We love talking to members about what they do, why they love North Tyneside as a place to do business. We’ve been chatting to Kelly Oliver Dougall of Unisus (formally Cygnet North East).

Tell us a little bit more about your business

The business is a social enterprise and is run for people as well as profit. Our strapline says everything you need to know about what we do – we empower people to reach their full potential. We mainly work with people with disabilities and health conditions providing a holistic service that is person centred.

We have three sub brands – Skills, Care and Wellbeing.

Our new domiciliary care service is committed to clear and efficient communication, high-quality care and person-centred support where we value our staff as well as our clients

What is your motivation for doing what you do?

I was a teenage parent and consequently had to work hard to get into work when the time came. I worked in the voluntary sector, was bullied more than once and faced redundancy on multiple occasions too. I also felt that I had more to offer than the roles I was able to secure.

I decided that if I always did what I had always done I would always get what I had always got. So I took a leap of faith and started to forge my own path.

What are your plans for the business?

I have big growth plans. My vision came just over 2 years ago for what I wanted the business to look like “at the end” and now all aspects are in place, we just need to grow each area. Now we are at this stage, there are more things I’d like to achieve in terms of activity of the business so I don’t think the vision will ever stay static. I am ambitious and I want everyone around me to benefit from this.

How has North Tyneside Business Forum helped your business?

I love the networking North Tyneside Business Forum facilitates. Connections make businesses work. Small businesses don’t work if you try to do everything yourself. We need to help each other.

I am building some very good business relationships in North Tyneside – those relationships are the glue that hold it all together. If I need help I know I can ask and people will help. I also find myself helping other businesses by connecting mutual contacts with each other when I think they can work together and support each other

What’s your favourite thing about doing business in North Tyneside?

I am passionate about North Tyneside, having been born here and I’ve lived here for almost my whole life. I love being so close to the coast, the city and the countryside. We are really blessed to have all those things within such close proximity.

One thing that makes your business different from the rest…

We are different because we are a social enterprise. We don’t shy away from the fact that we want to make money. We want to make money so we can achieve our goals. We want to support people to get what they need – so many of our clients are let down by society and we want this to change. We want to do business ethically and in a way where everyone benefits from us being here. Collaboration is key to this.

Unisus – Empowering people to reach their potential

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