New X-forces North East Ambassador makes small business connections in Catterick and beyond ​

  • 20 Dec 2019

Lee Harris-Hamer of White Horse Cleaning Services Ltd in Thirsk, and X-Forces ambassador for the North East welcomed more than 20 veterans and currently serving personnel to a networking evening at Yorkshire Dales gin distillery this month.


With businesses from mobile tattoo removal, a psychotherapist, a food waste app and website, a wedding celebrant and some other start up ideas in the room, a wide variety of small businesses heard presentations from the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) on their policy work with ex forces including a partnership with X-forces, a recent report on “A Force for Business” about support for service leavers who want to set up in business themselves, or small businesses who employ service leavers as well as the FSB being signatories of the Armed Forces Covenant, as well as from the X-forces organisation.


After short presentations the room was full of energy as attendees made new connections with other local businesses, enjoyed a supper and also tasted some of the “home of the ram” Yorkshire Dales Distillery gins and rum, whilst hearing from owner Anthony Brotherton about his own business journey.

Carolyn Frank, Development Manager for the Federation of Small Businesses said “This was a vibrant networking event, I was really inspired by the stories around the room of enterprise and also army life, we must have been in the safest place in North Yorkshire with ex Marines, bomb disposal and many regiments represented.  There were some great innovative businesses too, and it was encouraging to see this support networking spring up in Catterick.  Lee is a great example of how military skills can help service leavers succeed in business, and he is a great advocate for small businesses in his role as FSB National Councillor and X-Forces ambassador, and I am pleased to hear he has more events planned.”

“More than 6% of small business owners are owned by veterans in the UK, however they often have obstacles to overcome upon leaving the services to realise the opportunities in the civilian economy, and the FSB and organisations like X-forces seek to help them overcome this and achieve fulfilment in self-employment or employment in a small business. The skills that the Armed Forces community can bring to the business are many and varied, and can be a great asset. ”

Lee Harris-Hamer, Managing Director of White Horse cleaning services, said “I am really pleased that my first event as X-forces ambassador was such a success, the feedback has been brilliant, and we saw people travelling from across the North of England to Catterick to attend, which just shows how valuable small business owners find networking to be. I’d like to thank the Yorkshire Dales gin distillery for hosting us at their distillery which was perfect for our event and a small business too.” 


The next X-Forces Catterick Event has been scheduled for 19th March 2020 at The Yorkshire Dales Gin distillery, with further events in the North East also planned, and more information can be found via Eventbrite. To find information about local FSB events for small business owners please go to