PATRONS AND AMBASSADORS
PATRONS & AMBASSADORS
Our Patrons and Ambassadors include some of the most well recognised names in the veterans' network. Their backgrounds are diverse and wide ranging to include former serving military to business excellence, technical ability and social consciousness.
Dick Applegate CB, OBE is Head of Strategy and New Business for Elbit Systems (UK) and a non-executive Director of a number of wholly-owned ES(UK) companies and of a Joint Venture between Elbit Systems and Thales. He also provides independent advice to a number of companies and international organisations, and has been a Director/investor in a novel materials company and a financial technology company.
He left the UK armed forces in late 2010 in the rank of Lieutenant General. His last appointment was as the first Chief of Materiel (Land) in the Defence Equipment and Support organisation and a member of the leadership board of the British Army for 3 challenging years. In the year before leaving the services, he completed corporate-level attachments to Boeing, BAE Systems, G4S and DHL in the US, India, Australia and the UK.
In addition to his UK honours, he is an Honorary French Foreign Legionnaire following combat command of Legionnaires in and around Sarajevo in 1995, and a holder of the US Legion of Merit (Officer Class). He is also a Fellow of the City and Guilds of London Institute and Chairman of fund-raising for the Royal Artillery.
After two years in a global role with UKTI, Ben is based in London and is mobile. He helps companies grow by finding customers and investors, and by building engaged teams and strong scalable processes. He combines vision with technological pragmatism. He has founded, built and sold an online payments business, and has recently completed a contract for the UK government improving access to finance for UK start-ups and innovative companies.
Ben brings together practical experience of entrepreneurship with deep understanding of national policy and delivery, and his team has increased its contribution to innovation finance by more than 1,000% in the last year, introducing over £100m of venture investment since April 2014. Before founding his own business he was an officer in the Royal Marines Commandos and an investment banker with J.P. Morgan in the UK, USA and Middle East.
Commercial specialities: sales, business development, service design, marketing, financial management, CRM, operations management, business modelling. Technical specialities: financial technology, internet security, data analysis, regulatory compliance.
Sarah is a political consultant and social entrepreneur. She is a former Prime Ministerial Adviser who has worked on a number of high profile, successful political campaigns until she left Downing Street in 2012 in order to move to Germany to support her husband’s military service and their young family. Following her return o the UK she held a senior position on the successful campaign to keep Scotland in the United Kingdom.
Sarah is currently running a start-up social business helping companies generate social as well as economic value.
She is also the founder of McNeill & Stone, a social enterprise which helps people understand how the political system works and how to access and influence it.
As a former British Army Officer with a War Studies degree, in her spare time she helps organisations looking to implement the Armed Forces Covenant and engage more effectively with the military community.
As a spouse of a currently serving member of the armed forces she lives on a military base in Scotland where she is very involved in supporting other entrepreneurs within the military spouse community.
Matt is the owner and Managing Director of Brigantes Consulting Limited. Brigantes was established to enable the development and supply of technical outdoor equipment and clothing to the military.
A former regular Royal Marines Officer he saw operational experience in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Upon leaving full time service he immediately joined the Royal Marines Reserve. Whilst as a reservist he mobilised for a second time to Afghanistan. Upon his return he trained within media operations and was involved in the military support to the London Olympics and completed full time reserve service delivering command training to regular Royal Marines.
Matt founded Brigantes in January 2014 as an offshoot from his family business, which had been involved within the Outdoor Industry for over 40 years. Before branching off from the family business he was the International Sales Director for Original Mountain Marathon (OMM). During this time he grew sales across Europe and Japan.
Matt supports Heropreneurs with business start up workshops. These focus on helping service leavers and their families to identify and develop business ideas and concepts so that they can establish successful businesses themselves.