Why Heropreneurs is necessary

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A lot of people ask  how Heropreneurs was thought of and why we do what we do; in the summer of 2010 I had the idea of forming an organisation that would transform the ingenuity, the training, skills, and agile thinking of the armed forces community.

Twelve months later, Heropreneurs was launched in the River Room in the House of Lords.

The idea behind the business creation model came from meeting a decorated former soldier who had been out of the British army for several years.

He had come from a background of grinding poverty in the north of England, had led a chaotic life before joining up and for a few years had led an equally chaotic life after leaving the forces.

He became a business owner by accident, and, when I met him five years after he set up in business, his company was turning over close to £1m a year and employing 50 people. Like many, he thought business was beyond him but he bootstrapped from day one, worked full out for seven days a week and kept his customers happy, day after day.

He put his success down to his military training, his ability to get on with people and the tenacity to succeed.

We see people like this every day and we see them as the people they are, as entrepreneurs and founders of start-up or early-stage companies, not as charity cases.

Can anyone set up in business? The simple answer is that you cannot know until you have a go. It is a journey that is not to be taken lightly. To say that ‘anyone can do it’ would be to raise expectations and would be irresponsible of us.

The truth is that not everybody will be suitable for a life in business and, if we think a business is flawed in any way, we’d rather tell someone upfront than set them up to fail and waste their time.

If being in denial is not a good place to be in life then it’s a particularly bad position to get into when in business. This is why our mentoring scheme is so important. A good first step as someone starting out in business is to admit you don’t know it all and to get someone with experience to help you.

Our mentors do just this. They come from diverse backgrounds but whatever else they have they are successful people who share the spirit and passion to educate others in the ways of running a business. It is part of the great human tradition of passing something on to the next generation.

We need more people to join our scheme over the next year as thousands of Service people are made redundant. Finding a business mentor is the most important help we can give them.

Over the last twelve months, we have continued to gather many corporate supporters including Rolls Royce, Cisco and Hogan-Lovells. We have spent money wisely, financially assisting a select few into business.

We have forged a number of strategic partnerships with business organisations such as the Federation of Small Business, we have taken part in Parliamentary debates, made friends at the MoD and Number 10 Downing Street, put forward new policy ideas and stimulated in people that vital sense of adventure required to make a success of possibly the most significant journey of their life.

But we need to do more.  We need to raise more funds from corporate sponsors, from large companies and small, from individuals who have a connection to the armed forces and from those who have none.

Underpinning our work is the belief that as a society, we have a duty of care towards those who have kept us safe, and in some cases, now face a future far different to the one they had intended. Join us in securing their future. We owe them our gratitude and thanks.

Richard Morris

Founder/Chief Executive

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