X-Forces supports entrepreneurs from across the Armed Forces Community, from various backgrounds and all with unique, individual ideas. Our speakers represented our service leavers, veterans, spouses and reservists, including those that have benefited from our work with Help for Heroes, Blind Veterans UK and ABF The Soldiers’ Charity.
Tommy Lowther – Sporting Force:
Passionate about health and fitness, Army Veteran Tommy Lowther has drawn on his love of football to set up the social enterprise ‘Sporting Force’ as a means to help ex-soldiers get back into work. The charity focuses on helping wounded, injured and sick service men and women make the transition from the military to civilian life through sport. Working with several football clubs across the country, Tommy provides work experience for Veterans ranging from grounds keeping to administrative duties which can provide them with the confidence to get back into work.
Kerry Ann Graham – Gabby’s World Dolls:
Married to a Corporal in the Queen’s Royal Hussars, Kerry-Ann set up her own London based business after struggling to find culturally diverse toys for her daughter. Kerry’s business ‘Gabby’s World Dolls’ has at its core the principle of encouraging diversity and equality through play where values and social norms can be learnt and reinforced. The lack of ethnic toys in the UK inspired Kerry to provide an alternative range of toys for children, something which she felt should be addressed. Alongside which the business also enables Kerry-Ann to have a fulfilling and exciting career that revolves around her daughter, and fits in around her life as an army wife.
Neel Singh – Dorking Brewery:
Neel Singh has been a member of the Royal Navy Reserves for 10 years. Following two tours of duty he entered the brewing industry with the purchase of Dorking Brewery, a craft brewery based in the heart of the Mole Valley in Surrey. Fulfilling his desire to be his own boss, Neel’s business produces a full range of real ales for pubs and clubs in the local area and has won multiple awards.
Steve Parnell – Sports Massage Therapist:
Steve Parnell joined the Royal Air Force in 1986 and served until 1991 including time as a steward in the Officer’s Mess at RAF Brize Norton. While in the RAF he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa, a genetic disease that slowly causes blindness. A keen cyclist and triathlete, Steve is very aware of the importance of looking after your body and keeping on top of any injuries. Building on his passion for fitness, Steve is now qualified in sports therapy and massage turning his many years of experience in the fitness industry and his time as an advanced gym instructor to start his own business.