X-Forces Enterprise

Tuesday 21st May 2024

X-Forces Enterprise and the Start Up Loans programme, part of the British Business Bank, have together provided 3,000 entrepreneurs in the Armed Forces community with the funding and support to start a business.

Since 2013, this powerful partnership has provided a total of £33.5 million in funding and support, catalysing fulfilling new careers for service leavers, veterans, reservists, and military spouses. The cumulative impact extends beyond individual success stories, with in excess of an estimated 10,000 jobs created and sustained.

Since the partnership started in 2013/14, 34% of loans have gone to female business owners and 94% went outside of London.

Financing Forces Founders Infographic

X-Forces Enterprise Founder and CEO Ren Kapur MBE commented:

“Finance is the critical enabler in every new business and at the foundation of X-Forces Enterprise is our strong partnership with British Business Bank to facilitate Start Up Loan funding to entrepreneurs in the Armed Forces community. Teamed with a unique package of support services and with endorsement from government, we are able to bolster their endeavours and help realise their ambitions.

“Entrepreneurs from the Armed Forces community excel due to their resilience, adaptability, and quick learning. Their core strengths and skills acquired from service enable them to navigate the challenges of business swiftly and effectively, and we are proud to facilitate Start Up Loans finance to bolster their endeavours and, indeed, generate jobs. Our own analysis suggests that the economic contribution of these 3,000 businesses is over three quarters of a billion pounds per annum.”

The 3,000th X-Forces Enterprise loan recipient was Phil Williams, co-owner of Krapow Thai Restaurant in Warrington.

Phil Williams spent nearly 17 years in the Army in the Royal Dragoons Guard regiment. He has returned to his hometown of Warrington to set up a Thai restaurant with his Thai partner, Chanisara Glanville, which opened in May this year.

He applied for a Start Up Loan to help turn the Warrington town centre market stall he was running with his partner into a Thai restaurant in The Hive, Warrington, a busy area with high footfall. They spent five years looking for a restaurant site and have created employment eight people in the new business.

Phil is proud to be a veteran and is connected to many veterans in the area. They offer a discount for members of the Armed Forces.

He is ambitious for the business, looking to make £500,000 revenue in the first year and grow by 25% in both year two and year three of the venture.

Phil Williams, co-owner, Krapow Thai Restaurant:

“I heard about Start Up Loans from the business owner next door. Getting the finance has helped us to buy the kitchen equipment, pay tradespeople and buy fixtures and fittings for the opening. The best thing about being a business owner is not having a boss, except the girlfriend.

“The military skills I lean on are perseverance, patience, listening and getting advice – if I don’t know something, I speak to someone who does. Teamwork has been vital in managing the restaurant refit.

“We had a lot of enquiries before we opened and have been booked up ever since we finished fitting out the restaurant. Now we’re looking to do even more as we want to have a barman doing Thai cocktails.”

Richard Bearman, Manging Director, Small Business Lending, British Business Bank said:

“We’re delighted Start Up Loans has supported 3,000 veterans from the Armed Forces community to start businesses across the UK. X-Forces Enterprise is one of our most successful partners, whose supportive model helps us provide opportunities for Armed Forces members and their families to turn their business dreams into reality. We wish Phil and Chanisara all the best with their Thai restaurant and the exciting expansion it represents from starting as a market stall.”

Since its inception in 2013, X-Forces Enterprise has enabled the Armed Forces community to access government-funded Start Up Loans, serving as an official Business Support Partner for the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme.

Entrepreneurs receive dedicated support from a business advisor to develop their business plan and assess cash flow, along with ongoing mentoring guidance throughout the crucial first twelve months following their business launch. The business owner may also access a wide portfolio of training and networking opportunities, fully-funded through X-Forces Enterprise’ unique collaborations with military charities and big business.

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