The Minister’s background as a small business owner and his role in government made him a great candidate to talk to our Military SME community about the work the government is doing to support small business, with an exclusive opportunity to ask the Minister some questions of our own.
With a record number of attendees waiting in the wings, Lt. General Richard Nugee, XFE Patron, opened the evening’s proceedings. Here are some quotes from General Richard:
‘What is this event? It’s about peer-to-peer support, it’s about making sure the military community supports each other in the growing and development of business and the economy.’
‘This peer-to-peer support is an integral mechanism that X-Forces Enterprise provide through linking business owners, entrepreneurs and those in business who are having to do the hard work to make business work.’
‘It’s a fantastic virtual experience, and what we’ve got behind it is the Knowledge Exchange Hub where you can go ask questions and have them answered. It’s expanding on that opportunity.’
The Minister for Small Business, Consumers and Labour Markets then took centre stage.
‘We have an entrepreneurial ambition within this country, one of the government’s manifesto commitments was to make the UK the best place to start, grow and scale a business. I want to go further than that I want to make sure that wherever you are in the UK, it should still be the greatest place to start, grow and scale a business. Whether you are in London, Scotland Wales or Northern Ireland you should have:
‘What you actually need in advice and mentoring is someone that’s six months ahead of you, that’s just done what you’re aiming to do. Someone who can point out the pitfalls and opportunities rather than just aiming for the stars.’
‘Yes there is the business maxim “aim for the stars and you’ll hit the moon” but it’s also small steps along the way to really make it real’
‘I’m inspired by the members of the Armed Forces Community that have real drive and enthusiasm and entrepreneurial spirit to start their own businesses and acquire new skills. That is the military way. To acquire those skills, recognise what’s needed and to build them up. On the return to civilian life that’s just as important.’
‘Those from the military have extraordinary resilience, great flexibility and organisational skills; these are all essential for running a business.’
‘I want to thank, in that regard, X-Forces for the work that they do to ensure service leavers, veterans, reservists and their families find out about setting up business ventures and self-employment.’
‘SMEs are the backbone of our country, they have a huge, key role in play in our economic recovery from Covid and growth thereafter.’
‘I think the business word of 2020 was “Furlough” I really want the business word for 2021 to be pivot. People changing their views and seeing opportunity. We can help you make that change alongside organisations like X-Forces Enterprise.’
Attendees also participated in an engaging Q&A session with the Minister, quizzing the Minister on topics such as financial support, mental health, talent within the Armed Forces, and taxation.
The Minister has promised to be back for another Military in Business networking event over the next few months, which is brilliant news. Keep up to date with our training & events programmes by subscribing to our mailing list.
XFE Chairman, Martin Wing, summarised nicely:
‘Peer to peer support is something we value a great deal and is at the heart of these Military in Business Networking Events.’
Make sure you register for our upcoming networking events. They are free, and a brilliant way to expand your business networking circles with likeminded individuals.