Christian Wilse launched Seniors Helping Seniors, and started trading officially in January 2014.
He received funding from Start Up Loans to start up the business which is based in Canterbury, Kent. Seniors Helping Seniors is a profit for purpose organisation (considered social entrepreneurship) and Christian has won multiple awards for the social impact of the business. Seniors Helping Seniors is an in-home care service that helps seniors and their families by offering compassionate, loving care from fellow seniors.
Christian and his wife have been working full-time for the business ever since launch date. They are the only full-time employees but work with around 100 part-time care providers- on a typical month’s payroll the company will have around 40 working care providers. Due to most of the care providers being retired, they will work around 10-20 hours a week, but the shift patterns are very flexible.
Previously, Christian spent most of his career as a successful businessman in the media field. He ran a media monitoring company, and set up Tiscali in Norway (where he is originally from), amongst other business ventures.
Christian wanted to give back to the community. Seniors Helping Seniors is a franchise business and it was already a concept in the USA which has been around for almost 20 years. Christian did some research and noticed that there was a growing demand for this in the UK. It was about helping people first – then thinking about profit. Christian was keen to meet the founder and he flew to America to meet her and discuss the business in more detail. The founder of the company had previously worked with Mother Theresa on other social and charitable projects.
Four years in, the business is now a prime opportunity for people who want to do good and make money in a very important area.
Christian owns the UK rights to the Seniors Helping Seniors franchise company. He is cautious about who he lets start up their own care business as he wants their mindset to put the care of people as the number one priority before making profit from the business. Christian is actively looking for good-hearted entrepreneurs to become Seniors Helping Seniors business owners.
As a successful businessman Christian had been entrepreneurial on behalf of other people but Seniors Helping Seniors was the first time he took a risk with his own money, and this investment came from the heart. It was about doing the right thing for people. Such was the importance of the project and the conviction that he invested the proceeds from the sale of the family home into the venture. The risk was calculated by the amount of good it could do for people. Then Start Up Loans topped up the operations.
Christian has faced quite a few challenges throughout his start up journey. Being heard and noticed by the community was one of the biggest struggles, helping people understand how they can help the business and getting people to support the cause. At first, Seniors Helping Seniors were competing with major charities in the same field, but now they work closely together. Age UK supports the business and passes on referrals to the service.
Christian has big plans for the future of Seniors Helping Seniors. He wants to expand the franchise and encourage people who are passionate about the industry to start a business. He also would like to grow their Canterbury office over the next 12 months and is thinking about opening another office to expand further. For more information about the business, please visit their website.