The Soldiering on Awards 2018 were a particularly proud moment for X-Forces Enterprise as three award-winning businesses were ones we supported.
This year, X-Forces Enterprise Founder and CEO, Ren Kapur MBE forms part of the judging panel: ‘I am honoured to be one of the judges for the Soldiering on Awards panel. What Soldiering on Awards do to support the Armed Forces community to recognise and elevate role-models across the UK is about encouraging societal progress, motivation and aspiration.’
As nominations for the Soldering On Awards 2019 draw to a close, we caught up with 2 of last year’s winners, Doddl and Sporting Force. Sisters Rosie Phelps-Goggin and Catherine Dodd, winners of Business of the Year: Start-Up Award were supported by X-Forces Enterprise to launch their children’s cutlery business, Doddl. Sporting Force Ltd, founded by Tommy Lowther, was set up to support members of the ex-Armed Forces community through professional sports. Tommy initially attended a business startup workshop ran by X-Forces Enterprise and Help for Heroes.
How did you find out about the Soldering On Awards?
Doddl: We were introduced to the Soldering On Awards through X-Forces Enterprise. ‘X-Forces supported our business from an early stage, by helping us to secure affordable finance via the Start-Up Loans Company and they continue to provide invaluable advice and guidance to our business.’
Why did winning a Soldiering On Award matter to you?
Sporting Force: ‘I have seen pretty small organisations blossom and become much bigger and more efficient businesses. I have always been very enviable of past winners, repeatedly saying every year to the Sporting Force staff, that’s the one I want. We have been nominated for other non-sector business awards and have won, which is a fantastic achievement. However, to be recognised by the very industry you operate in and recognised amongst some of the past winners and finalists is something that is extra special’.
How did you feel when you found out you were shortlisted?
Doddl: ‘It was a complete honour to be announced as a finalist for the Business of the Year Award in the Start-Up category. And, with such stiff competition from our fellow finalists: Combat Pest Control and True-Tech Training, we never imagined that we would actually win!’
Sporting Force: ‘To find out we were in the final three; invited to attend a reception evening at the houses of parliament; and further to that invited to attend the awards evening itself was an unbelievable feeling. In my eyes that was where the journey ended for Sporting Force, due to the calibre of opponents we were up against in our category.’
How did you feel when your business was announced as a winner?
Doddl: ‘When Doddl was announced as the winner, I remember we were all completely stunned and couldn’t believe it! It was a tremendous feeling to win the award and to receive recognition for what we have achieved with Doddl; from starting a manufacturing company from scratch and building it to become the UK’s leading baby-led weaning cutlery brand in less than 2 years from launch.’
Sporting Force: On Awards night we were lucky enough to have a table full of our beneficiaries join us, which made it all the more special, however when our category come up for presentation, I immediately looked around at one of our opposition, ready to applaud him. But all I heard was ‘the winner is Sporting Force’ it took a good 3-4 seconds to realise that we had won the award. I immediately burst into tears, all the emotions of, the hard work; the commitment from the Sporting Force staff; the countless hours I had worked on my little table at home at the start; the horrific time I had trying to fight my PTSD. The fact that founding Sporting Force was the very thing that stopped me completing suicide, and the sacrifices that people had made in order for us to be sat in that room that night was completely overwhelming, and a feeling that I will never forget. We have achieved great things as a charity over the last four years and winning this award is up there with the best of them.”
Finally, why should you nominate a Business of the Year Award?
Sporting Force: Why not give them the opportunity to experience what I have had the pleasure of experiencing, this award doesn’t just come with the feel-good factor, it comes with some real weight in the industry, with many other perks that can elevate businesses to new levels. I would urge anyone out there to go out and nominate, help others be recognised for their fantastic efforts and contributions’
Doddl: The Soldiering On Awards are truly an inspiration and are a celebration of everything that makes you proud to have served in the military. I would urge anyone who knows an ex-forces veteran who is running their own business to put them forward for a Soldiering On Business Award -, or put their own business forward – as it is an amazing thing to be part of, and an unforgettable experience.’
Nominate an individual or business for a Soldering On Award 2019 here: http://www.soldieringon.org/2019-award-categories/