By Max Clarke

With numbers of unemployed just shy of 2.5 million and a private sector struggling to absorb the excess, the 75,000 servicemen and women expected to leave the Armed Forces in the coming years will simply boost the numbers of jobless unless action is taken.

This is why the Federation of Small Businesses has teamed up with Heropreneurs, a new NGO aimed at helping veterans start up their own businesses.

"The Government is looking to the private sector to further strengthen the economic recovery, but with business confidence fragile and almost 20 people chasing each job vacancy, it must promote self-employment as a viable option to all,” commented the FSB’s national chairman, John Walker.

"It is a concern that self-employment is not promoted fully to those people that leave the Armed Forces and we urge the Government to look at the reasons why. It is more important than ever that people are given the skills and the opportunity to start their own businesses."

Small businesses want to employ but do not have the resources available to do so in the numbers needed to help drive down unemployment. By successfully launching businesses across the country, the partnership can deliver a real boost to the UK economy.

In a new report, ‘From the frontline to civvy street', the FSB and Heropreneurs have made a series of recommendations to help Government give service leavers the best chance of finding a career or starting-up their own business when they leave the Armed Forces, including business coaching and teaming up with recruiters.

Heropreneurs’ chief executive, Richard Morris also commented on the partnership:

"It is important to understand that this joint report is not pointing a finger at any past or the current Government. The issues are too important for that and we are where we are. After all, the MoD cannot do everything, nor should it. It is about everyone taking responsibility, the more that we as a society do, the less we will need the Government to do.

"There is an enormous opportunity to improve conditions for people in society if we take much more of a community approach to problem solving. Many of the qualities that a person needs to do well in the Armed Forces are the same qualities needed to become a successful entrepreneur and so it is vital that starting-up a business becomes a viable option for those leaving the Forces.

"By ensuring that resettlement becomes a part of everyday life — and not just something that is thought about as a person is about to leave — it will mean that personnel think more clearly about their post-services future and will better prepare them for life outside the forces."

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