Supporting the unsung hero

Do you want to be your own boss?

Find out about the Supporting the Unsung Hero FREE business course for dependants of the Armed Forces Community Find out how



Do you want to be your own boss? Would you like to run your own business?

The University of Wolverhampton offer a free business start-up course and mentoring programme for Service Dependants,’ run by experienced and knowledgeable business advisers. From graphic designers, writers and sports coaches to crafters and artists, we can guide you through the early stages of setting up your own business.

You will also have the chance to make new friends and business contacts. The Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme has been developed specifically for Armed Forces families to provide them with the transferable skills and support required to start and maintain a business.

We aim to make the course as relaxed and as much fun as possible and encourage the group to support each other throughout the programme.

With the support of the group it is hoped that you will not feel that you are on you own setting up your business. You will meet like-minded entrepreneurs and new friends who understand your circumstances as well as receiving the support of your business mentor.

The ten month business training and mentoring support programme is available to the Dependants’ of Armed Forces personnel, Veterans and Reservists from all three services at no cost regardless of location as it is funded by the Armed Forces Covenant (LIBOR) Fund and HSBC.

The 10 month Business Start-Up Programme consists of:

Month 1

Introduction to self-employment session

This session is designed to answer all of the questions you may have about becoming self-employed and starting a business. The session will be delivered at the Military Community Centres throughout the UK.

Months 2 and 3

Four Day Business Start-Up Course

The course will be delivered by an experienced business consultant at the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre. The course has been split down into two times two day courses over two months and will give you the knowledge required to start a business. The areas that will be covered during the programme include:

  • Market Research
  • Marketing
  • Law & Legislation
  • Business Planning
  • Cash Flow and Profit
  • Balance Sheets
  • Break-even
  • Financial Forecasting
  • Tax, National Insurance and VAT
  • Keeping Records

Months 4 to 10

Seven Month Mentoring Programme

This programme consists of five individual and two group mentoring sessions with a business adviser. The mentoring sessions have been designed to support you through the process of starting and maintaining a business.

The individual mentoring sessions with a business adviser are one hour per month and can be delivered over the telephone, via Skype or face-to-face at the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre. The two half day group mentoring sessions will be delivered at the Wolverhampton Business Solutions Centre.

The programme is delivered over ten months but you would not need to commit more than eight days to attend the training and support sessions during this period.

Although it is free to attend the programme, participants will be responsible for funding their own travel and subsistence to attend the training and mentoring sessions.

Contact Us

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Jen Ives, the wife of an Army Royal Engineer, is a busy mum of two who has successfully grown her award-winning business Grippy Leads, which creates innovative dog leads and collars, with help from the Business Start Up scheme.

Born in Penzance in Cornwall, Jen has returned to Truro with her family – and thanks to the scheme, she now has a career that she has been able to move with her. Jen has also been awarded the ‘Theo Paphitis Small Business Sunday Winner.’

“The Armed Forces Dependants’ Business Start-up programme has given a fantastic boost to my confidence. The programme has helped me to develop a really in depth commercial understanding that was essential to growing my business.

Recently we moved house and I was able to pick up my business and take it with me. Importantly, it has given me the opportunity to meet other like minded people and they‘ve provided an invaluable support network for me.”

Jen Ives

Founder of Grippy Leads, Grippy Leads

“The programme has given me the confidence and knowledge to understand how to approach my business in laser hair removal. Within two months of starting the course I had devised a business plan and with the help of my assigned business mentor I successfully secured funding.

I am now the Company Director of my own, thriving business ‘Xodos Aesthetics Ltd’. I certainly wouldn’t be where I am now without the programme.”

Sally Wagstaff

Company Director, Xodos Aesthetics Ltd

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