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3,000th Military Entrepreneur Empowered by British Business Bank Finance is Thai Restaurant in Warrington


Supported by £24,000 Start Up Loan

Start Up Loans and X-Forces Enterprise have supported 3,000 businesses in the Armed Forces community with the recipient of the 3,000th loan a Thai restaurant owner in Warrington.

X-Forces Enterprise and the Start Up Loans programme, part of the British Business Bank, have together provided 3,000 entrepreneurs in the Armed Forces community with the funding and support to start a business.

Since 2013, this partnership has provided a total of £33.5 million in funding and support, catalysing fulfilling new careers for service leavers, veterans, reservists, and military spouses. The cumulative impact extends beyond individual success stories, with in excess of an estimated 10,000 jobs created and sustained.

The milestone follows last month’s announcement of Op PROSPER, a service from the Office for Veterans’ Affairs, to support veterans into work after they leave the Armed Forces, backed by £2.1m of new funding.

Over the 12 months ending March 2024, 415 loans were provided by X-Forces and Start Up Loans. 31% of these went to female-led businesses and 7% to ethnic minorities. The largest regions for the finance were the North West with 17%, South West (16%) and South East (12%). Overall, almost 95% went outside London.

Since the partnership started in 2013/14, 34% of loans have gone to female business owners and 10% of recipients were unemployed before setting up a business.

X-Forces Enterprise Founder and CEO Ren Kapur MBE commented:

“Entrepreneurs from the Armed Forces community excel due to their resilience, adaptability, and quick learning. Their core strengths and skills acquired from service enable them to navigate the challenges of business swiftly and effectively, and we are proud to facilitate Start Up Loans finance to bolster their endeavours and, indeed, generate jobs. Our own analysis suggests that the economic contribution of these 3,000 businesses is over three quarters of a billion pounds per annum.”

Phil Williams spent nearly 17 years in the Army in the Royal Dragoons Guard regiment. He has returned to his hometown of Warrington to set up a Thai restaurant with his Thai partner, Chanisara which opened on 3rd May this year.

He applied for a Start Up Loan to help turn the Warrington town centre market stall he was running with his partner into a Thai restaurant in The Hive, Warrington, a busy area with high footfall. They spent five years looking for a restaurant site and have created employment eight people in the new business. Phil accessed a £24,000 Start Up Loan.

Phil is proud to be a veteran and at the market stall they ran offered a 10% discount for members of the Armed Forces.

He is ambitious for the business, looking to make £500,000 revenue in the first year and grow by 25% in both year two and year three of the venture.

Phil Williams, co-owner, Krapow Thai Restaurant:

“I heard about Start Up Loans from the business owner next door. Getting the finance has helped us to buy the kitchen equipment, pay tradespeople and buy fixtures and fittings for the opening. The best thing about being a business owner is not having a boss, except the girlfriend.

The military skills I lean on are perseverance, patience, listening and getting advice – if I don’t know something, I speak to someone who does. Teamwork has been vital in managing the restaurant refit.

We had a lot of enquiries before we opened and have been booked up ever since we finished fitting out the restaurant. Now we’re looking to do even more as we want to have a barman doing Thai cocktails.”

Richard Bearman, Manging Director, Small Business Lending, British Business Bank said:

“We’re delighted Start Up Loans has supported 3,000 veterans from the Armed Forces community to start businesses across the UK. X-Forces Enterprise is one of our most successful partners, whose supportive model helps us provide opportunities for Armed Forces members and their families to turn their business dreams into reality. We wish Phil and Chanisara all the best with their Thai restaurant and the exciting expansion it represents from starting as a market stall.”

Since its inception in 2013, X-Forces Enterprise has enabled the Armed Forces community to access government-funded Start Up Loans, serving as an official Business Support Partner for the British Business Bank’s Start Up Loans programme.

Entrepreneurs receive dedicated support from a business advisor to develop their business plan and assess cash flow, along with ongoing mentoring guidance throughout the crucial first twelve months following their business launch. The business owner may also access a wide portfolio of training and networking opportunities, fully-funded through X-Forces Enterprise’ unique collaborations with military charities and big business.

Find out more about Krapow Thai Restaurant

Find out more about The Start Up Loans Company

Find out more about X-Forces Enterprise