Failed pop stars became successful media entrepreneurs with charity’s backing

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THE PRINCE’S Trust hosted a lunch for Yorkshire business leaders yesterday in the gardens of a Victorian manor house owned by a media production agency founded in 1987 with the help of a £2,000 bursary from the charity.

Mezzo Group founders Mark Platts and Mike Scott invited members of the trust’s Yorkshire leadership group to hear the story of how they started their business.

Martin Jones, commercial manager at iPOS.tv, Mike Scott, chairman of Mezzo Group and Mark Platts, chief executive of Mezzo Group.

Martin Jones, commercial manager at iPOS.tv, Mike Scott, chairman of Mezzo Group and Mark Platts, chief executive of Mezzo Group.

Mr Platts said the company came out of the pop industry; he and Mr Scott were “failed pop stars” who despite managing a number three hit in Italy did not experience commercial success in the UK.

“We looked at other areas where we could turn our music into some kind of career,” he said.

They decided to produce music for conferences, corporate videos and TV commercials and found they were successful at delivering what their customers wanted.

The company turned to the trust again in 1990 for a £5,000 soft loan to help them buy a commercial property for their business.

With help from NatWest, “it created the platform to become a true business rather than a cottage industry”, said Mr Platts.

Mezzo expanded into video production and grew into an internal and external communications agency with national and international clients.

The company has a turnover of £3m and is headquartered in a leafy side street of Headingley in Leeds.

It is finding its video production skills in strong demand from corporates keen to host online video content to win new customers.

Mr Platts said when Mezzo reached its 25th anniversary the management decided to get in touch with the Prince’s Trust again. The founders decided to join the Yorkshire leadership group last year.

This collection of entrepreneurs is dedicated to supporting disadvantaged young people who want to become self-employed.

The group holds lunches three or four times a year and allows members to visit interesting businesses in the region.

Richard Jackson, chairman of the Prince’s Trust in Yorkshire, said the charity raises £2m a year and helped nearly 5,000 young people last year.

The charity, whose president is the Prince of Wales, helped establish 120 start-ups in Yorkshire in 2013.