Despite taking knock-backs from seven banks, Jan Flawn’s determination had led her to build a £100 million, award-winning business.
The 65-year-old landed the First Woman of Business award on Wednesday night run by Real Business magazine and the CBI, the UK’s business lobbying organisation.
Jan had presented her plan for a specialist neurological care centre to seven banks. All refused claiming the business was unviable.
But Jan, driven by a determination to provide top quality care for people with neurological conditions such as young onset dementia and brain injury, was so convinced of her business proposal that she put her house as a guarantee on a £750,000 loan from The Unity Trust Bank This enabled the mother-of-two to launch PJ Care in 2000 and set up ‘Bluebirds’, her first care centre in Milton Keynes.
Thirteen years later, with two other neurological care centres, PJ Care now turns over £14m, employs 450 staff and cares for 180 people. The company’s estimated value is £100m.
Jan, who left school at 15 with no qualifications, puts her success down to self-belief, and a determination to overcome all obstacles put in front of her.
“A few battles have had to be won to have got this far,” says Jan.
“None of the high street banks took me seriously because they saw me as a nurse, not an entrepreneur.
“They looked down on me, and thought a nurse could not possibly present them with a valuable business proposition.
“But I had immense belief in what I, PJ Care and our staff could provide for residents. I persevered.
“Thirteen years on the banks are now chasing us, which in these times is an unusual position to be in!”