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New Year, New Start Up?

Ren Kapur MBE, X-Forces Enterprise CEO and EM3 Board Member, recently shared insight into the support available for entrepreneurs in the Armed Forces Community, as part of the latest EM3 Business Bulletin.

Jamie Ross, senior project manager at EM3’s growth hub, and Julie Baker, EM3 Board Member and Head of Enterprise and Community Finance at NatWest, also share key insights into the start up landscape in 2021.

Read the full bulletin at:

From: EM3 Business bulletin

New Year: New Start-Up? Are you an aspiring business owner?


With the COVID-19 pandemic continuing to have a major economic impact, hundreds of aspiring business owners are wondering the same thing: is 2021 a good time to turn that innovative business idea into reality?

For Jamie Ross, senior project manager at EM3’s Growth Hub, the answer is ‘yes’ – successful business people are those who spot opportunities where others see challenges.

Jamie Ross, Senior Project Manager for EM3’s Growth Hub

“Though it may seem counterintuitive, there are many reasons why now might be an excellent time to launch your business venture.

A crisis can be an opportunity. More companies are outsourcing functions that would previously have been undertaken in-house. And as the economy pivots, opportunities for freelancers, consultants, and small businesses rise to fill the gap.

The big questions are not around finance, profit and loss accounts, structure or governance, although all of these are important. You can get plenty of help and advice with all these aspects of business.

The essential question any potential business owner needs to ask is: ‘What kind of person am I?’. Business owners are naturally ‘glass-half-full’ people – they are the world’s problem-solvers who spot opportunities where others see challenges. And they have the instinct to seize the moment – the pivot we have heard so much about this year – as well as the tenacity, determination, drive and vision to do whatever it takes to succeed.

It’s why difficult times like the current ones often drive the innovation which creates new businesses. And now is the perfect time because there is so much software which can help you with trends, dashboards and insights, as well as a host of business support networks.

I would urge anyone with an idea to tap into their entrepreneurial spirit and seek out the help, advice and support they need to get their idea off the ground.”

Closing the ‘ambition gap’ by increasing Start-Up diversity


“Working for yourself has many positives, freedom, flexibility; being the boss and doing something you love doing. But be prepared to invest time and energy, be self-motivated, have bucket loads of resilience, tenacity and the ability to review your progress and adapt as needed.” Julie Baker, EM3 Board Member.

Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise and Community Finance at NatWest

As Head of Enterprise and Community Finance at NatWest, Julie is passionate about supporting those from less privileged or disadvantaged backgrounds into new roles.

Julie, who is also an Enterprise Ambassador, personally mentors a number of businesses and young people. Last year she was recognised on the Women in Business and Social Enterprise Agenda, receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2019 Financial Alliance for Women Annual Summit and was also a winner of the Financial Services National Mentoring Award.

“The UK may be the Start-Up capital of Europe but just 5.6% of our women run their own companies, compared to 15% in Canada, 11% in the US and 9% in Australia. And the result is the UK economy is losing out. Published to coincide with International Women’s Day last year (2019), the Rose Review identified that boosting female entrepreneurship could add £250bn to the economy.

I work collaboratively with teams across the bank, strategic partners, social enterprises, and community and government organisations to address this ‘ambition gap’ by providing support and enterprise education to people across the UK at all stages of their business journeys, ensuring we also touch minority groups.”

You can read more about Julie’s work here, and access a helpful article on Starting on your Start-Up up by Julie’s colleague Nick Howe here.



Supporting Entrepreneurs from the Armed Forces Community


“Entrepreneurial thinking and diversity together are a very strong force for good. I’m a real advocate for entrepreneurial skills – they are fundamental as life-skills for the future.” Ren Kapur MBE, EM3 Board Member

Ren Kapur MBE, CEO X-Forces Enterprise

“As CEO of X-Forces Enterprise (XFE) and National Armed Forces Champion for FSB, it is clear that supporting small business owners and entrepreneurs from the Armed Forces Community has never been more vital.

For the last seven years XFE have placed self-employment training, support and mentoring at the forefront of everything we do, and this year, it has become more important than ever.

Unemployment rates are increasing which, as history shows us, means more interest in self-employment opportunities. The independent business sector is the lifeblood of our economy; however, if you are considering self-employment, it is crucial you make a well-informed decision before committing.

You need all the facts and advice available to you, and at XFE we pride ourselves on offering this handrail of support every step of the way, from the consideration phase to established business owners. We are fortunate the UK business community has so many support systems out there for start-up and scaling businesses, so my advice would be to absolutely take up as much support as possible.

XFE’s free workshops and networking events are even easier to access since moving online and are no longer limited by geography. Additionally, connect with business experts and get free advice, browse hundreds of articles and access free training events on our brand-new Knowledge Exchange Hub.”

Read more about Ren and her work here



Read the full bulletin at:

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