- Video report by ITV News Royal Editor Chris Ship
When Prince Andrew launched his very first business summit to help Britain’s band of start ups and entrepreneurs, the word Brexit wasn’t even invented.
And yet today, on the fifth anniversary of his scheme Pitch at Palace, the Duke of York told us that the country’s entrepreneurs have to make a success of leaving the EU.
Brexit “makes no difference” to these entrepreneurs he said.
Do you think they can work their way through Brexit?, I asked him.
“They are going to have to work through whatever circumstances there are out there,” the Duke replied.
The Duke of York spoke as he announced the Pitch programme has created 6,000 jobs and helped more than 900 start-ups with £1 billion worth of investment.
It’s a simple idea and has been compared to the TV series Dragons Den (a comparison he’s doesn’t like for reasons I will come to) but in essence it works like this: in a room at St James’ Palace the entrepreneurs with ideas pitch to business leaders with money and experience.
And connections happen.
And the connections, more often than not lead to success.
As Prince Andrew put it when I asked about the uncertainty around Brexit: ”The business that we see could be successful either inside a large internal market or operating in an even larger external market.
"So, there are swings and roundabouts to all these sorts of things.”
- Prince Andrew on President Trump's State visit
The Prince also had a ringside seat last week when another businessman came to London - the US President Donald Trump.
“It was setting the message that the relationship is solid, is good, and we hope it will continue regardless of whether we stay in or leave the European Union.”
Of all the business schemes the Duke has been involved in over many years – some not without criticism – he appears to have found, with Pitch at Palace, a formula which works.
Ever used the app in the coffee chain Caffè Nero?
It came about after one of the very first Pitch at Palaces – when the developers of the app met the boss of the company.
And there was another round of pitches being made on Wednesday (two buglers in scarlet tunics from the Grenadier Guards will sound if any of them go over your 30 second slot).
“Is it like TV’s Dragons Den?” I asked the Duke.
He shook his head.
“No, no no”, he replied.
“There are no dragons and no sharks here.
"We work collaboratively.
"I want everybody to work together to support these businesses.”