With plans to open three new offices in Kent, adding to the three he has already, it is going to be a hectic 2015 for Stewart Thorp.
Since launching in Whitstable nine years ago, his company Superior Care has grown to look after more than 700 people across the county, providing more than 300,000 hours of care a year.
Having added offices in Maidstone and Folkestone in 2008, the firm is set to expand into Dartford, Ashford and Ramsgate this year.
With his business partner Sarah Lambert, Mr Thorp capitalised on a niche to specialise in complex care cases – essentially looking after young people in their own homes.
As he sits down to be interviewed, the man described by one of his competitors as “the youngest managing director in Kent in this sector” has a beaming smile and speaks with a large vocabulary.
“I’m very fastidious,” he said of the reasons behind his success. “I like all the ‘i’s dotted and ‘t’s crossed.
“Also our office team is motivated.
“We create an entrepreneurial environment where hard work doesn’t go unrewarded.”
Behind the multi-syllabled confabulation, Mr Thorp masks a personal sadness which inspired him to go into business. His younger sister Katie suffered a brain injury when she was hit by a car being driven by a man using his mobile phone in 2003.
She spent three months in Kings College Hospital before she was discharged to a rehabilitation centre run by Chailey Heritage Foundation, where she spent another year.
Sarah Lambert, Mr Thorp’s business partner, managed the local branch of the national care provider that supported Katie when she eventually returned home.
Thankfully his younger sister has made a “remarkable recovery” since, although she still has to have round-the-clock support at home.
It was this need which inspired Mr Thorp to approach Lambert to set up the business three years after the accident.
“We spotted an opportunity to set up an organisation to bridge the gap between small care providers and large nationals,” said the ambitious former pupil at Sir Roger Manwood’s School in Sandwich.
In its first six months, Superior Care turned over £250,000 and by the second year, it had broken the £1m mark.
About 60% of its business is in complex care, with domiciliary care (looking after elderly people at home) accounting for about 15% and the rest working with registered providers.
The company works closely with Great Ormond Street Hospital, where a lot of clients are treated.
They “identify” potential care users when they are still there and send staff to observe their treatment, so they can resume it smoothly when they are discharged and go home.
Initially founded as an agency staffing provider, the firm saves the NHS money by “upskilling health care assistants to manage some of the clinical functions which may be completed by a nurse,“ according to Mr Thorp.