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University Celebrates Entrepreneurship in the Armed Forces Community


The University of Wolverhampton’s award winning business-start up programme, ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’, has bestowed nine ‘outstanding entrepreneur’ awards to service spouses who have set up their own businesses with support from a programme for the dependants of Armed Forces personnel. 

‘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 then Prime Minister, David Cameron in 2012.

At a reception held recently at the headquarters of the programme’s commercial sponsor HSBC in Canary Wharf, London, programme delegates were given the opportunity to exhibit and promote their businesses to an invited audience from the Ministry of Defence’s civilian and service community. 

Nine spouses of Armed Forces personnel were chosen to receive a special recognition award at the event for their business acumen, personal determination and drive, can-do attitude, commitment to the programme and support to other delegates. 

Jessica Sands of Design Jessica said: “Who would have thought a year ago I would be standing here talking to an audience about my business and winning this very special award. As an RAF spouse with a husband on deployment, my business is my focus and the one thing that keeps my mind off the worry of having a partner on a tour of duty. I have met so many likeminded people through this course who support each other both in business and in friendship, I am very proud to be one of the University’s ‘Unsung Heroes.”

The University’s Head of Work-based Learning, Dr Alison Felce, said:  “Setting-up in business is a practical solution for some Service families who are on the move every two to three years with their military commitments. ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ is successful because it meets a real need within the Armed Forces’ community as demonstrated by the 320 service dependants who have attended the course and this year’s nine worthy award winners.” 

The programme is in high demand from Service families and has received significant investment of £600,000 from HSBC to expand the programme throughout the UK and overseas. As a result the course has been delivered across the UK and in military bases in Cyprus, Germany and Belgium with further locations announced for 2017 including Scotland and HM Naval Base, Portsmouth.

Mr Billy King, Service Personnel Support Families at the Ministry of Defence, said: “Spousal employment remains high on the Government’s agenda and this programme continues to be a good example of how organisations can support service families. There are over 1200   organisations who have signed Covenant pledges in support of the service community, which includes partner employment initiatives. Congratulations to all involved on the continued success of the SUH programme.”

The programme is delivered by the University of Wolverhampton. For further information about the course contact 01902 321677 or email

Picture Caption from left to right: Simply Balanced Solutions, Hannah Illingworth; Jamberry Nails, Gail Hawker; Athena Wills Ltd, Louise Baltrop; JBF Resourcing Ltd, Debbie Bainbridge; DB Glass Designs, Jess Sands; Design Jessica, Jenna McGinney; Bags of Memories.


For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 322736 or 01902 518647.

Date Issued: 29th October 2016

For more information please contact the Media Relations Office on 01902 32 2736 or 01902 518647.

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