Meet the entrepreneurs: Jackie Dunlop, Founder of The Carents Room
11th February 2021
Jackie Dunlop created The Carents Room as a way to meet the unmet needs of older people and their families. She took part in the High Potential Startups programme from February to September 2020, and continues to receive coaching and support from the North East Local Enterprise Partnership team. Here’s Jackie’s story.
Can you tell us a bit about The Carents Room?
The Carents Room is an online advice and networking platform which helps to tackle the challenges families face as a result of an ageing population. As a doctor (a GP and epidemiologist), I became acutely aware of the growing unmet needs of carents – our word for mid-life children providing care for elderly relatives in the community – and older people. I founded The Carents Room as a way of meeting these needs and with the ambition of making ageing and caring a happier, healthier and more engaged experience.
Why did you get involved in High Potential Startups?
My background is as a consultant and a GP working in the public sector and I didn’t feel that I had the connections or knowledge to enter the commercial sector. High Potential Startups offered a way to overcome these challenges. It seemed like a really exciting opportunity.
What’s your experience of High Potential Startups been like?
I gained a huge amount and it’s been fantastic. It’s helped me to develop my business skills and confidence, and to get more connected with fundraising opportunities. High Potential Startups also gave me access to a wider support network of entrepreneurs. Seeing how other startups tackled similar issues helped me to develop my own ideas to grow my business.
What’s next for The Carents Room?
It’s just beginning to take off. We’re getting strong interest from people across the UK and also in the USA. My next steps are to source high quality services and products which I can incorporate into the website. I’m also looking at publicity to make The Carents Room more accessible to people who will benefit from it.
What would you say to other people who are thinking of starting their own business?
I’d say take the leap. You don’t know what might happen until you’ve explored it and if you can get involved in a programme like High Potential Startups then you should definitely reach out to them.