Be the Boss fund suspended!

So, after three months of arrseing around, writing and re-writing a bloody great business plan and cash-flow forecast that could launch a fortune 500 company, the British Legion has just, with no warning, suspended applications for the Be the Boss scheme, leaving me (and according to my “advisor” another 35 guys he’s dealing with) out in the cold!

I cannot express in language that can be published on here how thoroughly fcuked off I am. The B.L. do an amazing job but this has got to be the worst, underhanded and bloody crappy thing they could have done!

This Tribe

I've also got first hand experience of the painful bureaucracy involved in leaping through the hurdles involved in the BtB application process. We've actually had our application accepted (eventually!) but haven't taken the money out yet so are not 100% sure where that leaves us.

I haven't seen anything online about this yet and it would certainly be interesting to hear from the RBL with the rationale. I guess the fact that your advisor has so many other people in the pipeline indicates that there is certainly a demand from ex-serviceman who are trying to be innovative, etc.
This Tribe, I get the feeling you're safe! This is what I got this morning;


I write to inform you of some changes to the Be the Boss programme.

Due to the high volume of applications, the Royal British Legion have decided to suspend the scheme, while they undertake a full review of the programme and its objectives.

As of the 14th January all applications not Submitted or approved by DSL for grant/loan funding have been suspended.

However Blue Orchid will continue to provide you with support in starting your business. If you would like to discuss this further and explore the implications this may have on you personally please do not hesitate to contact your Business Advisor, who can direct you to any potential local funding that may be available.


Tracy Tebble

Tracey Tebble

National Enterprise Manager

Business Advisor Personnel message here….

Hi Stuart, I got this letter yesterday I am so sorry about this, bear in mind it isn’t Blue Orchid it is Royal British Legion who have done this, it came as a complete surprise to us at Blue Orchid today, I will still help you to try and raise funding keep in touch, you never know.

Best Regards"

Tracy Tebble

Tracey Tebble

National Enterprise Manager
That the dopey bint can't even decide how to spell her name doesn't say much good about her outfit.

PS: Depending on how bothered you are about PERSEC, you might want to remove your name from the bit at the bottom.
Looks like they've overstretched themselves! I've been trying to set this business up for the last six months; I've always been told “never over-promise, never under-deliver”! RBL have managed to do both I think!

This Tribe went through the Be the Boss programme following advice from Mr. Happy ( It took months and a lot of paperwork, but we were approved a grant and loan of £40k. We didn't draw it immediately, but when I heard that BtB was being cancelled I called BBV, the loan provider this morning and they agreed to release the funds to us immediately. So we've got our funds.

I heard that more than 30 companies have not been so fortunate, despite having put a lot of work into preparation, and I contacted Civvy Street and also Heropreneurs who provide mentoring and advice for ex-mil entrepreneurs. I know that the founder of Heropreneurs is working on improving access to finance, and I offered to arrange a meeting with the team at Civvy Street to see if Heropreneurs could help. Richard Morris of Heropreneurs agreed immediately.

This afternoon I got an email reply from Civvy Street asking that I "provide a breakdown of the purpose of the meeting including any points that would form the basis of an agenda". I replied suggesting that Heropreneurs might be able to pick up some of the pieces for the dozens of companies that have been left swinging in the breeze (and maybe suffering consequential losses). I haven't heard back from Civvy Street yet.

I'll update if/when I do hear back. Civvy Street also told me that they were preparing an email for all companies on the Be the Boss programme that would be sent out this afternoon with further information. I haven't yet received this.

Meanwhile best of luck with identifying alternative sources of funds.
This Tribe, they did say anyone allocated funds before 14th Jan would get them. Let me know how the meeting goes, if you attend please let them know what a fcuk up this is!
It's understandable that the level of applications would cause them to stop taking new ones. However, if they're suspending all current applications to "undertake a full review of the programme and its objectives" (management speak for "sort out this mess"), it does sound like they've****ed it up.

I hope they get it together. I know how hard it can be to get funding for a business. They're putting people's lives on hold, not just grant applications.

I'm also effected by this decision. I've worked hard on our Business plan and Sale forecast since August last year. We've had it completed several weeks ago, and have had it bounced back for slight amendments. We've now nearly spent all my personal cash from leaving the ARMY, almost 3k, to start this business up thinking that this funding was just round the corner. We've made a letter to send RBL headquaters and will also be taking it to our local MP. Here's a copy if you guys are interested, maybe if we make enough stink we'll get the money we have been promised all those months ago.

Dear Sirs,

I’m writing to you in utter dismay having being informed today that the months of hard work I have been doing to complete my business plan under the guidance of Blue Orchid has been for nothing, because you have decided to pull the plug on the Be the Boss scheme.

I’d had a hard time adjusting to civilian life after being medically discharged from the army with PTSD last year and the prospect of running my own business in an industry I hugely enjoy with many opportunities has helped motivate me to do something better with my life and to get out of the rut I found myself in.

I have spent many hours of hard work on research, product and service development and the business plan represents just the tip of the iceberg in terms of the time and effort that I have put into this business.

It is especially hard for me to take this news as I had completed my business plan and forecasts several weeks ago which was being reviewed by Blue Orchid – I feel like all the work I have done is for nothing and I am back to where I started with nothing to show for it and no prospect for getting my business off the ground. Your funding was essential for me to start the business.

I urge you to reconsider your position and at the very least allow the Veterans such as myself who have already done all the work required to have the opportunity you promised us all those months ago.

Yours faithfully,
A4Service, I think that letter is very good, I'd be more than happy if you put my name on that letter, I'm pretty much screwed now, I've also spent every penny I had trying to push this forward, this last month I've been sitting in Starbucks or McD's for the free internet because I can’t afford to have it at home anymore. I don’t mean to be melodramatic, but I really do think this is going to ruin me. The complete arsing around I've had to do for this bloody money has made my head spin.


I can't help thinking that this would have been expected, in some circles. Maybe among "advisers", and among the BtB and Blue Orchid admin. Just flicking the switch on BtB is pretty shitty, they must have known how that would affect their clients, and in most cases I imagine we're talking about people's livelihoods. It was BtB and Civvy Street who advertised the service in the first place, to attract budding entrepreneurs. The old and bold cnuts cynicism still goes; you can never depend on what you're told and what you read, don't believe the hype. Do as much for yourself and your family as you possibly can, because the system will let you down. Don't wait for "sorry".
Does anyone affected have legal insurance/know a lawyer who'd take this on at a reduced rate or pro bono? I can't help thinking there might be some means of applying legal pressure.

No idea what, as I'm not a lawyer, but worth looking into.

As is finding ways of getting this into the mainstream press. Do I understand rightly that this was an RBL scheme? If so, perhaps they'd rather show some flexibility than face a whole load of bad publicity, even though various posts on here have indicated that they've become less and less in touch with ordinary ex-forces bods in recent years.

Just a couple of ideas. I have others, but they involve pick helves and the more sensitive parts of whoever pulled the rug out from under your feet.
Hey Flaggie, I've been advised to goto the local MP, 'member of parliament', since scheme was government funded running through the RBL. They'd be able to represent you and make one hell of a stink.
Have you noticed all e-mails to BlueOrchid are now bouncing back too. Looks like another promise of staying on with them to help our businesses has also gone.
Hey Flaggie, I've been advised to goto the local MP, 'member of parliament', since scheme was government funded running through the RBL. They'd be able to represent you and make one hell of a stink.
Luckily I'm not affected as I'm just a normal wage-slave, but I do feel for all you guys who've been slogging your guts out to assemble a business plan, only to be told to piss off.
Looks like another cash saving scheme! If anyone has links to the press I'd be happy to let them know how much I've invested personally, time, money, sleep and equipment! I'm still bloody angry and amazed at how RBL can do this in such an underhanded way to so many guys who really want to make a life for themselves. In my case it’s not just me and my daughter they are letting down I've got two guys, ex-grunts who have been working with me to try and get this going. All of us have been doing this for no pay, I've been fronting any cash we've needed and now I'm in the crap, big style!
These grants and loans all come from the RBL's own money right? Pretty sure they have an empty suit recruiting drive on at the moment - they need to get their priorities straight. Make a transition to a less bureaucratic application process by all means, but don't just slam the anchors on and chuck the baby out with the bathwater.

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I don’t know if it’s their own money or the governments, either way, it’s a very definite U-turn on supporting the former service personnel trying to set up much needed businesses in the middle of this mess we call a recession!
My bad BlueOrchid mail working again.

Been in contact with local Member of Parliament and Local Assembly Member, they want to resolve the issue and i have meetings with them at the end of the week.

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