our Power Hub, a community interest business initiative that helps residents living near the tower with free access to events, activities and services, including technology, music, sports, fitness, art and group therapy.

Bartlett presented Grenfell Athletic with two minibuses, donated by Mercedes-Benz, which will be used by local groups including Mind Utd FC, a football team for people struggling with mental health issues.

“He’s going to get more involved now and try to help us grow,” said Joseph John, 31, a chef who runs Mind Utd who escaped the fire through a window with his partner and son. He wants help setting up a community kitchen and said Bartlett would advise on how survivors should best handle compensation payments when they arrive.

Relatives of people who died in the fire have already received payments from funds raised after the fire by the London Emergencies Trust and other organisations, according to Charity Commission records. People who were seriously injured and each household in the tower and in neighboring Grenfell Walk also received payments from fundraising initiatives.

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