The Prince's Lead Your Own Business Program

Supporting ADF personnel to start a Small Business or Consultancy

Underpinned by the nationally accredited Certificate IV in New Small Business, the program will build upon the intensive training skills, self-discipline, resilience and commitment to excellence developed and matured through participants’ military service in the Australian Defence Force.

I can only say how pleased and proud I am that my Prince’s Trust Australia has created this program tailored to the particular needs of Australian Defence members as budding entrepreneurs. 

H.R.H. The Prince of Wales, Colonel-in-Chief, Royal Australian Armoured Corps

Certificate IV in New Small Business

This nationally accredited program targets transitioning Defence personnel who are seeking to start, or who have recently established their own small business. It includes ten units of competency and at the conclusion of the program participants will have developed a full business plan in readiness for implementation of their business.

RMIT University has extensive experience in providing successful business start-up training, coaching and mentoring and contextualised program delivery to a wide range of industry clients. In consultation with The Prince’s Trust Australia, and in alignment with Australian Defence Force (ADF) values, the University has designed the following program structure and delivery model to meet the learning requirements and desired outcomes for ADF members.

Delivery Style

The three-part customised delivery model blends activities and sequences units to reflect RMIT University’s commitment to adult learning principles. The aim is to provide participants with a positive learning experience that:

  • acknowledges and builds upon existing skills and knowledge
  • acknowledges that people learn in different ways
  • incorporates opportunities for practice and application of new skills and knowledge
  • maximises opportunities to articulate and share experiences
  • acknowledges that people learn best by doing
  • encourages participants to become independent and lifelong learners

Course Structure

Pre-course Program

Learning materials and guidance from a skilled assessment panel of business advisors and mentors will assist participants to build upon their identified business idea and develop their business plan.

Experienced facilitators will work with each participant (either virtually through an online learning management system or via direct phone contact) to hone their business idea, answer questions and most importantly build confidence and allay any concerns or reservations participants may have as they commence the transition from military service to self-employment.

A series of mini projects will require participants to, for example, obtain a broad spectrum of licences, permits and other regulatory requirements relevant to their business, geographic/local government area, and industry/business type.

Successful completion of a number of preliminary mini projects will demonstrate achievement in the first unit of competency in the Certificate IV in New Small Business and work towards completion of their business plan. Further development of the business plan will occur both during and post the residential week. 

Residential Program

The seven-day Residential Program (limited to 25 participants) will be based at the ‘simulated business space’ located within RMIT University’s Swanston Academic Building in the Melbourne CBD. It is a fully designed business setting, complete with reception desk, meeting rooms and the latest office technology. Participants will be provided quality accommodation in city apartments within five minutes’ walk of the university campus.

The Residential Program features workshops and presentations from experts in the field designed to facilitate understanding whilst ensuring a practical focus and the identification of effective strategies and mechanisms for starting up and operating new businesses.

High calibre business mentors will be on hand to provide direction, constructive feedback and strategies for applying new learnings to real world situations. Where necessary, additional links to external networks and entrepreneurs will be identified to assist each participant devise a clear strategy that will bring their business plan to fruition.

Critically, the Residential Program will allow participants to network and engage with RMIT University graduates who have recently travelled the road to enterprise formation.

Post Residential Program

The capstone of The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business program is the post-residential component, a 12-month period of mentoring and learning, which provides the ongoing support and guidance needed to give participants the edge in starting and maintaining a successful small business.

Each participant will develop an individualised ‘Learning Plan’ which will tailor specific projects, expected outcomes, corresponding timelines, mentoring and online collaboration sessions to both the final assessment requirements and the needs of their individual business plan.

The 12-month Post Residential Program culminates in the assessment of the final units of competency and participants who have met all the requirements of each assessment will be awarded the Certificate IV in New Small Business.

How The Prince of Wales is involved

His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales has a long-standing commitment to the Australian Defence Force, for whom he serves as Colonel-in-Chief, Royal Australian Armoured Corps, a position he has held since 1977. Likewise, Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is Colonel-in-Chief to the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police which she accepted in 2012. The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business program is a tangible expression of His Royal Highness’ concern for the welfare of those who have served in the Forces and their families.

The Prince’s Trust Australia

The Prince of Wales’s charitable entrepreneurship has touched people from all walks of life. Some of the most prominent issues with which His Royal Highness has been associated are the nurturing of corporate social responsibility and business innovation, addressing youth disadvantage, the preservation and transmission of traditional skills, arts and trades, promoting harmony and understanding between cultures and faiths, and the protection, enhancement and sustainability of the natural and built environment.

The Prince’s Trust Australia was established to provide a coordinating presence for The Prince of Wales’ Australian charitable endeavours. The Prince’s Trust Australia is governed by a board of eminent Australians from a diverse range of backgrounds including business, defence, education and the community sector.


The program costs $9,000 AUD per participant inclusive of course participation, travel and accommodation. Each participant is expected to contribute $1,000 AUD to the cost of their participation in the program.

The remaining balance of the fee ($8,000 AUD) has been generously funded by The Prince’s Trust Australia, sponsors and donors of The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business program. Successful applicants will be required to facilitate their $1,000 AUD payment via RMIT University.

A limited number of full scholarships for the program are available upon application.


The program has been created in particular for Defence personnel in transition, including up to 24 months post-transition. The program has been designed with the integrity and commitment to ADF values and the needs of transiting personnel and those who have recently transitioned.

You will also be considering commencing your own business upon transition and be willing and able to commit to the requirements and dates of the program including the residential at RMIT University.

Selection criteria

Selection for the program will be through your submission of the application form and Business Proposal. Your application will be reviewed by an independent panel from which, a member of the panel may subsequently call you to clarify any questions raised about your application.

Business Proposal

The selection criteria for program applications include an analysis of your business proposal, focusing on the following elements:

  • Stage of business – new, existing, or hobby business for expanding.
  • Independent - sole business, life partner or others involved in the business.
  • Reputable (capable of withstanding public scrutiny).
  • Lawful business practices.
  • Established, located and operated solely within Australia or international context.
  • Financially viable within 12 months – is the business financially and realistically viable?
  • Turnover – does it reflect seasonality and a realistic level of business growth? Are all income streams represented?
  • Does marketing support that viability – letter of support/intent, does secondary research indicate a need for the product/service in the marketplace, are there receipts from product testing?
  • Do you have a finalised product/service – product ranges, folio of work, physical examples, illustrations/photography?
  • Do you have the funds or are you able to acquire funds to commence proposed business?
  • Are you aware of or are able to meet regulatory requirements?

How to apply

You are required to complete the application form to be considered for The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business program.

Section A: Personal details

Section B: Service-related details

Section C: Business Proposal

Download the Application Form (PDF 1.7MB)

Submitting your application

Your application, with all required attachments, must be submitted to the RMIT Business Enterprise Unit (BEU) in person, by email (, or by post to The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business program (Attn: Brett Stavenuiter), RMIT Business Enterprise Unit, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne VIC 3001.

If your Business Proposal is complete, the RMIT BEU office will acknowledge receipt of your application and pass your application to Prince's Trust Australia. If more information is required, you will be contacted via email.

It will assist your application if you can provide:

  • Any supporting documentation outlined in your business proposal
  • Examples of product / service proposed

Applications have now closed for the 2017 program. Applications are open for the 2018 program. The deadline for the 2018 program is 5pm on Friday 2 March 2018.

A further schedule of events related to the program can be found at

You are encouraged to contact the RMIT Business Enterprise Unit at any stage should you require additional information via email or telephone +61 3 9925 5659.


The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business program is an initiative offered by The Prince’s Trust Australia. The Principal Sponsor is the Pratt Foundation along with Defence Housing Australia and the Commonwealth Bank as the program’s corporate partners. The education provider is RMIT University.

The Prince’s Lead Your Own Business Advisory Council

Chairman of Advisory Council

  • His Excellency General The Honourable David Hurley AC DSC (Ret’d) Governor of New South Wales

Advisory Council Members

  • Rear Admiral Brett Wolski AM – Head People Capability, Australian Defence Force
  • Air Commodore Robert Brown AM – Chairman, A.D.F. Financial Services Consumer Centre
  • Peter Evans – Chairman, Defence in Business
  • Maree Sirois – National Convenor, Defence Families Australia
  • Craig Fitzgerald – Director Operations, Aspen Medical
  • Professor David Forbes PhD – Director, Phoenix Australia – Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
  • Major General Gerard Fogarty AO (Ret'd) – Chief Executive, Defence Health
  • Stephen Koss – Partner, Advisory, EY
  • Sean Farrell – Chief Executive, Bravery Trust
  • Gary Hogan AM, CSC – Policy Officer (Defence), Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources
  • Robert Joske OAM – Founder and Managing Director, Joske Management

Key contacts

RMIT University
College of Business - Business Enterprise Unit 
445 Swanston Street
Melbourne VIC 3000
Tel. +61 3 9925 5659
Fax + 61 3 9925 2707


The RMIT University Advantage

RMIT University is a global university of technology and design and Australia’s largest tertiary institution. The University has an international reputation for excellence and our graduates are among the biggest names in their fields. Participants in this program will benefit from links with some of the world’s leading companies and the University’s cornerstone commitments to industry relevant education and fostering enterprise formation. 

Support for Participants

Participants of the Lead Your Own Business program will have access to a wide variety of university resources and services:

  • Study and Learning Centre
  • Learning Lab
  • Library facilities
  • Student Services
  • Career Development and Employment Service
  • Chaplaincy
  • Counselling
  • Disability Liaison Unit
  • Health Services and advice
  • Ngarara Willim Indigenous Centre

RMIT University has a team of counsellors, all of whom are registered psychologists. As an enrolled student at the University, The Prince's Lead Your Own Business program participants can access counselling services free of charge. After discussion and assessment, counsellors can provide referrals to other specialist services if requested and will source a suitable specialist anywhere within Australia. Counsellors will always discuss the referral with a student and if appropriate, continue to support the student until the referral is organised.


The Residential Program will be held at the Swanston Academic Building where innovative learning spaces are interspersed with retail and social spaces resulting in a stimulating environment for participants.

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Acknowledgement of country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nations on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.

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