UCL has been hailed as a “shining example” for supporting student entrepreneurs by the Guardian in an article about whether universities are doing enough to help students start new businesses.
Entrepreneurship Guest Lecture Series: Reece Howe
14 March 2013
Reece Howe studied Astrophysics at UCL. Straight after graduating in 2002, he became an accountant at Deloitte and then joined Innocent.
His career ran smoothly, when from accountancy Reece decided to move to recruitment; soon after, he says, “I took a step back and looked analytically at what I could do”. He decided that what he could do would be an experiment, and this is now a success.
In 2006 Reece’s grandmother entered a care home and there, unfortunately, she was neglected and had, overall, a very bad experience. It was this which made Reece realise how much room for improvement there was in the home care industry: this was the sector where making a true difference was necessary.
The first step Reece took: research. And research showed that an extraordinary number of care homes were shutting down in the UK. Second step for Reece: more, more and more research. He concluded that elderly people wanted to stay at home as long as they could, even when “extra care” – hard for relatives or friends to provide - was needed.
“It’s not rocket science to run a business”, says Reece, and if an astrophysicist says so, it must be true. Business is a question of mind set, for Reece, something comparable to a simple equation. He decided to solve the problem he found – and experienced in the most personal way through the experiences of his grandmother - and thus started “to bring care in people’s home”.
His staff visits people in their own home and satisfy their needs. Most of the times, these needs are basic, yet the improvements in quality of life is radical. Kirkwood Care is a novelty, something yet unseen. The team works as a marketing machine, the customers are the core of the business Reece founded and directs. In his words, his business “is created by the want of the people”.
The fact that the industry Reece works in, that of home care, is heavily underdeveloped means that he has space, time and opportunity to become number one in his field. The “want of the people” Reece refers to is feeble because the market is niche and lacks competitors. “Meeting needs which people didn’t even know they had” is what makes Kirkwood Care ground breaking and ready to reach for the moon.
Written by Carolina Mostert