Inspirational Usman Dawood nominated for business award

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Usman Dawood was 14 when his father was murdered in India.

His dad and two of his relatives were killed when they were caught up in bloody riots between Hindus and Muslims while holidaying in Gujarat in 2002.

The deaths caused his family, from Batley, to spiral into grief and poverty and Usman, now 28, struggled with severe depression and anxiety.

He said: “I felt like my whole life just stopped. There was no way forward.

“I was very depressed. I was angry and didn’t trust anybody.

“I lost friends, left school and couldn’t hold on to a proper job for long.”

Learning new things was an escape for Usman.

He channelled his emotion into plans to create a business, developing his knowledge through online tutorials.

It was through this he discovered The Prince’s Trust, a charity which gives disadvantaged and unemployed young people the skills and confidence to find a job, and signed up to a four-day enterprise course.

Now, Usman has been nominated for an award for his business achievements.

Usman fulfilled his entrepreneurial ambition to open photography company Sonder Creative, with the help of a £3,250 loan and a business mentor from the trust.

Within five months, he was working full time as a photographer capturing beautiful shots of interiors and architecture.

He now has several profitable contracts, two part time staff and plans for expansion.

Usman is one of just three people from Yorkshire and the Humber to be nominated for the NatWest Enterprise Award at the Prince’s Trust and Samsung Celebrate Success Awards, taking place in Leeds next week.

The award recognises the success of young people who have overcome serious difficulties to create a sustainable business or social enterprise.

For Usman, his business is not only a source of income but it helped him re-find his identity through his grief.

He said: “I used to dread waking up in the morning, but now it’s like a dream.

“The support from The Prince’s Trust has not only helped me through difficult times but also helped me set up Sonder Creative so I can have a future.”