Moving from Romania to the U.K. was the start of a journey leading Cristina Grancea to own two successful businesses
SylvianCare managing director, Cristina Grancea, a finalist in the 2022 NatWest/EWiF Inspirational Women in Franchising category, has certainly had a journey that brought her to a place in life she probably never even imagined when growing up in Romania. Born under a Communist regime with a repressive government, education was her only way out.
“I always knew that I wanted a career where I could help others and make a difference,” said Cristina. “With that in mind, I gained a BA Honours in social work in 2000, with my first job being in a psychiatric ward of a hospital – which, you can imagine, was challenging.
“I moved to London in 2007 with my 18-month-old daughter to be with my husband. I was unable to work as I could not afford a childminder, and got no financial support from my husband.”
Cristina’s marriage broke down due to her husband’s unreasonable behaviour, and as a single parent, she gained her first role in the U.K. as a social worker. “I wanted to utilise my degree and found work with Kent county council on the child protection team; it was rewarding as well as challenging. I was still passionate about education and took a Master’s in psychology, graduating in 2015.”
Despite graduating, Cristina decided that a career in psychology was not for her and as a single parent with debts she, along with her brother Silviu, took the brave step of starting a business: SylvianCare.
“The brave, or some would say mad, decision changed my life completely,” she said. “Neither my brother, who was a nurse, nor I really knew much about running a business, but we knew that we wanted to be involved in care in some way. So we started SylvianCare as a recruitment company, recruiting care staff and supplying them to other businesses.”
Change of business model
“We were successful, with a continuous demand for our staff. Supplying staff to third parties, however, meant that we had no real contact with the end-users; those in need of care. And because of this, we decided to change our business model and applied to the Care Quality Commission to register as a domiciliary care provider. Our registration was accepted and our business focus changed.
“I’m proud to say that just from being myself, along with my brother, we now provide work for over 100 care and office staff; supporting over 300 clients throughout our network.
“To date, we have provided work for hundreds of carers supporting thousands of clients to remain independent in their homes. From humble beginnings, SylvianCare now has a multi-million-pound turnover with healthy profitability.
“We have also gained our sponsorship license from the Home Office, allowing us to bring staff from overseas to alleviate the staff shortage in the U.K. and assist even more clients.”
The benefit of franchising
“Franchising meant that we could grow nationally whilst giving others the opportunity to own a care business and benefit from our experience. Helping others achieve success is rewarding. Our pilot franchisee doubled her first-year target and we now have eleven franchisees with a healthy pipeline for 2022.
“I am proud and humbled to be considered for the Inspirational Woman in Franchising category, simply for doing something that I love and making lives better for people. I hope that my story inspires others to consider care as a career.”
At a glance
Number of franchised outlets:
Location of units:
Up to £47,400
Minimum required capital:
Bill Hendrie, email@example.com