Stephen Fear, who opened his first business at the age of 16 from a red phone box and now runs a multinational trading company, said that finding a business mentor is the most important help someone thinking of going into business can look for.
Mr Fear, a patron of military charity Heropreneurs and the British Library’s Entrepreneur in Residence, said: ‘We need more entrepreneurs and the majority of the people wanting to go into business need advice and mentoring – they are hungry for it, and to get it in very concentrated form is critical.
‘The second item they need is to build their network, and they also want the validation of saying ‘Mr or Mrs X has invested time in me’ or ‘so-and-so wrote about me’. Ironically the last thing they want is money. It’s not the first thing, because they know that if they get the first three things right, that will come.’
Richard Morris, the founder and CEO of registered charity Heropreneurs which has dedicated itself to advising and supporting ex armed forces personnel and their spouses who want to start a business said:
‘The majority of those coming out of the forces have integrity, energy, passion, leadership skills, adaptability and perseverance; they are capable entrepreneurs not charity cases.
‘At a time when London’s economy needs more small businesses to succeed, we are calling for a mass movement of people to help secure a business future for people who have helped keep them secure.
‘Starting a business can be a daunting experience so we want people with expertise, huge insight, and knowledge from being in business, and have got the scars to prove it, to join our special mentoring service .’
The Heropreneurs event, ‘From Battlefield to Business’, will be held at the British Library Conference Centre on St Pancras Road on July 3 and begins at 6pm. As well as Stephen Fear, four other ex-Forces entrepreneurs will be attending, including William Kendall who served as an Army officer in The Royal Anglian Regiment.