HealthCorm Ltd is a social enterprise supplying PPE (personal protective equipment) and was set-up by Warwickshire businessman Harris Qais, motivated after his brother contracted Covid-19 at the start of the pandemic.
After hearing stories of the lack of PPE, Harris was inspired to use his experience in logistics to import PPE to support businesses and organisations including NHS trusts, care homes, dental care groups and hair and beauty salons. Harris was able to set-up the social enterprise with support from Business Ready, and has since seen the business grow as it continues to receive an increasing number of orders from its expanding client base.
HealthCorm Ltd was launched by Harris Qais, from Tanworth-in-Arden. The business is a social enterprise – which exists to benefit the community – and not only supplies a range of PPE to firms and organisations at a fair price, but also donates it to small local businesses to support them as they re-open following the easing of government restrictions in a bid to help boost the economy.
Having experience in logistics through his company King of Saffron, a business that is aiming to change the lives of women farmers in Afghanistan by importing their Saffron into the UK and across the globe, Harris saw an opportunity to import PPE to help support the community.
The challenge was not only to successfully launch the business, but also ensure it is sustainable and in a strong position to thrive when the supply of PPE eventually overtakes the demand.
Harris sought advice from the Business Ready team which provided strategic and financial advice to help him set-up and run the social enterprise.
Acting as a critical friend and challenging the assumptions, they helped him to put together a business plan, gave advice around the initial investment that would be needed and ensured that the business was structured appropriately so it would be able to compete effectively against other suppliers when demand for PPE falls.
Through the Business Ready programme Harris was given the opportunity to work with a number of different business mentors who were able to provide support and expertise around the specific needs of the business.
Ian McFarlane-Toms, who heads up Business Ready at the University of Warwick Science Park, said: “The beauty of the Business Ready programme is its flexible nature.
“As the business scales and evolves, we are able to introduce experts with different specialisms to support the organisation through each step of its journey.”
He was also introduced to companies that he could form collaborative partnerships with – including Eskuta, the largest e-cargo bike brand in the UK, which is based in Nuneaton, and has been helping to store and deliver the PPE – as well as Warwickshire County Council which help raise awareness of the business to those looking to purchase PPE.
Harris said: “My brother was the main motivation behind HealthCorm. Thankfully, he has made a full recovery, but when he got the virus, I was constantly hearing stories about the lack of PPE so knew I needed to do something to help.
“I contacted Business Ready with my idea and the team provided me with the guidance and support I needed to set-up the company.”
Since launching Healthcorm with the support of Business Ready, the social enterprise has grown at a rapid rate. It remains keen to continue supporting the local community and is importing stock based on demand, for instance as the UK is currently in desperate need of gloves, Healthcorm has recently closed a deal to import a large quantity of them.
The business also has future plans to manufacture its own masks and has plans to recruit two new members of staff as the business continues to expand.
Ian McFarlane-Toms said: “HealthCorm Ltd was set-up just weeks ago and is already seeing a huge amount of success.
“We are very pleased to have helped set-up a social enterprise which is not only providing essential PPE supplies but also supporting local businesses with donations.”
Warwickshire County Council leader Cllr Izzi Seccombe said: “Business Ready has helped many people turn their ideas and passions into small businesses which become established and grow.
“Healthcorm Ltd is a great example of this and I am delighted that support from the programme has helped Harris to create a fantastic social enterprise which is doing so much good in the community.”