Retired Major Edward Colver MBE and MD of Milifix Ltd, a new business helping people leaving the Forces re-use their transferable skills in repair and maintenance work talks trust, discipline – and wanting people to think ‘Milifix it’.

I was inspired to start my business by … 

I’m Sheffield born and bred and educated at Westbourne before I went to study at Rugby. From there I joined the Army where I held various positions including platoon commander, and anti-tank commander in what became the Yorkshire Regiment. I served in Northern Ireland, Iraq and Kosovo and was awarded the MBE in 2013. I wanted to spend more time with my young family and be back up north and left the Forces in February last year. We were renovating an old farmhouse which in some ways led to my business plan. It quickly became apparent that the people working on the house that I trusted, who were polite and who left the house clean were generally ex-military. All that training, discipline, values and standards taught by the Army were transferable skills in many sectors like construction and maintenance in residential and commercial properties and that’s how the idea was born. 

My favourite thing about running my business is …

Being my own boss and having the ability to help others without having to justify to anyone else why I’m doing it. Getting up in the morning knowing you’re doing something good, creating something that’s helping other people. My desire is to help those transitioning out of the Forces who, while they get a lot of fantastic support from the Army, still find it difficult to articulate those transferable skills and sell themselves.

The three words that best describe my business are …

Ex-services, trustworthy and professional.

Sheffield City Region is a great place to start a business because … 

I grew up here and it’s my home so I wanted to start the business here. There are significant levels of business support for start-ups and there’s a large ex-Forces community to tap in to for potential employees.

And because it’s in Yorkshire!

Sheffield City Region is a great place to grow a business because …

The networking opportunities are great – having networked across the south and London you don’t get the same feeling of certainty and trust that you do with the Sheffield community. Good honest Yorkshire folk have a desire to actually help. There are very few hollow promises, as when people say they are going to do something they do. 

The best advice I ever got was …

Just do it!

Too many people talk about doing things for too long. A good friend of mine who’s very successful in London said stop talking and start doing! Until you do it you’ll not know how difficult or successful it’s going to be.

The worst advice I ever got was …

Be happy with your lot. They were trying to be friendly, basically pointing out that I had been in some interesting situations, had a good job and that would satisfy most people.

The organisations that have supported me and my business include …

Friends and family.

Ex-colleagues.

Yorkshire Regiment Career Transition Partnership.

Numerous ex-military services and recruitment companies.

Sheffield City Region Launchpad.

The main challenges facing my industry/sector are …

Reputation – the residential and commercial property services has been scarred by ‘cowboy’ unreliable builders and little has been done to counter that, we rarely see good news stories about building firms. If we’re able to do that the next challenge will be maintaining those standards and keeping up with demand at the same time

In 5 years’ time I expect my business to … 

Grow in reputation and be a trusted partner to both the residential and commercial sector.

I’d hope to have expanded outside South Yorkshire but won’t do that unless I can be sure that the company values and standards will be adhered to and reputation and quality won’t be impacted.

I want people to think of us first when they have a building problem – just like ‘Google it’, I want them to think ‘Milifix it!’