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Understanding the Armed Forces Covenant: How It Benefits Small Businesses and Start-ups

The Armed Forces Covenant is a pledge that ensures fair treatment and support for those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, as well as their families. Established to address the unique challenges faced by military personnel, the Covenant seeks to remove disadvantages and provide meaningful opportunities for this community. For small businesses and start-ups, signing the Armed Forces Covenant can bring significant benefits, both in terms of social responsibility and business growth.

What is the Armed Forces Covenant?

The Armed Forces Covenant is a promise from the nation to those who serve or have served in the Armed Forces, and their families. It ensures they are treated fairly and not disadvantaged in their day-to-day lives. The Covenant relies on the support of people, communities, and businesses across the UK to make a difference. By signing the Covenant, businesses commit to supporting the Armed Forces community in various ways, such as through employment opportunities, commercial discounts, and other supportive measures.

armed forces

Benefits for Small Businesses and Start-ups

  1. Enhanced Reputation and Brand Image Signing the Armed Forces Covenant enhances your business's reputation as a socially responsible organisation. It demonstrates a commitment to supporting the community, which can improve your brand image and attract customers who value corporate social responsibility.

  2. Access to a Skilled Workforce Veterans, reservists, and military spouses bring a wealth of skills and experiences to the workplace. By committing to the Covenant, small businesses and start-ups can tap into this pool of talent, benefiting from their leadership, discipline, and problem-solving abilities.

  3. Networking Opportunities Becoming part of the Armed Forces Covenant community provides opportunities to network with other like-minded businesses and organisations. This can lead to valuable partnerships, collaborations, and insights that can help your business grow.

  4. Support and Resources The Covenant offers access to various resources and support systems designed to help businesses implement Armed Forces-friendly policies. This includes guidance on employing reservists, supporting military families, and making your business a welcoming environment for veterans.

  5. Increased Employee Loyalty and Retention Demonstrating support for the Armed Forces community can boost employee morale and loyalty. Employees are likely to feel proud to work for a company that values and supports the military, leading to higher retention rates and a more engaged workforce.

  6. Recognition through the Employer Recognition Scheme Businesses that go above and beyond in their support for the Armed Forces community can be recognised through the Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS). This scheme awards bronze, silver, and gold levels of recognition, showcasing your commitment and providing further promotional opportunities.

armed forces covenant signing event

How to Get Started

Signing the Armed Forces Covenant is a straightforward process. Here are the steps to get started:

  1. Sign the Covenant Many organisations opt to hold a signing ceremony to publicly demonstrate their commitment to supporting the Armed Forces community. At the SME Centre of Excellence, you can sign the document in the presence of Armed Forces representatives, including the local Regional Employer Engagement Director (REED) and representatives from local military units at our signing ceremony on 28th June 2024. Ensure the pledge is signed by a senior representative of your business, such as the CEO or HR Director, to demonstrate your commitment.

  2. Implement Supportive Policies Develop and implement policies that support the Armed Forces community. This could include offering flexible working hours for reservists, creating recruitment pathways for veterans, and providing support for military families.

  3. Promote Your Commitment Publicise your commitment to the Armed Forces Covenant on your website, social media, and within your business premises. Use the Armed Forces Covenant logo to show your support and attract customers and employees who value this commitment.

  4. Engage with the Community Participate in events and activities that support the Armed Forces community. This could include hosting Armed Forces Day celebrations, attending Covenant networking events, and supporting local military charities.

By signing the Armed Forces Covenant, small businesses and start-ups not only contribute to a worthy cause but also gain access to a range of benefits that can enhance their operations, reputation, and growth. Embrace the opportunity to support those who have served our nation and unlock the potential for your business to thrive.

armed forces covenant signing event


If you are interested in signing the armed covenant pledge then your in luck. Here at the SME Centre of Excellence we are hosting a Armed Forces Covenant Signing event and are inviting local organisations, virtual office customers and any other organisation who is interested to come along and sign the the pledge. This event will also provide networking opportunities and some delicious food! (Get your tickets).


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