Business Ready support "invaluable" to growing care business
“The seminars, which covered a number of topics, gave me plenty of advice and, crucially, also helped me build a local network of contacts."
A Leamington-based businessman is toasting the regional support he received after launching a successful care business as lockdown hit.
Barney Davis started his Caremark Warwick franchise at the start of 2020 after being made redundant from a 20-year career in the wine trade.
The company offers domiciliary care to people in Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth either privately or through contracts with Warwickshire County Council and the NHS.
In November 2020, it was delivering four hours of care per week to clients in the area. Two years on, that has risen to well over 500 hours per week with 27 carers now working for the business supporting around 70 clients in mid-Warwickshire.
Barney received significant support in establishing the business from the franchisor, Caremark Limited, but also looked closer to home for help and was introduced to the Business Ready programme after contacting the Coventry and Warwickshire Local Enterprise Partnership (CWLEP) Growth Hub.
Business Ready delivers support to expanding businesses managed by the business support team at the University of Warwick Science Park and is funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Warwickshire County Council as part of the CW Business: Start, Grow & Scale Programme.
Barney said: “I’d worked in the wine trade for 20 years which involved a lot of travel and a lot of tasting wine which I know sounds perfect! However, I was having thoughts about what else I could do – something more worthwhile plus I was keen to be in complete control of my own destiny – then I was made redundant so the decision was taken out of my hands.
“I opted to go down the franchise route and, having weighed up a few options, I really liked the Caremark offer. It ticked the boxes of doing something that would have a positive impact on people’s lives and I bought the franchise in January 2020. We all know what happened after that!
“I was sat there thinking, what on earth have I done? Caremark were and have continued to be hugely supportive but I also spoke to the Growth Hub to find out about local business support and they put me in touch with Business Ready.
“The support I received was invaluable. During the pandemic, when the full launch of the business was understandably delayed, I attended a number of online seminars as part of the Business Ready programme which helped me immensely as I was starting out as a business owner for the first time.
“These seminars, which covered a number of topics, gave me plenty of advice and, crucially, also helped me build a local network of contacts.”
Barney was then introduced to business coach, Helen Brewster, who acted as a sounding board and supported with plans for client and carer recruitment.
He added: “Helen was a huge help to me and my business. The work we did around the customer proposition was really useful especially as mine was a new business and, as I was new to care, it was especially important to get these building blocks in place from the start.”
Not only has it led to commercial success, the company was also named New Business of the Year 2021 at the Leamington Business Awards in March.
Caremark Warwick has also become a lifeline for its clients across the area – offering everything from personal care through to companionship.
Ian McFarlane-Toms, Business Ready manager at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “Caremark Warwick is making a real difference to people’s lives in the Leamington, Warwick and Kenilworth area and that’s exactly what Barney wanted when he launched the business in 2020.
“He has navigated through the height of the pandemic to get to a point where the company is now employing 27 carers and supporting people with a range of needs.
“I am so pleased that the support of Business Ready has played such a key role in the development of Caremark Warwick and that the way we tailored our support to Barney’s new venture has worked so well for him.”
Cllr Martin Watson, portfolio holder for economy with Warwickshire County Council, said: “Caremark Warwick has not only created jobs, boosting the local economy but it has made the care workers market more resilient which helps the council in its provision of care. All credit to all involved and, from a county council perspective, we are delighted with the outcome.”