Forces in Mind Trust is delighted to announce that a contract has been awarded to the Warwick Institute for Employment Research (IER) at the University of Warwick (in partnership with QinetiQ and X-Forces) to conduct an 18-month study into self-employment and the Armed Forces Community.

The Forces in Mind Trust has commissioned this research using a competitive tender process for an award worth £201,455.

Self-employment among the Armed Forces Community has been under researched, including the identification of any differences between the general population in motivations and routes into self-employment, as well as the barriers and support which can lead to subsequent success or failure.

This research will consider the self-employment of ex-Service and Reserve Force personnel, as well as the spouses of Service and ex-Service personnel, to fill the current gap in empirical evidence and contribute to policy making and service delivery.

The key objectives of the research project are to provide a thorough and comprehensive review of the Armed Forces Community and self-employment to:

  • Identify the characteristics of, and factors determining, successful self-employment;
  • Identify aspects unique to that Community compared to the general population;
  • Draw conclusions on the value of self-employment; and
  • Recommend how to enhance the contribution of self-employment to the overall employment outcome.

The study, led by Dr Clare Lyonette, Dr Sally-Anne Barnes and Dr David Owen of the IER will be supported by Natalie Fisher, Karen Newell, and Siobhan Frost from QinetiQ and Martin Wing and Ren Kapur MBE from X-Forces.

Ray Lock, Chief Executive of Forces in Mind Trust, said: “There is no existing evidence about the UK Armed Forces Community and self-employment, consequently we just don’t know where it features in our mission to enable successful and sustainable transition.  This research will, for the first time, provide a sound evidence base allowing policy makers and those supporting the Armed Forced Community who are considering self-employment, to better understand the challenges and successes of this group.”

Clare Lyonette, from IER said: “We are really looking forward to working on a project which aims to have long-term impacts on members of the Armed Forces community who are in the process of a major employment transition. We also hope to identify ways to support members of this community who are considering a move to self-employment in the future”.


Ray Lock is available for interviews.  To arrange an interview please contact 0207 284 6941 or Kate Turner at or on 07919 887 036 or 0207 284 6944.

About the Forces in Mind Trust (FiMT):

  • FiMT came about from a partnership between the Big Lottery Fund (‘the Fund’), Cobseo (The Confederation of Service Charities) and other charities and organisations.  FiMT continues the Fund’s long-standing legacy of support for veterans across the UK with an endowment of £35 million awarded in 2012.
  • The mission of FiMT is to enable ex-Service personnel and their families make a successful and sustainable transition to civilian life, and it delivers this mission by generating an evidence base that influences and underpins policy making and service delivery.
  • FiMT awards grants (for both responsive and commissioned work) to support its change model around 6 outcomes in the following areas: Housing; Employment; Health and wellbeing; Finance; Criminal Justice System; and Relationships.
  • All work is published in open access and hosted on the Veterans’ Research Hub.  A high standard of reportage is demanded of all grant holders so as to provide a credible evidence base from which better informed decisions can be made.

About the University of Warwick:

The University of Warwick is one of the world’s leading research institutions and is consistently ranked in the top 10 universities in the UK and top 100 in the world, with an acknowledged reputation for excellence in research, teaching and innovation alongside pioneering links with business and industry.

About X-Forces:

X-Forces is a social enterprise that nurtures entrepreneurial ambition in the UK military community, supporting start-up businesses and delivering innovative career opportunities.

The over-riding ambition is to provide sustainable and exciting careers through enterprise and employment that provide job-satisfaction and security, and in tandem benefit the economy now and into the future. X-Forces’ support extends to service leavers, veterans, reservists, spouses, dependants and cadets (over 18).

Since its launch in July 2013, X-Forces has supported over 700 new entrepreneurs, to whom £7.2M in seed funding has been lent (correct at 1.12.2016). X-Forces is an official delivery partner of the government’s Start Up Loans Company.

The MoD has appointed X-Forces as the Business Enterprise Trainer for the Career Transition Partnership, delivering support and training to those expressing an interest in business ownership and self-employment.

X-Forces has headquarters in London, with a further office in Birmingham.