Last week X-Forces were joined by five entrepreneurs that we have supported since our launch in 2013. These business owners come from varying Armed Forces backgrounds, and have started businesses as unique as each other.
Read about two of our #XFSuccess businesses here and keep an eye out for the other three…coming soon!
Donna, former Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps from North YorkshireWhy did you decide to turn your hobby into a business?
“X-Forces and Help for Heroes Business Experience programme gave me the tools, and more importantly the confidence, to turn a pipe dream into reality. Last year I was diagnosed and treated for cancer, which is now in remission. Time recovering gave me the opportunity to pick up my crafts again after quite a long time, and before I knew it I thought this would be my dream job!”
A few months on, how has life been as a business owner?
“Be careful what you wish for! Four months after attending my first day on the course I was already juggling making, marketing and selling handmade and bespoke cards and gifts, not having ‘days off’ and more importantly LOVING IT! I have a part time job which will bring in regular money, but the crafts and cards are now in a shop, my income has increased massively, as has my potential customer base.”
What was the most important support that X-Forces gave you?
“X Forces are encouraging, and keep in touch, providing assistance as and when you need it. From what could have been a dark time has brought a new lease of life, which lets me have what is important and that is time with my husband, so important after last year, but maybe I should say thank you to that pesky cancerous tumour!”
Did the Business Experience programme itself help you on your journey?
“I could not recommend the course highly enough – it has helped me grow in so many ways! Thanks”
Read more about HarPur Creations here: http://www.harpurcreations.com/
Read more about the Help for Heroes and X-Forces Business Experience course here: https://www.x-forces.com/help-for-heroes/
Kevin, Royal Navy Veteran from Essex
When people say they came up with their business idea around the breakfast table, not many mean this as literally as former Royal Navy officer Kevin and his family! Jim Jams was born with a simple aim, to make breakfast healthier without taking the fun out of it. Since the business launched, their products have been flying off the shelves in Tesco, Wholefoods, Morrison’s and many other major retailers.
When did you decide that you wanted to start your own business?
“Around 3 years ago, my wife and I came up with the idea to produce a chocolate spread that tasted amazing and yet had the benefit of 83% less sugar. I was inspired and believed wholeheartedly in the concept and so I gave up my job to build the business.”
Do you feel there is enough financial support and guidance available for entrepreneurs?
“In the last few years start-up loans, invoice factoring and crowdfunding has helped entrepreneurs financially. However, in depth long term guidance is hard to come by and there is a gap in the market for entrepreneur development programmes run by people who have successfully run their own business.
“There are very few of these around but we were lucky to be accepted onto the Grocery Accelerator Program. Of course this was only possible by having a solid business plan that X-Forces helped us to pull together.”
Why did you contact X-Forces for help in setting up your own business?
“Having served in the Royal Navy I felt they would have an understanding of my work ethic and determination to help secure the financial support we required.”
Go to Jim Jams Spreads website here http://jimjams-spreads.co.uk/