Celebration and success for Armed Forces community business start-ups

Unsung Heroes The University of Wolverhampton’s award winning business-start up programme, ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’, has been specifically tailored to meet the needs of Armed Forces families, and was one of the successful bids to the £35 million LIBOR fund made available by the Prime Minister.

At a reception and business fair held at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park on Thursday (27 NOV), programme delegates were given the opportunity to exhibit and promote their businesses to an invited audience comprising Military, Government and Civilian VIP’s.
 
Nine Service Dependants were chosen to receive a special recognition award for their commitment, effort and success in starting a new business. Winners have been selected by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce training and mentoring team for demonstrating business acumen, personal determination, drive, commitment to the programme and peer to peer support.

The University’s Armed Forces Co-ordinator, Lianne Bradbury, an Army Veteran of 22 years’ service, said:  “I have been so inspired over the last year as I have seen so many talented ladies and gentlemen grasp the opportunity to achieve their ambition.  A military spouse has to overcome many barriers to maintaining continuous and meaningful employment.  Setting up in business is a practical solution for some Service families and has proven immensely rewarding for those who have ‘given it a go’ with the support of our business programme. ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ is successful because it meets a real need within the Armed Forces community as demonstrated by the 180 Service Dependants who have attend the Business Start-Up course and the nine worthy, award winners today.”

The Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme was launched in June last year, and was one of the successful bids to the £35 million LIBOR fund made available by the Prime Minister. The programme is in high demand from Service families and in September received significant investment of £600,000 from the HSBC bank to expand the programme throughout the UK and overseas.  The Ministry of Defence has given an extra £120,000 of Armed Forces Covenant LIBOR funding to support the expansion in the next phase.
 
Dr Heather McNaughton – Head of Service and Veterans Welfare, Ministry of Defence (MoD) said: “I have found today completely inspirational. The military spouses I have met today have true entrepreneurial spirit and have grasped every opportunity presented to them to be successful in business. I am honoured to have played a small part in helping to secure funding for the programme and to see the impact it has had on peoples lives.”
  
Helen Lloyd Wildman, Registrar and Secretary at the University of Wolverhampton, added: “The University of Wolverhampton is the University of Opportunity, and this programme is all about opportunity. It is about giving opportunities to people who might not have had them otherwise. It is the opportunity to develop their own business in their own right and status, wherever their partner may be stationed. This event was all about showcasing what can be achieved in a relatively small amount of time with the right kind of support.”

The Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme has been developed specifically for Armed Forces families to provide them with the transferable skills and support required to start and maintain a business that will not be restricted to a geographical area, enabling families to become more financially stable and break the cycle of being unable to secure continuous employment. The programme is delivered by the University of Wolverhampton’s Business Solutions Centre in partnership with the Black Country Chamber of Commerce.
 
For further information about the programme contact Lianne Bradbury the Armed Forces  Co-ordinator at the University of Wolverhampton.

Telephone: 01902 321677
Email: mod-enquiries@wlv.ac.uk
Web: www.wlv.ac.uk/supportingtheunsunghero

ENDS

For Media enquiries please contact Vickie Warren in the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736.

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