Inaugural Heropreneur bursary winner Iain Church with Professor Andy Lockett, Dean of Warwick Business School

Military veterans have the chance to launch their own business with the help of a full bursary to do a Warwick Business School MBA – worth up to £45,950.

Warwick Business School has joined forces with Heropreneurs, a charity which supports ex-Armed Forces personnel create their own businesses, for the fifth year running to offer the prize.

The deadline for entries is Sunday, 15th May, with the winner able to choose from the school’s highly-ranked one-year Full-time MBA, part-time two-year Executive MBA, held at Warwick of The Shard in London, or Distance Learning MBA, which is taught online.

The winner of the bursary will be announced at the Heropreneurs Awards held in association with The Telegraph in London.

Last year’s winner Iain Church is using the knowledge and skills he is learning on the Executive MBA to help build his social enterprise in Malawi.

Iain, pictured with Warwick Business School Dean Andy Lockett, said: “I am humbled to have won the inaugural Heropreneurs Warwick Business School Bursary Award. The size of this opportunity is huge and I look forward to repaying the faith that Warwick Business School and the award judges have shown in me.

“Completing an Executive MBA will be a significant milestone in my entrepreneurial journey and it will have a lasting positive impact on the fortunes of Moringa Miracles Limited."

Iain joined the army aged 21 after university and served for 21 years in the Royal Engineers, including operational tours in Northern Ireland, the Balkans, and the Middle East, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

He left the army to run Moringa Miracles Limited (MML), a social enterprise founded by his late father-in-law in Malawi, South East Africa.

Moringa Miracles provides free moringa trees for farmers to grow alongside their existing crops, then buys back the seed to produce moringa oil for use in the cosmetics industry.

Related course: Executive MBA

Smallholders are trained how to grow and maintain their trees and are shown how to turn the leaves into a powder that can help to ease the widespread Vitamin A deficiency in the country.

Iain said: “The aim was to take best practice from the NGO world and meld it with the best of the commercial world to create a self-sustaining social enterprise that could give rural Malawians a permanent way out of extreme poverty.

“The aim is that by year five of operations we will have lifted 325,000 Malawians out of extreme poverty.

“We can do so much more than provide these smallholders with a sustainable source of income. In the regions where we work 45 per cent of children suffer from stunted growth because they have a Vitamin A deficiency.

"Eradicating that could be a game-changer and our approach offers the very real possibility of a Malawian grown solution to a Malawian problem.”

To have a chance of winning a 100 per cent bursary to do an MBA, click here to fill in an application form.

The announcement of the 2020 winners of the Heropreneurs’ Warwick Business School Awards is fast approaching, and our catch-ups with the previous winners of this fantastic opportunity have continued. This week, we have been chatting to Iain Church, the inaugural winner of the award in 2018. Iain is the Chief Operating Officer for Moringa Miracles, and impressed our judges with the strength of his application, winning the prize of a 100% bursary to study an Executive MBA with WBS. Iain has been studying with WBS throughout Covid-19, with one term taking place fully online. However, since September, WBS have returned to face-to-face teaching, offering flexibility through hybrid option for those who are unable to physically attend the programme.

Iain is now reaching the end of his time on the MBA programme, and we wanted to find out about his experiences.


1). Have you made any changes to your business model in light of your learnings?

Overall, my company’s business model has remained the same, however, the way in which I pitch key detail to potential investors has changed significantly. For example, I am far better equipped to breakdown key markets and walk investors through where market detail and figures come from – I am no longer simply stating that the market is x size, and we will achieve x portion of that market.


2). How do you think the completion of the MBA will change your opportunities/ prospects/ view on business?

One of the major frustrations in building a career outside of the military is being able to translate military skills into something that civilian companies understand. This can lead to a confidence issue whereby you can feel that you are not as capable/experienced as civilian counterparts and you can end up accepting more junior roles to then build yourself towards more senior roles. Adding an Executive MBA to your CV not only helps address the issue of convertible skills, but it also highlights how you stack up against a peer group of senior people; this addresses the confidence issue. Combined, these factors allow you to seek out far more senior roles than might have otherwise been the case.


3). What have you enjoyed most so far?

Both the staff and students at Warwick Business School (WBS) have made the face-face modules a really enjoyable learning experience.


4). What have you found harder than expected?

Some elements of the coursework have been tough, particularly in areas where you have little or no prior knowledge. The issue this causes is the volume of research you must do in order to ensure that your broad understanding of a subject allows you to set your work in the right context. That is to say you do not want to quote someone as an eminent authority only to find they are a maverick that no one pays too much attention to. Similarly, you do not want to be presenting dated or defunct theories. This process can take huge amounts of time and it is very easy to become consumed by an assignment.


5). Do you have anything to add about studying during the pandemic?

WBS offer a distance learning MBA as a matter of routine. They were therefore well placed to use this expertise as all teaching switched to online methods. The loss of face-face modules was a blow as networking plays a significant role in the enjoyment of each module. However, restrictions simply mean that you must try other ways to maximise the other opportunities that WBS has to offer – for example webinars. After speaking at a third sector event, I have been invited to join the committee of WBS’s Third Sector Group – an opportunity that will let me give something back to WBS and no doubt open other doors in the future.


6). How have you found the flexible learning and course delivery style?

The course delivery has been first rate. WBS generates an ideal learning environment and the face-to-face modules have been outstanding. The Executive MBA students are treated in a mature way and any issues are resolved quickly, for example assignment extensions or changes to modules. What is particularly good is the willingness of WBS to listen to genuine concerns and then introduce solutions to the issues raised.


7). Do you have any advice for the winner of the 2020 award?

First, do not be overawed by the fact you are on the Executive MBA – imposter syndrome soon wears off and you will fit right in. Second, hit the right work life balance and do not leave assignments until late in the day – I have had a few late nights and early mornings as a result of doing this. Third, network, network, network – your cohort and the wider staff are a mine of useful links/information so use this to your advantage. Fourth, add value wherever you can – for example suggesting speakers and case studies from your own network, or offer to participate in WBS hosted events. Finally, enjoy it!


8). Do you have any advice for people thinking about entering the award for 2021?

This is a huge opportunity. Not only do you receive a prize worth over £50,000, but you get to study in one of the best business schools in the world. You have nothing to lose by entering and, as I said to myself, someone must win it; it might as well be you!