One of my favourite research pieces of recent times is the 2019 Alison Rose Review of Female Entrepreneurship (this is well worth reading, even if you only have time to read the Executive Summary), commissioned by the Treasury, which identified three areas of opportunity, to help female entrepreneurs progress, which I particularly relate to:
Sadly, it is already clear during the Covid-19 pandemic, that this new downturn in the economy risks unpicking all the hard work done and reducing the opportunities for women across all age groups. Women’s unemployment has risen more than men. A UN report entitled ‘The impact of Covid-19 on Women’, published in April 2020, concluded that across every sphere, from health to economy, security to social protection, the impacts of Covid-19 are exacerbated for women, and girls, simply by virtue of their sex. Compounded economic impacts are felt especially by women and girls who are generally earning less, saving less, and holding insecure jobs or living close to poverty. In addition, unpaid care work has increased, with children out of school, and the heightened care needs of older persons and overwhelmed health services.
It is a well-known fact that when organisations are tasked with cutting costs that training and development are the first areas to be ‘culled’. This will hit women the hardest. Next month, XFE will launch a new free online training course designed specifically for Tri-Service Spouses, Partners and Family Members. The 3-Day Self-Employment Discovery course is an amazing opportunity to develop valuable enterprise skills, learn all about the self-employment landscape, determine the viability of any business idea and network with other spouses, partners and family members going on a similar journey. You can register your interest here.
Applicants to training courses will register on our recently launched ‘Knowledge Exchange Hub’. This is a free to use digital business support platform specifically for the Armed Forces Community. Designed to complement the support already offered by XFE, the XFE hub is a one-stop-shop for all things related to self-employment, including peer-to-peer support, free events and business information.
People using the hub can also benefit from matching up with a Business Captain who will be an expert in a specific business area and will offer peer-to-peer support and guidance. Put simply the Hub removes the barriers of time, travel and family commitments giving the Military community unparalleled access to business information, knowledge exchange and support.
As you will have heard me mention so many times before, ‘Enterprise Learning’ and understanding the mechanics of business are fundamental skills for life. It doesn’t matter how old or young you are, enterprise learning isn’t a one-off programme, an interesting read or a one hit wonder workshop. It is a journey of learning and doesn’t have an end, it’s a lifelong experience.
Since 2013 XFE has supported over 2,109 start-up businesses, of which 30% are women led, and lent over £19.6 million in responsible finance. We help you understand your personal motivations for business start-up and help you strategize and plan to make the business a success: your success is our success.
RAF Spouse, Military in Business® Ambassador for South Wales, Hannah Saunders of Toddle said:
“XFE helped Toddle a lot through its first year. It’s lovely to know you have someone there should you have an issue or difficult question and it’s also great meeting other veterans who are starting their own businesses; it’s lovely having a group of people in the same position as you who have been on a similar journey. I’m not sure where Toddle would be now without XFE to be honest.”
Naval Spouse, Military in Business® Ambassador for the South of England, Neil Hallsworth of Explorer Coffees attended a Spouses Self Employment Workshop which XFE ran in conjunction with Greenwich Hospital:
“I attended the first day with about 80% of the business plan in my head, by the end of the course I’d progressed to having approximately 95% of the detail thrashed out and down on paper. It really was the kick up the backside I needed to get on and produce the outputs to launch the company. From that point on XFE has aided me with the application for start-up funding and has now initiated a mentoring programme to support me through the business becoming operational.”
Army Spouse, Michelle Williams of Elementary Sciences said:
“Starting a business can be very daunting, and, at times, quite an isolating experience. Having the X-Forces team there to support you, including individuals who have specialist knowledge and expertise in access to finance, was really helpful. Getting going initially can be hard if you don’t have a business background, but X-Forces were on hand to explain the concepts like cash flow and setting up a business plan. It was also really useful to speak to others like me, on the workshops, and to exchange knowledge and solutions to mutual problems.”
To read more about XFE success stories take a look here.