Personal alarm business Lifeline24 launches into Ireland - as it eyes worldwide expansion
- Credit: SIMON FINLAY
A fast-growing personal alarm business established two years ago in Norwich has launched into the Republic of Ireland - and is eyeing worldwide expansion.
Lifeline 24, which supplies alarms to elderly people across the UK and now Ireland, now has more than 5,000 customers, after growing 130pc on last year.
The Taverham-based firm was established by Simon Budd, 37, and his wife Treena, 44, in a bid to reduce the cost of personal alarms - by moving registration online - and speeding the process up to free NHS beds.
Now the company, a Future50 firm - which champions the fastest growing 50 firms in Norfolk and Suffolk, has seen staff numbers jump from just three a year ago to 12 today and is 'recruiting aggressively', according to Mr Budd.
'I was frustrated having worked in the industry and felt it could be more modern about delivering these personal alarm services,' he said.
'I thought it would be possible to offer the services at a much cheaper price and also quicker.
'The NHS is trying to free up beds, so it is important people get home but a personal alarm is necessary.'
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Mr Budd previously worked in stocks and shares in London, before moving up to Norwich when he started a family.
After working for a housing association for a couple of years the father of two and his wife - who is a director at the company - decided to launch the business.
Now he hopes to expand into the US and Australia next year, and is searching for new office space in Norwich.
'In our original business plan we hoped to open 120 accounts in the first year,' he said. 'We actually opened more than 2,000 accounts.
'Profits have been way beyond expectations.
'As an expanding business there have been huge pressures in terms of cash flow. We're not taking any money out of the business yet.'
Turnover for the year to the end of March was £350,000, and Mr Budd said he expected this year to reach £900,000.
Mr Budd, who launched the business with an £8,000 government loan through Nwes and £20,000 of his own money, added sales were growing at a pace of 130pc year on year.
He said one third of the customers came from individual inquiries, one third from the families of people requiring alarms and one third from health professionals.
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