Partners, Beneficiaries, Associates and Friends,
As we reach the culmination of our remarkable milestone tenth year, as joint CEOs, we find ourselves naturally drawn to a moment of reflection. It has been another progressive period of special moments and developments in the organisation that made 2023 a year to remember. Join us as we rewind the tape and shine a spotlight on just some of the standouts on the XFE journey this last 12 months.
In July, we celebrated 10 years of X-Forces Enterprise at a wonderful event hosted by London Stock Exchange Group, in the company of beneficiaries, partners, supporters, and friends. Over the last decade, we have supported over 10,000 members of the Armed Forces community to make informed decisions about their careers, and this event allowed us to consider the impact XFE has made, as both a catalyst for positive change and the ripple effect on individuals’ lives.
On 1st April, we were proud to announce that XFE had been confirmed as a Business Support Partner to British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme, extending the appointment first made in 2013. This prestigious partnership permits us to support business aspiration in the Armed Forces community, providing access to funding that is vital to the realisation of their start-up or growth ambitions. This year alone, we have facilitated more than four million pounds in Start Up Loan funding and we hear from recipients what a huge difference that finance makes to their business success.
During 2023, XFE has delivered more training than ever before. Training is an essential element in ‘de-risking’ for those launching their own ventures – it helps them to understand the market, make the right choices, and acts as an effective signpost to support. Our charity partners share our commitment in this endeavour and allow us to help more beneficiaries enjoy a breadth of skills development, and focus on specialist learnings through our Masterclass series. We continuously monitor and adapt the content and are delighted that attendee feedback is consistently positive. The 2024 events calendar is full of workshops that remain free-to-access for entrepreneurs – take a look at what’s on offer.
The 2023 Soldiering On Awards were an enormous success and, as ever, a wonderful celebration of the military family. One spontaneous moment defined the essence of the entire Awards when Khumi Burton, the winner of the Lifetime Achievement category, invited her fellow finalists onto the stage to share the applause. Together with Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Johnny Mercer MP, and our host Jeremy Vine, she welcomed them with a warm embrace. Our profound thanks go to our partners who enable this unique and progressive programme to continue.
Nominations open on 15th January for the 2024 Soldiering On Awards – why not use this holiday downtime to consider who you know that deserves recognition.
Our Military In Business® network was strengthened still further this year and it is inspiring to see the military ethos of ‘looking out for one another’ alive in our community of entrepreneurs. We pay particular tribute to the volunteers who act as Ambassadors for the network, as well as the Business Captains and mentors on our Knowledge Exchange Hub, for their commitment to this mission and the active part they play in encouraging and supporting others.
Our Military In Business® Village at the National Transition Event at Silverstone in March was an exceptional event during 2023, and we are delighted to announce that we are set to reprise this collaboration. The beneficiary businesses who exhibited there provided inspiration for visitors making the move from military to civilian careers. A perfect example of this was Hannah Saunders, whose story of business and personal growth and commitment to community inspires us all.
More details about the 2024 event will be published soon.
There are many exciting new projects, collaborative courses, and amazing events to look forward to in 2024. From us both, and on behalf of all the team at XFE, we wish you health, happiness, and a successful 2024.
Warmest wishes as ever