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Prince Charles to help Australian veterans ‘back into business’

As Australia prepares to mark the 100 year anniversary of the Anzac Gallipoli landings, a programme supported by The Prince of Wales is being introduced to help today’s veterans resume to civilian life as entrepreneurs.

The Prince's Charities Australia has set up the Lead Your Own Business programme.

The Prince’s Charities Australia has set up the Lead Your Own Business programme.

The Prince’s Charities Australia created the Lead Your Own Business scheme to support Australian Defence Forces (ADF) veterans move into the business world and perhaps start their company.

“It is no exaggeration to say that Australia and Australians have also held a very special place in my heart ever since I came to this country very nearly fifty years ago. It is, for this reason, that I am so proud of the progress that the Prince’s Charities Australia has managed to make in such a remarkably short space of time,” Charles commented on his Charity involvement in Australia.

Former Navy engineer and Iraq veteran Sebastien Eckersley-Maslin made a relatively easy transition in becoming an award-winning entrepreneur with his Blue Chilli accelerator company that invests in and helps digital start-ups.

The company has been a great success though Mr Eckersley-Maslin, revealed after leaving the military was a powerful culture shock in the beginning.

“The transition from military to civilian life and running your own business is quite difficult and quite a problem. In particular if you have been on operational deployment PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) comes into it as well.”

Afforded the chance, the skills in leadership, discipline and teamwork, will allow veterans to be well prepared to start up a business, he revealed.

The training received in the military coupled with a great idea does not guarantee success when starting up a business. The failure rate is rather grim; this is where The Prince’s Charities comes into play.

“The way it tends to work is somebody has a terrific idea, borrows money from family and friends, gets very excited but then doesn’t have the skillset actually to run the business,” Prince’s Charities Australia chief executive Janine Kirk commented.

Kirk further noted: “The programme aims to help transition full-time military service people to civilian life with opportunities to get training around a business idea before launching into the marketplace.”

The Prince Charles Lead Your Own Business programme is open to 20 people leaving the defence force. Its goal is to assist those wishing to set up a small business. The programme includes a one-week residential stay in Melbourne and 12 months of mentoring from industry experts.

The Prince of Wales’s close association with Australia spans nearly fifty years when he spent much 1966 at Timbertop, the remote outpost of Geelong Grammar School.

He also has a close relationship with the Australian Defence Force, specifically through his position as Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps, a position he has held since 1977.

In 2010, The Prince of Wales visited Australian troops on the ground in Afghanistan. In 2012, The Duchess of Cornwall accepted an invitation to become Colonel-in-Chief of another regiment of the Australian Army, the Royal Australian Corps of Military Police.

Charles is not the only member of the Royal Family with ties to Austalia. Prince Harry has recently completed his first two weeks the Australian Army with the North-West Mobile Force (NORFORCE) and the 1st Brigade.

Photo Credit: Unleashing Ideas via Flickr

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