Ren has created a successful career in building businesses and providing expert consultancy to UK enterprise and Government for over 15 years. Take a look at some of the ventures she has been involved in:
As founder and CEO of XFE, Ren developed the blueprint to support beneficiaries from the Armed Forces community to understand Enterprise better and take these skills to either self-employment or employment. By engaging Corporates, Charities and Government at all levels, since inception, we have supported over 2,200 businesses with over £20 million pounds of start-up funding. We are the 5th largest Start Up provider in the UK, with a high business success rate, which is a great testament to the entrepreneurs from our Armed Forces Community. XFE is unique in its delivery and this has been recognised with the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award which we received from the MOD by Prince Harry in 2017 for our outstanding support of the Armed Forces community. 38% of our start-ups are women and we have a specialist programme that has been extremely successful for the wounded, injured and sick community.
Part of the evolution of Ren’s strategy to support other communities who have served; Ren joined the board of Emergency Services Career Transition (ESCT) to help Police, Fire & Ambulance communities through their next career choices involving the commercial world. ESCT has also partnered with one of Ren’s organisations X-Emergency Services which is all about enterprise learning, business start-up for the emergency services community and their family members.
Soldiering On Awards
The Soldiering On Awards (SOA) recognises the outstanding achievements of those who have served their country, and the people and groups who work together within and alongside the Armed Forces Community. These annual awards shine a light on these remarkable people for what they have achieved, and in turn inspire others within the community.
Armed Forces Champion for the Federation of Small Businesses
Ren has been appointed by the Federation of Small Business (FSB) as their first volunteer Armed Forces Champion. The FSB protect the interests of small businesses and Ren’s role as Armed Forces Champion will see her help advance policy change for the Armed Forces in business community.
Enterprise M3 is a local enterprise partnership bringing together private, public and not-for-profit sector organisations to determine local economic proiorities and undertake activities which drive economic growth. Ren joined the board of directors in July 2020 to support enterprise, and also to become the regional link to FSB for EM3.
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women and Enterprise: International Trade and Connections
The All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) for Women and Enterprise: one of the leads for the International Trade and Connections Sub Group. The sub group’s remit focuses on three specific areas that directly impact the international growth potential of women-owned businesses (WBs) – specifically SMEs and micro-home businesses – that export products or services across all channels, especially digital.
Cabinet, Ministry of Defence, and BEIS
In initial discussions with the Cabinet Office and the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Ren has successfully developed a long-term strategy to support veterans into business through the development of a robust and sustainable UK fund through the British Business Bank, and also through the MOD to ensure that the strategy, development and rollout was communicated and reported.
Visiting Fellow at Lord Ashcroft’s International Business School
Ren has been appointed as a Visiting Fellow at Lord Ashcroft’s International Business School, Anglia Ruskin University. She will help to shape the academic agenda to cover topics that are central to military and education at graduate and post-graduate level. Ren will also deliver lectures to students at the Business school.
Women 100 Female Leadership and Influence Strategic Forum
One of Ren’s special moments came in December 2017, in partnership with the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst (RMAS) and, with Colonel Debs Taylor, Ren brought together some of the country’s thought leaders to participate in the Women 100 Female Leadership and Influence Strategic Forum. The event, which was introduced by Commandant of RMAS, Major General Paul Nanson CBE, featured a keynote speech from London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton – at the time, one of the highest-ranking women firefighters in Europe – and a panel session which Ren chaired.
Panelists included Charlotte Avery from the Girl’s School Association, Julie Baker from NatWest, Gemma Rowland – British Army Officer and International Rugby Player, Jenny Scott from the BBC and Susan Turnbull from Help for Heroes. Guests were then invited to join a series of workshops on topics including Peer Advocacy, Ethical Leadership, the Power of Networking, Unconscious Bias & Stereotyping, Influencing Organisational Culture, Behaviours and Policy and Myth Busting – Access to ‘female minority’ employment.
Rebuilding Through Enterprise
Director for RTE which supports communities who would benefit from Enterprise learning to establish a career and meaningful income through entrepreneurship. In this role Ren was an official advisor to the Home Office supporting the strategy and pilot for Syrian Refugees. Ren successfully delivered four pilots across the UK and supported the blueprint for further development by other institutions.
As a former Director of Special Projects, Ren’s expertise was pivotal in establishing Silent Edge as one of the UK’s leading service providers to help educational institutions across the UK put sales and marketing strategies at the forefront of their business offering.
Charter 21 is a collaborative project which aims to help build back our economy and communities in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The project is rooted in demonstrating a social purpose beyond profitmaking and at its heart are what I called the six pillars of business philosophy, the imagining of tapping into the potential of people which in turn benefits everyone in society. My ‘imagine if’ are deeply rooted in what we do at XFE, and this is how they have been reimagined for Charter 21.
Cadets in Enterprise is my flagship programmes for young people who want to explore the key components of how the economy is made up, what enterprise means and how entrepreneurship shapes our lives. A programme that has evolved over the last two decades from visiting schools, sharing lived experiences, to being appointed by the Secretary of State for Education & Sir Alan Jones in 2009 as the national champion for Business, Admin and Finance and creating a taskforce to bridge the gap between FTSE 500 and education. This work has progressed over twenty years and shapes our Cadets in Enterprise interactive workshops.