AN initiative aimed at helping Armed Forces veterans to set up their own businesses after leaving the military has proven so successful that it is set to become a regular event.

Veterans from across Yorkshire attended the networking opportunity at Wathgill Training Camp, near Leyburn, where they had a priceless opportunity to discuss their ideas with some of the UK’s most successful companies.

The event was organised by businessman Richard Tucker, who is the Northern ambassador for X-Forces, a social enterprise that nurtures entrepreneurial ambition in the UK military community, and Landmarc Support Services, a leading supplier of support services to the military.

All the organisations taking part had signed up to support the Armed Forces Covenant which enshrines in law the moral obligation between the nation, the Government and the Armed Forces.

In addition to the national covenant, community covenants at a local level exist to help integrate veterans returning to ‘civvy street’ by offering help and support as well as promoting understanding and awareness among the wider public of issues affecting the military.

Veterans who took part agreed the initiative gave them a valuable opportunity to sell their business services – and entrepreneurial ideas – to major companies.

Steve Johnson, regional operations manager for Landmarc Support Services, said: “Working at Landmarc, we all believe strongly that it is our duty to support our Forces; whether it’s providing the best training facilities for our serving troops or providing help and advice when personnel return to civilian life.

“This is why we pledged our commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant in 2014 and are a proud supporter of the X-Forces’ ‘Big Business supporting Small Business’ campaign.

“It was our pleasure to host this North-East Ambassador networking event at Wathgill Training Camp with our valued supplier, AAA Caring Caretaker Ltd. Events such as these are an important part of our commitment to help support smaller businesses, entrepreneurs and start-ups.”

Mr Tucker, who served in North Yorkshire and whose business cover the whole of Yorkshire and beyond, was awarded the MBE for service to business and the local community last year. He said he was delighted with the networking event, adding: “It’s gone so well that I’m already planning to run more later this year.”

Col Mark Holden, regional commander for the defence training estate for Northern England, who also attended, said: “I think this was an extremely useful event both for ex-services personnel looking to establish a new business venture and for organisations reaching out.

“For me personally it was good to meet the X-Forces people, such as Richard, and see at first hand the great work they are doing by offering expert advice and mentoring.

“Having been through the resettlement process I know that you can sometimes feel quite isolated when you leave the Armed Forces and re-enter civilian life. Networking events like this are a timely reminder that you are not on your own.

“I am sure there is a demand for this kind of networking event and I’m looking forward to attending more in the future. Richard is to be congratulated on making such a success of it.”