3 startup supports for UK military entrepreneurs

Business chalk sketch

Given that the military is full of talented individuals with bucket loads of discipline and resilience, it’s no surprise that this spirit of excellence transfers to the world of business.

Global companies like RE/MAX, FedEx and Walmart were all founded by veterans and ex-forces personnel continue to punch above their weight in running enterprises big and small.

In Britain, you can find local military-backed businesses on Veteran Owned — a dynamic directory that makes these types of firms more visible.

But if you’re a Brit soldier, sailor or airman who wants to work for themselves, you might need some assistance, so here are three startup supports for UK military entrepreneurs.

1.      X-Forces

X-Forces was established in 2012 to deliver enterprise education and secure funding to bring more veteran-operated startup businesses to the market.

The Strategic Defence and Security Review of 2010 was fueled by UK government austerity plans which led to cuts, job losses and ex-military personnel entering the job market without enough support to transition successfully.

So since its establishment, X-Forces has attempted to meet this challenge by working with various expert stakeholders to develop a blueprint for self-employed veterans.

They help secure loans and grants from government, third sector and private sources, provide business training through nationwide workshops and have an excellent professional mentoring program.

2.      Start Up Loans

Start Up Loans aren’t specifically targeted at military veteran businesses, but they can benefit anyone who needs a cash injection prior to launch.

You can apply for a Start Up Loan of up to £25,000 and the government-backed scheme is now open to entrepreneurs of all ages. The interest rate is fixed at six per cent per annum and you can arrange a repayment schedule of between one and five years.

Start Up Loans also come with 12 months of free mentoring — so you’ll be supported to invest the cash as wisely as possible.

There are delivery partners across Britain, so if this sounds like the the right type of support for your business, browse their website soon.

3.      Army Families Federation (AFF)

The AFF is an independent organisation dedicated to improving the lives of UK military families worldwide and acts as a pressure group which influences government legislation as well as a source of frontline support.

Amongst other things, it liaises with service families to help military spouses set up their own businesses, discussing everything from securing trading licenses to how to save cash by using payroll outsourcing services.

For personnel a few years away from returning to civilian life, this offers an opportunity for their partners to start a family business which will provide employment in life after the military.

So advise your spouse to get in touch with them and your family could soon have a lucrative new income stream — but remind them to keep a position open for you in a couple of years’ time.

These three startup supports for UK military entrepreneurs will empower you to approach self-employment with confidence and self-assurance.

Are you a veteran with a business? Share your advice in the comments section.

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