Skills for life

Funding level: £1,001 to £5,000


The InDependent Spouse™ showcases the stories of military spouses in business, with an aim to inspire military spouses running their own businesses, and encourage those who dream of doing the same.

Military spouses in the UK face a unique set of challenges surrounding meaningful employment. Some choose to follow their partners career every two to three years, leaving their careers, only to struggle to find meaningful employment in remote locations. Gaps in CV's or lengthy tours of duty without the support of family for childcare mean that employers are wary of employing military spouses. Other spouses stay in one location while their partner commutes to their 'home' base, resulting in single parenting issues during the week. Self-employment is a solution that fits well around the challenges of current military life.

The InDependent Spouse™ is a series of fun, informative podcasts for the military spouse business owner and was born from a need to hear something new. A need to hear from the inspirational men and women who experience service life from the ‘home-front’ while creating successful businesses. To give a voice to those who are already achieving amazing things, and to inspire those who dream of doing the same. As the traditional role of the ‘military spouse’ continues to evolve in line with the military itself, it seems only fitting to reflect these changes in a modern way. What’s also clear is the importance of developing their own role; one that gives the spouse their own voice while also complimenting that of the service member.

The InDependent Spouse™ is an important voice for military spouses in business who until now have had very little said about them. They are achieving amazing things in business, with very little support, and the podcast series aims to showcase this in a positive way. Currently the podcast series has reached over 700 individual listeners, and series two is planned to be released this Autumn, followed by a series of events, and business support. This community are no longer the silent partner living in a challenging military world, they are paving the way for spousal entrepreneurship and inspiring others in the community.

The Armed Forces are a valuable part of UK society, and their families should not be disadvantaged due to the pressures of their operational work. This is a community of exceptional men and women who should be valued just as highly as their partners and supported properly.

The project was started by me, Jess Sands, after I left my career as a designer at the peak of my profession. I found that my husband couldn't commit to his highly operational work as a pilot during the Afghanistan War without moving closer to his RAF base. After a miserable winter of him commuting we decided to relocate and I started my own business intentionally building it to be transient to follow his work. But I was not the only one. What I found when building my business was a whole community of inspirational spouses doing the same, with very little recognition. It seemed a shame that while our partners were very rightly honoured for their hard work, we had become an afterthought, and a silent trailing spouse.

It's a very lonely existence running a business from a married quarter, especially when you add to that the challenges of tours of duty and a distance from friends and family. The InDependent Spouse™ gives this community a voice and brings the network together to inspire and encourage.

This funding will expand just a simple podcast series into a support platform for the military spouse in business. A place for inspiration, for support, and most importantly to show the world what can be achieved in business by the most resilient group of men and women.

Project Video

The InDependent Spouse™

Moment of Pride

I am so proud of what this project has achieved and I often have emails from people who have started their own businesses after hearing the stories from others. We form such an important part of UK society, we are not just spouses, we are business leaders and need the correct support

Location: Buckingham Gate, Medmenham, Marlow, UK