The Yorks

BT refuses to work with firm where Prince Andrew is patron

The Open University via Flickr CC

Multinational telecommunications company, BT, has said it will not work with a firm while the Duke of York remains its patron.

BT’s decision comes in the midst of a major fallout following Prince Andrew’s interview on BBC Newsnight which has been widely described as a ‘car crash.’

In a statement, BT said it had been working with skills training firm iDEA since 2017, however added that their dealings “have been with its executive directors not its patron, the Duke of York”.

A spokesperson said: “In light of recent developments we are reviewing our relationship with the organisation and hope that we might be able to work further with them, in the event of a change in their patronage.”

The news of BT’s reluctance to work with the Duke comes only days after two major organisations announced they were to end their sponsorship of HRH’s Pitch@Palace project.

Accountancy firm KPMG and Standard Chartered Bank were some of the first companies to sponsor the Duke’s Pitch@Palace event since the project began five years ago.

The decision to cancel their sponsorship is as a result of the negative publicity surrounding Prince Andrew since the death of Jeffrey Epstein.

Buckingham Palace said in a statement: “KPMG’s sponsorship contract with Pitch@Palace ended at the end of October. A full programme of Pitch@Palace events is continuing across the United Kingdom.”

Pitch@Palace is a scheme organised by Prince Andrew. It gives support, advice, and mentorship to budding entrepreneurs. Those selected go on a boot camp and receive advice on how to hone their pitch – so when faced with a situation like “Dragons Den” they can answer with confidence and give a reasoned response. 

All those invited to the boot camp, get to go to the final event held at St James’s Palace – hence the title; the best ones getting to actually pitch directly to some of the movers and shakers of technology, media and investment together with other entrepreneurs.

The scheme covers more than just how to sell yourself with the pitch, it also gives help and assistance with investment, introductions to the right people and strategic guidance on how to get the best from your idea. They can also advise with what they took away from their boot camp, and perhaps more importantly – what benefit they gained and are continuing to gain from being on Pitch@Palace.

Other sponsors of the scheme who still support the project include Barclays, Cisco Systems, AstraZeneca and Inmarsat – some of which are also reviewing their positions.