Keralite nurse in UK gives up day job to start own business and is finalist at prestigious business awards
By Santhosh Roy LONDON July 4: Keralite Julie Oommen from Leeds was named a finalist for a national business award in recognition for entering the franchise business in the UK for the first time and succeeding and inspiring women entrepreneurs. The mother-of-two was nominated for the New Woman Franchisee of the Year at the NatWest Encouraging Women in Franchising (EWIF) Awards for 2022 in recognition for her success. Julie, who have up her job as a NHS staff nurse, made her foray into business by acquiring the franchise of Caremark, a well-known home care business group in the UK, in the town of Wakefield. Julie came to UK from India in January 2004. She started working as a nurse in a nursing home in Leeds, West Yorkshire, and later got a job with the NHS. She initially started working as a nurse in the Ophthalmology Department of St James's Hospital, Leeds. Julie worked her way up through the ranks and worked her way up to everyone's dream job as a Retinal Specialist Practitioner (Band 7) at St James's Hospital in Leeds. While working at the hospital, Julie became interested in primary care. In particular, many of the patients in the ophthalmology department were elderly. After taking a break from her dream job as a Retinal Specialist Practitioner in the Ophthalmology Department of St James Hospital, Leeds, Julie embarked on her dream of entrepreneurship. Within one year after started the business, Julie's Caremark franchise in Wakefield won the award for the Fastest Growing Franchise in the Caremark UK's North Region in 2021. Like all entrepreneurs, the start of Julie's business was fraught with challenges. Julie started her home care business in the month of October 2020 when Covid was raging in the UK. Throughout her entrepreneurial journey, the support of her family, friends, business staff and clients helped Julie to overcome many obstacles. According to Julie, her husband Dr Nand Kishore's support was invaluable. According to Julie, "entrepreneurship is an adventure. Facing crises and uncertainties is a heroic endeavour, like a captain guiding a ship to the shore. Many factors need to come together for a business to be successful. Time, capital, entrepreneurship, good staff and many other factors". Julie attributes her achievements to a desire to do good for the community in Wakefield and a desire to do good for the care sector. The UK's Covid issues and Brexit hit the care sector the hardest and Julie had to face many challenges, such as the lack of skilled carers for care work and clients avoiding carers due to the suspicion of Covid transmission. But above all, it was her determination and willingness to face challenges that inspired the entrepreneur in Julie. Thus the results were also there to be seen. Julie was asked if she had a message for budding Malayali entrepreneurs in the UK. This is what Julie said: "Willingness to take risk is the path to success". Julie is a native of Haripad, Muttam in Alappuzha district of Kerala. Her Husband is Dr Nand Kishore. The couple have two children Adarsh, a graduate student and Shreya an A-level student. The family are settled in in Leeds in West Yorkshire. EWIF (Encouraging Women into Franchising)is an organization that inspires and supports women entrepreneurs in the UK in their businesses. Each year, the organization presents awards to outstanding women entrepreneurs in franchise businesses in the UK.