Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
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£5 million investment to help Service heroes start up

£5 million investment to help Service heroes start up

News Release issued by the COI News Distribution Service on 17 November 2011

The Be the Boss scheme for ex-service personnel is being expanded to include all Service-leavers.

The initiative offers business start-up training, grants and loans up to £30,000 as well as mentoring. Funded by BIS and delivered by the Royal British Legion (RBL), the scheme has attracted over 1,000 registrations so far.

Business Minister Mark Prisk said:

“It is terrific that we can extend Be the Boss to all Service-leavers. This scheme provides a means for many ex-Service personnel, whose employment options are limited by injury, to become entrepreneurs.

“Service people face distinctive difficulties in starting businesses such as a lack of a network after a mobile career, and this is reflected in the low rate of self-employment in this group – which is just 6 per cent.

“We are very grateful for the sterling work done by RBL. They had not previously been involved with enterprise, being a charity principally concerned with providing welfare services. They are now very switched onto encouraging enterprise amongst their members.”

The £5m funding for the Be the Boss Scheme has been structured as an endowment with the aim that RBL will also lever in additional private sector co-investment to ensure the sustainability. The scheme acts as a central portal, allowing delivery partners to do what they specialise in before directing applicants back to Be the Boss for the next stage of the process within the scheme. This ensures that RBL do not duplicate capacity available elsewhere but focus instead on applicants and their experience.

RBL were chosen to administer the scheme due to their UK‑wide coverage, respect amongst Service personnel, tri-Service coverage and the capability to deliver. The scheme opened for expressions of interest on 1 April 2010 and applications were accepted from 14 June 2010.

In total, the Be the Boss network comprises four governments, six subcontractors, 58 independent partners, and 200+ delivery organisations. As of 6 June 2011, there were 1026 active applicants.

Notes to Editors 1. RBL are working with a range of delivery partners across the UK, including: Leonard Cheshire Disability, Prince’s Trust, Prince’s Scottish Youth Business Trust and GLE One London (a Community Development Finance Institution), who RBL have sub-contracted to provide training and financial services. In addition, referral-based relationships have been put in place with BusinessLink (England), Business Support in Wales (Wales), Business Gateway (Scotland) and InvestNI (Northern Ireland). They are also working with the MoD and Career Transition Partnership to deliver training at resettlement centres to Service members in the process of transitioning to CivvyStreet.

2. The Pre-Budget Report in December 2009 had announced £5m of funding via the SIF to provide enterprise support to “service personnel returning from conflict, including those who may be disabled as a result of their service …by reducing the costs and barriers associated with self-employment and setting up a new business”.

3. BIS's online newsroom contains the latest press notices, speeches, as well as video and images for download. It also features an up to date list of BIS press office contacts. See for more information.


BIS Press Office

William Dingli
Phone: 020 7215 5950

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