About Us

Our Story


London Youth Support Trust (LYST) was established in 2000 with a simple aim: to break down the barriers young entrepreneurs from deprived backgrounds face when starting their own business; these included a lack of affordable workspace, finance, advice and support. We opened an enterprise centre in Deptford in 2001 to house a small number of businesses. We provided them with an affordable business unit over a 2 year period (subsidising their rent). The centre was run by a manager who could provide business advice, mentoring and co-ordinate specialist training.
We continue to offer this model of support and we currently operate from 5 enterprise centres across London.



Today we run centres in Southwark, Haringey and Merton. We have also expanded our model to 4 cities nationwide, helping to establish centres in Merseyside, Telford, Hull and Dundee.


We are a charity with bold aspirations. In 2017, the trustees set out a strategic objective to open 3 new enterprise centres in London by the end of 2020, enabling us to double the number of young people that we support. With the opening of the Merton centre in early 2018 and a new centre in West London in the pipeline, we are well on our way to achieving our goals.


Our vision and mission

Our vision

We believe that success in enterprise should be defined by hard work and talent, not by race, gender or circumstance.

Our mission

Our mission is simple – empowering entrepreneurs from challenged backgrounds to achieve their potential by providing them with the workspace, advice and mentoring they need to start a business.


We support young entrepreneurs aged 18-30 from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.

How do we help?


We run enterprise centres in deprived parts of London from which we incubate young businesses. We subsidise the rent for two years, so that our entrepreneurs can focus on growing their business.


As well as our onsite centre managers, who play a key role in providing daily support, each entrepreneur is allocated a mentor.


We create environments where our young entrepreneurs can meet and connect with each other on a daily basis. If they need a service, advice or inspiration, they can knock on their neighbour’s door, speak to one of our managers or mentors, or attend one of our regular networking events.