Project launched in Portsmouth to help ex-forces personnel to start a business

From left, Richard Jones, head of policy, communications and partner engagement for Solent LEP, Ren Kapur, CEO and founder X-Forces with James Whelam from Wright Stream and Sean Cole from SC Vital Fitness Picture: Allan Hutchings (151550-158)
From left, Richard Jones, head of policy, communications and partner engagement for Solent LEP, Ren Kapur, CEO and founder X-Forces with James Whelam from Wright Stream and Sean Cole from SC Vital Fitness Picture: Allan Hutchings (151550-158)

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  • Solent LEP team up with social enterprise X Forces
  • Total of £250,000 is being ringfenced for project
  • People will be supported through process of starting a business
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NEW funding is being introduced to help people who have left the armed forces to start their own business.

The project is being launched by the Solent Local Enterprise Partnership and social enterprise X Forces, which supports ex-forces personnel and their families in setting up their own enterprises.

We wanted to focus specifically on the armed forces community because with the presence of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth and the surrounding area

Richard Jones, Solent LEP

A total of £250,000 is being ring-fenced for the project. Much like the Bridging the Gap fund, people will be encouraged to apply for funding for their business and those who are successful will receive it.

The partnership will support and mentor businesses throughout their early years.

It was launched at the Historic Dockyard yesterday.

Richard Jones is the head of policy and communications for the Solent LEP. He said: ‘It’s all about supporting our armed services communities to build their entrepreneurial skills to start their business or grow a business.

‘We’ve had a lot of success with our grant funding programmes and Bridging the Gap has been positive.

‘We wanted to focus specifically on the armed forces community because of the presence of the Royal Navy in Portsmouth and the surrounding area.

‘It’s such a big community and there are some strong skill sets that have got some positive applications for business. We hope it will work extremely well.’

Ren Kapur is the chief executive of X Forces. She said: ‘The LEPs across the country are important facilities for local economic growth.

‘The Solent LEP approached us because they saw that the work that we were doing with the armed forces community and business enterprises.

‘We have to make sure that the individuals are making the right decisions.

‘It’s about bringing it all together and looking at what it takes to start up a business and going through that learning and then supporting that growth.