Below you can read some of the stories from our mentees, mentors and supporters. Their experiences will demonstrate why Heropreneurs is important to them and how the charity has helped their business whilst supporting the military community.
Founders of SWiRL Global Steph and Rachael are setting out to change that fact by supporting the swimming journeys of children, initially offering swim float covers that will allow children to meet their sensory needs safely and hygienically.
The pair aim to develop other swim aids, toys and accessories which will promote accessibility and encourage neurodivergent individuals and those with disabilities into swimming.
Steph and Rachael joined the Heropreneurs mentoring programme in October 2020 and were assigned business leader Andy Bourne as their mentor. SWiRL Global has quickly grown into a community of swimmers, advocates, parents, teachers, athletes, and much more, all focused on bringing inclusion & community to the world of Aquatics.
Both military spouses, and with Steph a former Royal Navy Chief Petty Officer, the team spotted the potential in the market for their products and services, informed by Rachael’s experience as the parent of a child with sensory needs and Steph’s personal experience and role as a swimming teacher. Together, they set out to ask swimming teachers if they knew of existing products they were overwhelmed by the response from people asking for such items.
'Their efforts have been targeted at autistic children, their parents and swimming instructors delivering the learn-to swim programmes
As a start-up organisation, they had to face up to the challenges of launching a venture when swimming pools have been closed during the Covid pandemic. They have used this time to refine their vision and goals and to network with agencies and organisations across the globe to listen to and understand the challenges.
Their determination and persistence is remarkable and will add value to the lives of autistic children over the coming years’.
Reflecting on their time on the mentoring programme so far, the team note ‘We are beyond grateful to Andy for his support and his input in helping us develop from an idea, into a business that has designed and launched two additional products since our initial idea for a float cover. Andy really bought into our story, our passion and determination for what we were aspiring to and helped us channel that so that we can grow and bring about real change.
Anyone joining the Heropreneurs programme will benefit from the mentorship on offer and we would recommend Andy to anyone who is starting out in similar industries’.
Find out more about SWiRL Global here
Mentor Andy Bourne comments, ‘At the outset, the founders of SWiRL Global, Steph and Rachael had a clear vision, and importantly a passion to develop sensory considered products to support neurodiverse communities to learn to swim.'
Mark Maycroft, Soken
Mark Maycroft joined the Royal Marines in 2006, inspired by his friend’s experience and relishing the challenge of the training. The ‘99.9% need not apply’ slogan only spurred him on to be part of that special 0.1
His determination and drive have since stood him in good stead for the launch of his new business Soken, a mobile corporate wellness app that is designed to help employers look after all areas of employee health, improving staff morale, health and so productivity and even staff retention.
‘The Corps taught me to just get the job done, hours and time are irrelevant, so it means I work as and when I need to, to make sure everything is running well. I think it has also made me a very calm leader who learnt from my bosses how to pause, think and then react to any situation’.
A Heropreneurs mentee since early 2021, Mark worked as a personal trainer after leaving the Royal Marines while studying for a degree in sports science through the Open University. Now based in Dubai, his aim with Soken is to help employees who live busy lives make simple, small changes to help positively impact their physical and mental health.
Mark says, ‘I care and genuinely believe in what I’m building and have lived health and fitness for many years. I have infinite amounts to learn, but I want to grow and have a vision of what success is for me and this idea
Mark’s programme mentor, Ben Brabyn, comments, ‘“I’ve been talking with Mark since early August 2021 and I’m inspired by his passion and energy. He is dedicated both to improving the health and wellbeing of his clients, and to producing an ambitious, category-leading service.
Over the time we’ve been in touch, we’ve talked through the scope of the service, the processes for engaging clients and other key stakeholders, and some of the details of the pricing and business model. Mark is both visionary and pragmatic, and it’s a pleasure to join him on the Soken journey.”
For more information about Soken, please click here