END OF YEAR MESSAGE
FROM REN KAPUR MBE – CEO, X-FORCES ENTERPRISE
Partners, Beneficiaries, Associates and Friends,
Much has been said about the downsides to 2020 and I, like you, look forward to the term COVID-19 becoming a distant memory, however, as I reflect on this extremely unusual year, my overriding feeling is pride in this community’s ability to adapt.
May I share with you some key moments from the last 12 months…
During 2020, many XFE business owners rapidly switched to new ways of staying connected, new ways of learning, new ways of networking and, importantly, to new ways of trading.
Our resilient and pragmatic beneficiaries were quick to modify their businesses to stay ahead of the paradigm shifts caused by the pandemic.
As we see unemployment increasing in the UK, more people are turning to self-employment as a means of providing for themselves and their families. For the last seven years XFE has placed self-employment training, support and mentoring at the forefront of everything we do and the need for XFE’s handrail of support is now more important than ever.
Also quick to innovate, my incredible XFE team made training and education more accessible than it’s ever been – almost doubling the provision – to ensure our Armed Forces business community had that vital handrail of support, including:
The latest XFE Activity Report for 2019-20 has been published on our website.
During 2020, the XFE Military In Business® Network brought together more than 700 people in regional groupings and our team of volunteer Ambassadors grew to 12 (Read more about our newest Ambassadors Carrie Moss and Hannah Saunders).
While the start of the year saw successful meetings in person, networking sessions moved to Zoom from March.
Tonight! – Final Networking Event of 2020
From the comfort of your home, with a glass of something celebratory, join with special guest speakers, fellow business owners and XFE Ambassadors from across the UK to toast the festive season with our final networking event!
In June, XFE’s HUB went live; a one-stop-shop for all things related to self-employment, including peer-to-peer support, free events and business information.
With more than 300 business owners now registered, and over 100 Business Captains volunteering their expertise and knowledge, users are already finding the HUB a highly effective platform.
Ahead of his retirement from the Army after 40 years of service, we were honoured to welcome former Chief of Defence People, Lt Gen Richard Nugee CB, CVO, CBE to the team in June as Patron of X-Forces Enterprise.
We are very excited to have Gen Nugee onboard; his insight and expertise will help us to understand and support even more of those who need our help most.
The 10th anniversary of the Soldiering On Awards was extraordinary on many levels. A record number of nominations were received to the 2020 awards across all categories, with 41 finalists gathering at the House of Lords reception on 20th February.
When the pandemic took hold, it was clear the grand ceremony could not go ahead. With as much glitz and glamour as possible, including special guest hosts and announcers for each event, our virtual Winners’ Ceremonies began on 24th September, and five weeks later concluded with a livestream from the BFBS Studios.
A big thank you to all our sponsors who supported us in adapting and making something special happen, despite the circumstances.
For the 2021 Soldiering On Awards, our traditional schedule moves right to conclude in October. Nominations will open in January 2021 – keep an eye out for the announcement!
Amongst everything else happening, the strength of the FSB partnership was proven in March when we influenced a third government policy change for veterans.
2020 also saw FSB collaboration on our Military In Business networking events and a special discount to members of the Armed Forces community on FSB membership.
Over three weekends in May/June, the first Air Cadets took part virtually in our Enterprise for Life Programme. 12 enthusiastic young people learned about enterprise and developed their own business ideas, culminating in a ‘Dragon’s Den’ style pitch.
I think it’s clear to say that, despite 2020’s huge challenges, the Armed Forces community has much to celebrate in resiliency, agility and solidarity. Thank you for contributing to this supportive network.
In our family, we are celebrating 2020 for bringing our third grandchild safely into the world. I’ve announced a new grandson in this message every year since 2018, and I can imagine you’re all wondering what next year will bring. I’m certainly excited to find out.
May I wish you a peaceful break this Christmastide.
Here’s to 2021…
Lt Col Ren Kapur MBE
Founder & CEO of X-Forces Enterprise