If you joined us for our Zoom ceremony to honour this year’s business category finalists and find out who won, you’ll know what an incredible afternoon it was!  If you weren’t able to join the virtual celebration, here’s the winner of the coveted 2021 Soldiering On Business Start Up Award. (You can also now see the winners of the Business Scale Up and Community Impact Awards.)

This exciting ceremony was hosted by TV presenter Radzi Chinyanganya, who was delighted to meet such an incredible mix of business people running an eclectic range of companies. The event was attended by the category finalists and sponsors, Patron Of the Soldering on Awards, the Rt. Hon. Earl Howe; Jessie Owen, Director of the Office for Veterans’ Affairs; David Wiseman, Director of Grants and Programmes at the Invictus Games; and Lieutenant General Richard Nugee CB CVO CBE.

The Earl Howe, Patron of the Soldiering On Awards said:

“These Awards recognise and acknowledge the enormous efforts and achievements from many people across the military community who help and support those in need; volunteers, charity teams, public servants, social enterprises, veterans themselves, individuals, employees… the wider military community is incredibly diverse!

“That help and support manifests itself in acts of kindness, the raising of money, provision of services, tremendous acts of courage or endeavour and ultimately doing great things to support those who have served.

“Our service men and women take part in military campaigns at the behest of the Government and on behalf of us all. They deserve not only our respect and thanks, but also our support. Thank you to all our finalists, many of whom are veterans themselves, for being exemplar in providing that support.”

Our finalists were: 

Soldiering on Award finalist - Business Start-up category

Olivia Harris – Virtualoom – providing 3D virtual tour services and a ‘one-stop shop’ for estate agents, allowing them to offer property viewings throughout the pandemic.




Soldiering on Award finalist - Business Start-up category

Thomas Foster – Pull the Pin Rumcreator of an authentic rum recipe with natural ingredients and a unique stopper design; Tom’s online shop and products such as letterbox gift sets are in wide demand.




Soldiering on Award finalist - Business Start-up category

Sam Jeffs – Peregrine Logistics – a regional courier and Amazon delivery partner, the business expanded from ‘a man with a van’ to a firm of 50 drivers in just six months.




You can read more about these finalists here.

We are delighted to announce that the Winner of the Business Start Up Award is…


Sam Jeffs – Peregrine Logistics

SOA 2021 Business Startup award


Sam Jeffs enjoyed an adventurous career as a Royal Navy submarine navigator until 2014, before continuing his seafaring career as a Superyacht Captain in Mallorca.

Settling back in the UK in 2019, he focused on his new business, Cheshire Quality, which retails Cheshire-based artisan products. When the pandemic hit, Sam moved the business online and set up a sister company to handle the local deliveries: Peregrine Limited.

It quickly became clear that demand for another regional courier was high to support other small local businesses, so Peregrine grew rapidly within just a few months. In June 2020, the business really took off when Sam won a contract as an Amazon delivery partner. By December, Peregrine had gone from ‘one man and a van’ to a firm of 50 drivers and 30 vans geared up to meet the Christmas peak period.

“The firm’s reputation and ability to deliver an excellent service under pressure was recognised by its customers and continues to aid Peregrine’s rapid growth.”

Sam is now moving into the HGV sector and is developing a sales and support team for domestic shipping services. He has acquired a fleet of 30 fully electric vans too, proving that Peregrine is an eco-friendly and forward-thinking firm.

“Sam has taken the resilience, communication and leadership skills he learnt in the Royal Navy and applied them directly to his business. With the confidence and self-belief the military gave him, he has taken such big leaps in such a short space of time. He’s been able to manage realistic expectations, grow a motivated team and expand his own fleet – this time on the roads rather than the water!”


Sam Jeffs said:

 So delighted, thanks so much everyone. Our growing success goes back to me not sleeping really! It’s perseverance, no isn’t an option, losing isn’t an option, you just have to keep going. 

Lt Colonel Ren Kapur MBE, CEO of X-Forces Enterprise and Soldiering On Awards said:

“We are delighted to congratulate these inspirational winners and it was incredibly special to gather everyone together and celebrate our amazing community after such a challenging 18 months.

“These virtual events have allowed us all to come together and celebrate once more, as we build-up to our glamorous in-person Gala Dinner on December 15th. Having not had the opportunity to celebrate in-person since 2019, this December will be the military gala dinner of the year and being able to have everyone together for a night of celebration is something that we’ve all needed for some time. I’m very much looking forward to shining a light on the incredible armed forces community.


A word from our Sponsor…

Mark Miller, Director at GKN Aerospace said: 

Delighted to be here again particularly for the Business of the Year Start Up Award. This Award recognises a new business that was started by an individual linked with the Armed Forces, who still retains a majority shareholding and therefore control of the venture. The business must have been trading for less than two years when the nominations opened.

It was fantastic this year to see so many inspiring new Business Start-ups coming out of the military community especially during the Pandemic. These amazing people have served their country with pride and are now contributing to stimulate the UK economy. And stimulating the UK economy is essential for economic health. And essential for us, our clients and our supply chain.

GKN Aerospace are humbled by some of the case studies and inspired by the people who have taken the entrepreneurial ‘bull by the horns’.

The next two Thursdays will see the other winners revealed during exciting Zoom events.  If you’d like to join the audience, please email caitlin@x-forces.com.

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