X-Forces Enterprise Q&A

MYTHS TRUTHS AND WINNING FORMULAS


WHO ARE X-FORCES ENTERPRISE AND WHAT DO WE DO?

A QUICK FIRE Q&A


Who does XFE support?
X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) supports the entire military community, so in particular: Service Leavers, Veterans, Spouses, Reservists, Family Members and Cadets.
How are our beneficiaries supported?
XFE beneficiaries are supported through a variety of support mechanisms including: enterprise training and education, coaching, mentoring and knowledge exchange, access to finance and by providing a platform for promotion to the wider community and society as a whole through our awards, the Soldiering On Awards. XFE work with a variety of partners so that virtually all beneficiaries do not have to bear any costs for receiving support.
Which partners does XFE work with to deliver this support?
XFE works with three main groups of organisations to support beneficiaries: government, corporates and military charities.

Our government partners include the Department for Work and Pensions, British Business Bank (BBB) and the Ministry of Defence through the Career Transition Partnership (CTP). Our work with BBB includes delivering government-backed unsecured start-up funding at a low APR.

Our work with CTP includes national delivery of self-employment focused training courses.

Our corporate partners come from many different sectors all with the common purpose of supporting the military community in this way. They support us through a variety of ways including with mentoring, coaching, hosting of events and funding our activities through corporate membership projects or sponsorship.

Our charity partners are tri-service and support us primarily through funding of enterprise training courses, but also with key strategic projects, such as our national Military-in-Business® networking events.
How has XFE created a financially sustainable Social Enterprise?
All three of our stakeholder groups contribute to the financial viability of the services that XFE provides. This is done though one or more of: commercial contracts, grants and corporate sponsorship. All operating profits have been retained within the organisation to provide working capital that underpins our financially sustainable model. The Board of Directors are responsible for ensuring that the blend of commercial contracts, grants and corporate sponsorship enables XFE to thrive in a sustainable way, to provide ongoing support to our beneficiaries.
How many people are employed by XFE to deliver all the services offered to the military community?
There are 15 on the pay roll. A Birmingham office and a London office, remote home workers plus self-employed part-time contractors who make up a diverse and nationally distributed team from Cornwall to Scotland.
How does the relationship with Start Up Loans work?
We are part of the government backed Start Up Loans Company delivery partner network and support individuals from the Forces community. Our responsibility includes pre-business support, business plan assessments and mentoring support. We are not a lender but a broker and this funding is secondary to our pre-business support.
Are Start Up Loans secured or unsecured finance?
A ‘Start Up Loan’, being government-backed, is affordable, ethical finance. The scheme started with the intention of supporting individuals who would not be able to secure affordable finance from traditional methods. Their finance is both unsecured and at a low rate for business purposes up to £25,000 per applicant.
What are the risks for the beneficiaries of taking a Start Up Loan to capitalise their business?
In order to secure funding, there are numerous factors taken into account such as: a business plan, cash flow forecast, personal survival budget, CV, credit report, individual circumstances, as well as various other supporting documents. A key component of the approval process is having a rational and viable business plan. The risks are naturally linked with business success, but with any business plan a robust back up plan is encouraged so that people have options to explore if the first plan does not prove successful.

This is unsecured finance, whilst it would affect an individual’s credit report any finance would not be recovered against any homes or assets.
How much XFE business activity is focused around providing finance to support start-up business ambitions?
Less than 30% by revenue of the company. Most of our activity is training, education and knowledge exchange. From BBB research it is estimated that every £1 lent through the Start Up Loans scheme returns £5 to the economy.
Roughly how many people each year does XFE touch with its services?
In 2018/2019 we approved 295 business plans for financial support through the Start Up Loans delivery network. We deal with roughly 2400 enquiries for financial support each year. We train roughly 1000 people a year through various training and education programmes, therefore providing non-financial pre and post launch support to hundreds of beneficiaries.
How much Corporate Engagement and Support do you get?
Corporate Engagement is fundamental to the eco-system that is XFE. Engagement comes through our Big Business supporting Small Business Steering Group and Working Groups, The Soldiering On Awards and special projects commissioned by specific organisations.
How closely do you work with the Military Charity Community?
As a member of COBSEO, we are committed to their values of collaboration, integrity and innovation. In doing so we work with various military charities to support the community into enterprise. Our charity partners are an integral part of how we deliver support to their individual communities. For our charity partners, we deliver training ranging from 1-day discovery days to 4-day courses.