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Dr Elizabeth Newman-Earl: Empowering the defence community with e50K

After completing her PhD focused on the impact of militarisation on spouses and partners, Dr Elizabeth Newman-Earl, a defence spouse herself, identified a need for tangible support for the community that extended beyond her research. In 2021, this ‘gap in the market’ that she had identified coalesced into e50K, a defence community interest company dedicated to empowering individuals within the MOD.

Fuelled by initial seed funding from Amey and driven by Elizabeth’s passion for serving the defence community, e50K has flourished. Today, it operates two distinct arms: place-based community programmes, delivering pre-employability skills and training, and a strategic advisory side, supporting defence contractors on their social value journeys. This dual approach not only serves the community directly but also fosters systemic change within the sector.

e50K emphasises the importance of a diverse and driven team. Equally importantly, it possesses a strong strategic vision for social value within the defence sector, developing analytical tools to measure and promote its impact. With nearly 50,000 people reached via social media, 24 events delivered for the armed forces and civilian communities, and nearly 1,500 combined hours of mentoring and education provided, this impact is being seen.

One example is the Bramble Woods programme, which is aimed at the regeneration of a 3.5-acre area of disused woodland situated in Catterick Garrison and employs spouses, partners and veterans. It also offers dozens of schoolchildren the chance to engage with nature, not to mention the clear environmental benefits that carbon sequestration brings for long-term sustainability.

Elizabeth was introduced to Heropreneurs by a mentee and friend, and she was immediately connected with a valuable mentor and a network of like-minded individuals. The presence of a ‘friendly ear’ was extremely valuable to Elizabeth as the business journey can often be a lonely one. Through the support and advice of her Heropreneurs network, Elizabeth was able to take e50K to new heights, culminating in her receiving ‘Heropreneur of the Year’ at an awards ceremony in The Shard.

Elizabeth thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the many great networking opportunities it provided. The award further validated the achievements of e50K and fuelled her determination to continue making a difference. She said, “Making inroads in the defence sector is very hard and while we have been successful, it is amazing to have the opportunity to showcase what we have and will continue to deliver.”

Looking ahead, e50K has some ambitious plans. Expansion within the defence sector, increased employment opportunities for community members and growth of their place-based programmes are just some areas Elizabeth has set her sights on.

Elizabeth’s overriding message goes far beyond business plans: “We are an amazing bunch of women with loads of capabilities! There is still a huge amount to do, and we are keen to accelerate our impact.”


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