The Milspo Business Network has teamed up with Small Business Britain to help launch an important campaign to support military spouses, partners and other halves in business during these difficult times. Many small businesses across the UK have been devastated by COVID-19 and do not know where to turn to for support. Many are not reaching out at all. The Big Support campaign is a nationwide effort to help small businesses through the unprecedented situation facing them today. It aims to provide support ranging from direct business aid and mental health support to business showcasing.

Military spouses and partners, who already deal with unique challenges on a daily basis, are now facing even more uncertain times as their partners re-task and deploy as front-line key-workers. The Milspo Business Network wants to support small business owners through this crisis and offer hope for themselves, their families and their staff. That’s why throughout May as part of the Big Support campaign, we’ll be selecting 30 members of the Network to have their businesses exclusively showcased. Each day of the month, a different business will be advertised and promoted by the Network, bringing that company to the attention of the Armed Forces community and the wider business community across the UK and beyond.

The Big Support campaign is happening with the backing of Health Secretary Matt Hancock, Secretary of State for BEIS Alok Sharma, Small Business Minister Paul Scully, and BT.

What is MILSPO?

The Milspo Business Network™ is a global network that supports all UK military spouses, partners and other-halves to build the business of their dreams. Using digital solutions to provide valid and functional training, networking and access to a community not limited by location. A network to help inspire this often isolated but inspirational community living the ‘magnolia walled life’ and running their own business. The Milspo Business Network is a subsidiary of The InDependent Spouse CIC.

Day 11 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with @smallbizuk, and today we hear from Hannah Hubbleday, a freelance graphic designer.
“Since choosing to live with my husband as he moves around the country, I decided to become a freelance Graphic Designer. After having a successful agency career it was an exciting and nerve wracking venture!
“I specialise in print design and business branding. Ranging from event graphics to logo creation, screen graphics and packaging to mention a few. I add value to your businesses brand and communication through clear and creative design.
“I love feeling connected to other spouses in business in @milspobusinessnetwork. Often our careers are put on a back burner or considered not as important as our serving partners.
“It’s great to see so many partners making a success of their businesses, in often pretty challenging circumstances. It’s great to have a network to chat to about ideas and new business ventures, that also understands the challenges of military life.
“At the moment, I’m helping the NHS with some of their covid comms to help communicate how to work from home and how to stay safe at work.
“I’m also enjoying having more time to focus on personal creative projects I’ve not had time to complete.”

“Day 12 and next up in Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with @britainsmallbiz is Abbie Sorabjee from Nala Coaching •
“Nala Coaching runs bespoke, personalised coaching courses for you to learn everything you need to create your own cash-flowing property investment business.

“I have really been there and done it with property, and since starting investing from scratch in 2015, I’ve built up a property portfolio of over £1.5 million.

“I work 1-on-1 and step-by-step with clients as a mentor, providing resources and guidance to pass on all of the knowledge you need to set up and grow your own property investment business.

“On top of this, I also hold you accountable to your own goals and ambitions, so that you have the confidence to take action and turn your dream lifestyle into a reality!

“Being part of @milspobusinessnetwork is incredible. Milspo is a massive source of business and mindset inspiration for me, thanks to all of amazing, successful people who make up the community.

“The amount and variation of knowledge within the network is simply staggering and everyone is genuinely there to support each other. It has been tough at times to pick up my business and move it around as and when needed, but having the Milspo Network has kept me connected with a core group of remarkable entrepreneurs who are there to help in virtually any way they can.

“From a friendly smile and catch up, to specific business advice, Milspo provides me and my business with seemingly endless resources and support. I have never come across such an open, sharing and emotionally caring community as Milspo in any other networking group and I’m not sure one even exists!

“Whilst COVID-19 is providing challenges for my business, I also strongly believe there are many opportunities. I have used this societal pause, to finally move more of my business online, so that I can support my clients from wherever they are in the world.

Onto Day 13 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with @smallbizuk, and it’s a pleasure to introduce Helen from @thedaisyway

“The Daisy Way is an earth-conscious, independent wedding and events florist, based in a little rural village just outside of Winchester. My style is romantic, botanical and steeped in nostalgia.

“I do not use any floral foam, due to it being a single use plastic, and I try to use seasonal British Flowers wherever possible sourced from local lovely businesses! I take couples, and brands, on a creative journey, supporting them to showcase their relationship/story through romantic, brave and eye-catching blooms.

“As a military spouse there are additional hurdles when it comes to employment and running a business. We change locations every two years and thus it’s hard to maintain a presence within local areas. Iit also makes booking weddings challenging as you never know where in the country you might end up!

“Knowing that it’s not just my business that struggles, and that there are hundreds of entrepreneur military partners out there helps immensely. @milspobusinessnetwork is there to offer support and guidance and I’m just so grateful it exists.

“For my business, COVID-19 has produced some significant challenges as all events have been cancelled! Therefore I’ve been working out how I can still offer a service to people online.

“Whilst something like flower arranging can feel super trivial at the moment, we also all need the time and space to do some mindful activities which take our attention away from the realities of life. I want to try and give people just five minutes of head space away from the craziness if I can.”

Amy Peak and Peak Movement Clinic is Day 14’s featured business in Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain
“As a therapist I help people recover from surgery and physical trauma using a combination of soft tissue and ScarWork therapy, movement and wellness coaching.
“My passion is the ScarWork treatments and seeing how such a gentle treatment can have a huge impact on the recovery/movement of the recipient. It is a relatively new therapy but has been well-received in the rehabilitation industry with therapists being invited to support the Invictus Games.
“My business ethos is all about helping others and so I have also established a co-working hub for other health professionals in South Oxfordshire – Peak Movement Clinic. We provide a space for them offer classes, personal training sessions and therapies, whilst also providing opportunities for them to collaborate and learn additional business and CPD skills.
“The Milspo Network has helped me to engage with a community that knows exactly the barriers I face as a military spouse. Providing us all with a platform to ask questions and support each other.
“In the long term going virtual, is something that is going to serve my business well and is a perfect solution to being transient; those clients that I move away from due to postings will now be able to remain supported via online appointments.
“I have continued to support the professionals at Peak Movement Clinic by advertising their virtual offerings and ‘team’ meetings to check-in on each other. The pandemic has really made the community pull together and each one of us re-address our business opportunities, along with evaluating our work-life balance. Definitely a positive thing.”
Onto Day 15 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain and today we have Fiona telling us about Little Erika’s
“Here at Little Erika’s we offer handmade, unique gifts for the little people in your life. From comfort blankets to quilts, bibs to reusable baby wipes, we’re confident you’ll find the perfect gift that’s safe from birth for your little person.
“We’re passionate about supporting small business and always have been, especially those of fellow forces families. Having recently discovered The Milso Network, we’ve been blown away by the breath of talent and creativity on show from this dynamic community.
“Whilst there are many benefits that, for us at least, far outweigh any drawbacks, it can still be extremely isolating to work for yourself as a small business owner. Add to that the unsettled, transient nature of forces life, and the current situation we find ourselves in as a nation on lockdown, the support and space to share offered by groups like MILSPO is simply invaluable.
“As regards the COVID-19 pandemic we’re feeling very grateful as sewists here at Little Erika’s, to be able to join the thousands of volunteers across the country that are sewing for our NHS. We have been using any spare time we can muster to run up uniform wash bags and ear savers for donation to our incredible NHS staff nationwide.
“In addition to this, we are offering an ongoing 25% discount to all key workers for the duration of the UK lockdown, across our entire product range, in recognition of their dedication and selfless commitment.
“Mostly, we are feeling positive and incredibly grateful for our continued health, as well as for the opportunity to stay at home with the people we love most… and our beloved sewing machine! Our thoughts are with everybody, including Mr Little Erika’s, who continue to go out to work.”
Day 16 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain and today’s featured business is OFF THE PATCH
“OTP is a specialised military lettings and property management agency. We facilitate private rentals within the military community by placing military families in homes owned by other military personnel or its affiliates.
“Our service is available to those currently serving in the armed forces or MOD, veterans and those working in the defence industry (such as BAE Systems, Leonardo etc).
“The Milspo Network is a great virtual network shoulder that we have leant on from time to time. The content and “meet ups” are a really great tool for spouses in our shoes, running business within our magnolia walls, considering how isolated we are; even more so than ever before!
“We have found it truly inspirational to hear first-hand from other Milspos, how they have, and are, paving their way through creating businesses, while living on the home front.
“Both our other halves serve in the RAF and spend sizeable chunks of time away from home. This lifestyle can be so isolating, but just knowing that others are going similar experiences, and come out the other side with something to show for themselves (which is theirs in their own right) is empowering to hear.
“We have linked with other businesses as a direct result of the Milspo Business Network. It is vital to be able to network without leaving home given our circumstances as military dependants regards of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It’s been a challenging time to juggle running the business with childcare as well as the usual military stresses, but the support of our OTP agents, landlords and tenants really has shone through and demonstrated how wonderful and strong our community is.”
Over half-way through Milspo’s month-long #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain and today it’s the turn of Emma Wight-Boycott and her businesses, Lime Health and Emma Nutrition
“Lime Health is an importer, wholesaler and distributer of nutrition supplements and foods, and Emma Nutrition is a skin and nutrition consultancy for women.
“Lime Health products are stocked at Wholefoods, Revital and independent stores. Through Emma Nutrition I offer skin and nutrition consultancy to women using my nutrition qualifications, specialist supplements and bespoke programs.
“The Milspo Network is a constant support despite our relocation. It provides me with a network that is not location specific and that gets the challenges military spouses face.
“For example I’ve had to set my businesses up entirely outsourcing anything that is location specific and things like that feel strange to do except when you tell a military spouse who requires no explanation of why you did that!
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made me persist with setting up my Amazon sales which are now happening. It has also reaffirmed to me that health is a commodity and people will, and need to, invest in it for themselves and their families.”

It’s Day 18 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain, and next up is Gillian Jones with Gillian Jones Designs.

“I am an artist and produce a range of stylised, contemporary military art with a vintage feel.

“I aim for fresh, original designs, sometimes with a quirky twist, that can be personalised to for the individual and make them smile. My work is popular with serving and ex-members of the armed forces, and I often produce individual career prints, showing all the units in which someone has served.

“As well as producing framed prints, I have a range of merchandise, including a collaborative collection with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity.

“The Milspo Network is great because I love being able to get to know others in a similar situation and being part of a group that is always willing to share ideas, expertise and support. The weekly networking sessions are particularly helpful during this time of social isolation in making me feel connected.

“Thanks to my slightly dodgy health, I am one of the lucky ones who received the shielding advice from the NHS so I am doing as I am told and staying at home. Fortunately, because I already worked from home, I am able to continue working on my business and fulfilling orders.

“I am also using my artistic skills to produce a limited edition print in collaboration with the Military Coworking Hub organisation, which will be sold to raise funds for NHS charities.”

Kelly Farr joins us for Day 19 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain, to tell us all about YourNorth.

“At YourNorth we offer accredited First Aid for Mental Health training, bespoke performance and wellbeing workshops, and tailored coaching packages.

“Passionate about mental wellness, human performance and wellbeing, we are fascinated about ‘why we do what we do’ and love the opportunity to get to know people and instigate conversations that pique curiosity to encourage people to question the ‘why?’ and the ‘why not?’

“Our goal is to educate and empower others so that they have the confidence and ability to unlock their potential and become the best version of themselves. Our experienced and engaging trainers and coaches aim to create a relaxed, positive environment conducive to learning and one that allows for personal growth.

“The Milspo Network is such a supportive online community and they have done a fantastic job of keeping us updated on government advice and guidelines. The advice that has been given with links to various information such as NHS for veterans and zoom meetups. The steady flow of positive stories is exactly what I needed, both as a spouse and a veteran starting out in business.

“The network is a safe space for us to reach out to other like-minded people and ask for help and offer assistance, knowing that you will be heard and your opinion valued.

“Ownership of our wellbeing is more important than ever due to the dynamic society we find ourselves living in and the ever-growing pressures of life. With the addition of dealing with COVID-19, and the fact that almost every aspect of our lives has changed, we are all establishing a ‘new normal’.

“With so much change in these unprecedented times, we are genuinely concerned that people’s mental health is declining due to changes in routine and lack of access to face-to-face support.

“We launched YourNorth less than a month ago and we have had to quickly adapt to the ‘new normal’. We are offering free online mindfulness sessions and provide support over the phone to people that have reached out to us for help.

“We are in the process of developing our training courses to deliver Mental Health Awareness online and also offer resources via our social media platforms.”

Day 20 of Milspo’s #TheBigSupport campaign with Small Business Britain, and today it’s the turn of Erin to tell us about Tin Trousers.

“Tin Trousers provides friendly, professional and experienced military tailoring. Our servies include striping up, medal mounting and bespoke, made-to-measure uniforms, alongside the second-hand uniform store in HMS Nelson Wardroom, HMNB Portsmouth.

“The Milspo Network provides support in the form of business advice, but it also provides companionship and personal support from people who understand not only the strains of running a business, but also the rigours of life for a forces family.

“Work for Tin Trousers ground to a halt when lockdown was announced. Rather than allow my skills and machines to unused, I have been making scrubs, wash bags and hats for our local NHS workers. Over £650 was raised by the Tin Trousers community, which purchased fabric to make over 160 sets of scrubs.

“I managed to complete 60 sets in the first week before contacting COVID myself. I now have a community of seamstresses helping to complete the scrubs. I have also been helping coordinate and coach others making scrubs for the NHS in my local area through social media.”