NINE Service dependants have been chosen to receive a special recognition award for their commitment, effort and success in starting a new business.

The University of Wolverhampton’s award-winning business start-up programme “Supporting the Unsung Hero” has been tailored to meet the needs of Armed Forces families and was a successful bidder to the £35 million LIBOR fund made available by the Prime Minister.

Showcasing new business

At a reception and business fair held at the University of Wolverhampton Science Park, programme delegates were given the opportunity to exhibit and promote their businesses to an invited audience comprising military, government and civilian VIPs.

Winners were selected by the Black Country Chamber of Commerce training and mentoring team for demonstrating business acumen, personal determination, drive, commitment to the programme and peer to peer support. They were Paula Ferris, Positive Enerje; Sally Wagstaff, Xodos Aesthetics; Clare Arnott, To sew Arnott to Sew; Helen Wagstaff, Partylite; Holly Lees, Unravelled learning; Holly Savage, Rocks Design; Ellen Thomason, KVE Angels; Jo Smith, New Beginnings; and Angela Wilson, New Beginnings (all pictured above, standing).

Meeting a real need

The University’s Armed Forces Co-ordinator Lianne Bradbury said: “A military spouse has to overcome many barriers to maintaining continuous and meaningful employment.

“Setting up in business is a practical solution for some Service families and has proven immensely rewarding for those who have given it a go with the support of our business programme.

“Supporting the Unsung Hero is successful because it meets a real need within the Armed Forces community, as demonstrated by the 180 Service dependants who have attend the course and the nine worthy, award winners today.”

Started in June last year, the programme is in high demand from Service families and is due to expand throughout the UK and overseas.

Dr Heather McNaughton, Head of Service and Veterans Welfare MoD, said: “The military spouses I have met today have true entrepreneurial spirit and have grasped every opportunity presented to them to be successful in business.

“I am honoured to have played a small part in helping to secure funding for the programme and to see the impact it has had on peoples’ lives.”

Find out more

The Dependants’ Business Start-Up Programme provides Armed Forces families with the transferable skills and support required to start and maintain a business that will not be restricted to a geographical area.

For further information, contact Lianne Bradbury on 01902 321 677 or visit www.wlv.ac.uk/supportingtheunsunghero

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