Who the scheme is for

Former members of HM Armed Forces (including  Reserve Forces).

Applicants and their businesses must be resident in the UK.

Funded by a Treasury grant from the UK Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, the scheme is delivered by the Legion and experienced partners across England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. 

We welcome applications from Service leavers who have an injury, long-term health condition or a disability.


Be the Boss Resource Pack

'Be the Boss' is now closed for new applications. In order to access advice, training and funding for business start-up we would encourage our beneficiaries to read the 'Resource Pack' available to download below.

Our 'Resource Pack' contains details of the various funding schemes available both UK wide and at a local level.

Download Resource Pack



Template Business Plans

In order to access funding from various local and national funding schemes, it is essential to produce a robust Business Plan and Cashflow forecast.

Despite 'Be the Boss' currently being closed to new applicants; we would encourage Legion beneficiaries to make use of the template documents below as a guide to the content required in a Business Plan and Cashflow forecast. 

Our partners Blue Orchid have produced templates that can be downloaded below.

Download Business Plan Template

Download Cashflow Spreadsheet


How it works

Shown below are the steps of the Be the Boss application process.


Step One - Business Start-up Training and Planning

You will be asked to complete an initial training programme with our partners Blue Orchid who will help us to evaluate your specific needs and will assist you in developing a robust business plan.

Step Two - Sourcing Funding

After you have successfully completed your training, you should have produced a business plan and financial forecast. Your business advisor will confirm that the information submitted is accurate and will signpost you towards available sources of funding both nationally and in your locality.

Step Three - Mentoring Support

After setting up your business, you will benefit from the mentoring programme along with periodic business health checks. The advice will be based upon the specific nature and scale of your business.



If you can't find what you need on the site you can call us on the helpline 0808 802 8080 or email us at betheboss@civvystreet.org

If you live in Scotland please call Poppyscotland on 0131 550 1568 or email poppyscotland@civvystreet.org

If an advisor is not available please leave a voice-mail. An advisor will then respond within 2 working days.


Client Testimonial

"After being left disappointed by major banks because of the current economic climate, Be the Boss made all the difference by helping to secure all the funding required to establish a training studio for my business. Simultaneously, Be the Boss has also offered a support scheme ensuring that I put together an efficient, effective and realistic business plan. A fantastic scheme that I will continue to work with."

Barry O'Connell, State of Mind Fitness (www.stateofmindfitness.co.uk)



The Royal British Legion is currently reviewing options for our ‘Be the Boss’ scheme. We have experienced unprecedented demand for the service and we want to ensure we continue to deliver a high quality service to as many beneficiaries as possible.

As part of this ongoing process we took the difficult decision to suspend entry to the scheme for new applicants. However, this will be a temporary measure as we investigate ways of changing the programme. We aim to reopen the scheme later this year.

In April 2013 we opened the loan element of the scheme to existing clients. Those who were registered and active in the scheme were able to apply for a ‘Be the Boss’ loan of up to £5,500. Eligible applicants were asked to express their interest by the April 16th 2013 after which point no further loan applications were considered (Please note that, as with any programme, an application for a loan is not an automatic guarantee of funding).

Existing clients who remained active on the scheme have also continued to receive start-up training, support to identify and source funding, and mentoring advice for the first 12 months after the business has been set up regardless of applying for a ‘Be the Boss’ loan.

‘Be the Boss’ is primarily a business support service. Whilst availability and access to funding from ‘Be the Boss’ is a necessary element for some clients, the majority access the scheme for training and mentoring. Our focus for the scheme is still to assist ex-Service personnel in equipping themselves with the skills and tools to run a business.

We are capturing interest from those who wish to enter the scheme when it reopens. Please use the link on the main banner to register your interest.


HM Revenue & Customs e-learning

Have you just started in business and become self-employed?
Got a lot of questions about Income Tax, National Insurance, business records and expenses?

If so, this e-learning course is for you.