London, March 15; On Tuesday 13 March 2018, as CEO and founder of X-Forces Enterprise (XFE), together with the Forces Pension Society Charitable Fund (FPSCF), we launched the bespoke inaugural four-day Enterprise Discovery and Business Skills course for Armed Forces Widows, Widowers and their dependants.
The launch, which was kindly hosted by NatWest and supported by FPSCF, brought together representatives from the four Widows Associations (War Widows, Royal Navy and Royal Marines Widows, Army Widows, and Royal Airforce Widows Associations) whom we engaged to ensure the success of this exciting project. We also had present X-Forces Enterprise supporters from the MoD, Government, Charities and Corporates.
Those of you who know me understand how close to my heart I hold the work of X-Forces Enterprise in supporting the Services community. In the past four years, we have been able to develop a series of model packages that have been instrumental in giving a hand up to a huge variety of veterans and service leavers. In fact, we have supported over 1,100 community members in starting and scaling up their own businesses, and thousands more through training, events, funding and mentoring.
Last year, in October, we put forward a proposal to support service widows, widowers and their dependants in developing their enterprise skills for employment, building confidence and building a network. It is very important for such families to rebuild their lives when they are ready – giving them confidence, a renewed sense of purpose and building financial independence. We will now support them through the bespoke course, which will not only cultivate the enterprise skills needed for employment and self-employment, but will also, more crucially, help the widows and widowers communities and their dependants to build confidence in their abilities. It will also provide a support network for them to lean on through the XFE Family.
As I said in my welcome speech, “The Service widows, widowers and dependants’ community has possibly been too often overlooked by wider society. The superb work of the Service Widows’ Associations has raised the profile of their community – achieving some remarkable changes to the way that government and society support Service widows, widowers and dependants. I am so very pleased that we can practically and actively support this particular cohort of the Service community through this joint venture with the Widows’ Associations and the Forces Pension Society Charity Fund. We have seen the impact that enterprise can have for the military community, and we will now provide Armed Forces widows, widowers and their family members with that same empowerment and handrail support into the business world.”
Present for the launch were the XFE team as well as representatives from our supporters from the MoD, other charities and Corporates including NatWest, Rolls Royce, Cisco, Landmarc, Sage and London Stock Exchange.
The Lady Philippa Dannatt, MBE, Patron of the Army Widows Association was also present, and addressed the guests as a speaker. In her speech, she recognised the risks taken by service personnel and the impact of the sudden death of a serviceman or woman on their families. She said that this course will support an important community and unleash a great reservoir of talent into the business world.As she remarked to me afterwards, “What a truly extraordinary and exhilarating afternoon. I felt so immensely proud to be there in my capacity of Patron, and thank you so much for pulling off such a remarkable achievement.”
With support and assistance from FPSCF, who are working closely with us to support us on this project, we believe this initiative will help a number of individuals enter or return to employment. The Col. (Ret.) Robert Ward MBE, Chairman Designate of the Forces Pension Society Charitable Fund represented the Fund and explained how they can assist and support Widows and their dependants.