X-Forces Enterprise (XFE), together with Greenwich Hospital, A Crown Royal Navy Charity, met with the 2017 cohort from the Naval Families Enterprise Project in Portsmouth on Thursday 12 April 2018.
The event, which was held in the stunning surroundings of the Portsmouth Room at the Portsmouth Guildhall, was sponsored by Kilfrost Ltd and hosted by Solent LEP. It was a reunion for the sixteen members of the 2017 cohort and celebrated their success. It was also the launch-pad for the second programme which will start in September 2018.
The initial project, organised by XFE, covered enterprise learning, business planning, networking as well as on-going support for the naval families. As a proud gold award holder of the Armed Forces Employers Recognition Scheme, XFE is fully committed to supporting military veterans and their families in business, and organises regular courses and initiatives to equip them with the skills, support and mentoring necessary for self-employment.
Greenwich Hospital, partnering XFE in this initiative, is the unique Royal Naval Crown Charity founded in 1694 to support serving and retired Royal Navy seamen and their families. Today it supports beneficiaries through projects which include benevolence, annuities, education, housing, financial resilience, health and well-being, and much more. In 2016-2017, Greenwich Hospital disbursed some £7.5 million through more than 50 separate projects which have assisted over 75,000 Naval Service beneficiaries. The programmes with XFE fulfil the Hospital’s aim of supporting initiatives which provide an upstream, positive impact so as to prevent the need for downstream charitable interventions, helping to set RN personnel and their families on a secure and stable path for the future throughout both their service and subsequent civilian careers.
Hugh Player, Director of Greenwich Hospital said, “We are delighted to have funded this X-Forces’ Business Start-up Workshop which has been uniquely-tailored for Naval families and we look forward to participating in the next Workshop which will take place in Plymouth in September.”
Mr Stephen Morgan MP, Portsmouth South was present for the event together with Steve Futter from Solent LEP, Gary Lydiate, Chief Executive of Kilfrost Ltd and Cllr Michael Cheshire, Leader of the Havant County Council. Joining them were both the XFE and Greenwich Hospital teams and representatives from the MoD, the Service Charities and Associations, Corporates including NatWest, Landmarc and Dell EMC, and beneficiaries.
Ren Kapur MBE, Founder and CEO of XFE, welcomed the 2017 cohorts and guests. She then facilitated an X-Forces Enterprise Case Study panel with beneficiaries John Geden, from Sinah Common Honey; Neel Singh from Dorking Brewery and Neil Hallsworth from Explorer Coffees. The panel showcased successful business start-ups that have benefitted from XFE assistance and support.
Reflecting on the event Ren said, “I am delighted to welcome back our successful cohort from last year. This project is a remarkable achievement, both within XFE and the supporting naval communities. To be able to see the progress and success of the first cohort, and then launch a new cohort to start later this year humbles us and at the same time demonstrates the great support there is from the community. This is a great start and augurs well for a sustainable path for ex-service personnel and their families.”
As Karen Blayney, one of the participants from the first cohort said, “I thoroughly enjoyed the X-Forces Business Start-Up Course and felt inspired from Day One that starting my own business – no matter how small it was actually going to be – was something achievable, challenging in a good way and very exciting. Roger Cawte delivered an organised and informative course with an abundance of humour and inclusiveness for all attendees. I have learnt loads, my business is growing, I’ve made some new friends and I’m now part of an exciting and supportive business networking group. I thoroughly recommend this course for anyone thinking of running their own business.”
In a comment, Gary Lydiate said, “X -Forces Enterprise enables and empowers all ex-service personnel to succeed and thrive in whatever business venture they choose and I’m delighted to be a part of celebrating that success. Given my early career in the Royal Navy, it was absolutely right that Kilfrost supports this event and I’m proud to be a sponsor.”
Col. Andy Deans MBE, Assistant Director Through Life Development at the MoD delivered the closing speech and said that such initiatives are life-changing opportunities for ex-service personnel. The skills gained not only benefit the individuals and their immediate families but their wider communities and the UK’s business community. He concluded by urging beneficiaries to stay informed, offer support and become actively engaged in the project.
To find out more about this year’s programme or to register your interest please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0207 811 3969.
About X-Forces Enterprise
X-Forces Enterprise is an award-winning social initiative which supports the military community, including Service leavers, veterans, military spouses & partners, reservists, cadets and children of forces by acting as a handrail to establish start-ups and for scale-ups. Our support covers the planning, funding, launch and post-launch of a business.
For further information, please contact the Noreen Cesareo on +44 (0) 7787 555651.
T: 0800 368 9533