UK veterans are an untapped business resource


The entrepreneurial and workplace talent of Britain’s military veterans isn’t being fully realised, according to a report from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB). The report, ‘A Force For Business’, calls for a better connection between service leavers and the small business community.

FSB’s research finds that more than one-in-ten (12%) of Britain’s small businesses have employed a service leaver in the last three years.

FSB National Chairman, Mike Cherry, said: “For those seeking employment, small businesses can often be better than bigger ones at spotting and nurturing talent, rather than discarding a service leaver’s job application because some of their skills and qualifications aren’t necessarily from a traditional academic route.”

However, Mike cautions that employers need to better understand the equivalence between military and civilian skills.

FSB’s research further suggests there are around 340,000 (6%) small businesses owned by service leavers, and the vast majority (78%) have grown to take on employees. 50% have between one and 10 employees; while 7% have in excess of 50 employees. 22% are sole-traders.

Mike Cherry said: “Setting up and running your own business requires courage, determination and a strong work ethic. These are attributes which service leavers have in spades, and why self-employment is a route well worth considering for those coming towards the end of their time in the Armed Forces.

“But there is room for greater support and advice to service leavers on the options of self-employment or finding work within an existing smaller business, and there should be more of a focus on the key skills needed to succeed in enterprise.”

The FSB recommends an enhanced support package for those transitioning out of the armed forces, including a greater focus on the option of self-employment and the key skills needed.

The report also recommends more financial support for those service leavers in need of further training and qualifications to achieve their post-military ambitions.

Lt. Col. Ren Kapur, Founder and CEO of X-Forces Enterprise, and FSB’s Armed Forces Champion for Small Business, said: “Many skills developed within the Armed Forces community are in high demand in the commercial world: cybersecurity, drone technology, telecommunications, logistics, prosthetics, and artificial intelligence, to name just a few.

“These extremely valuable skills must not be lost to the commercial world, whether employed or self-employed. It is likely that these individuals can experience and flourish in both after serving their country so well.”