Karen Bach is the entrepreneur behind a new website, Kallikids, that helps parents source accredited services from private tutors to sports coaches.
Often referred to as Checkatrade for kids, Kallikids, is the first online portal for finding approved childrens activity providers in your local area. The no cost site is easy to use and a quick postcode search brings up a list of recommended activities and services for children and their locations.
The business was founded in 2012 by Karen and her husband who had problems finding quality activities and services for their two daughters. When searching for tutors and sports clubs, they felt there was no way of telling whether the provision was good or bad, and felt there was need for an industry standard.
Karen said: “We felt far more confident when a service had been recommended by a friend but felt a bit lost without this sort of guidance.”
With so much coverage of poor care and sub-substandard provision, it’s hard to believe that Kallikids is the first website to offer an accreditation service for the child care industry.
Karen spotted the gap in the market and recognised the need for a standardised rating system. She then got to work researching the business, looking at accreditation sites from other sectors and discovering what sort of criteria parents used when describing a great provider.
Karen said: “The pivotal moment happened over a glass of wine, when I asked my two sisters which they felt was more important: recommendations from other parents or proof of qualifications. They answered the opposite to each other and that is why KalliKids operates both on recommendation and evidence.”
Thanks to this revelation, every single business on the Kallikids website has been recommended by parents and documents requested and reviewed by Mums in the KalliKids team so other parents can be assured knowing their offspring are in good hands.
The website, launched in January, now lists over 180 accredited clubs, classes, sports groups, music tutors, places to go, photographers and health specialists in Sussex. Nearing the end of its first year the company is now expanding into Surrey, Hampshire and Kent.
Karen said: “I’m very happy with the way things have gone, but it took a lot of courage to make the change. Nearly 20 years into a professional career as the Finance Director of quoted and private equities businesses, I had been frustrated for some time but didn’t truly have the grit or the idea to become an entrepreneur. My husband had given up work to bring up our two girls and so my salary was key to our financial stability.”
In her new role as entrepreneur Karen enjoys pushing the business forward with her team of part time mums, university graduates and students. She said: “The mums in the team understand completely what other parents go through in searching for great activities and services. They therefore speak with credibility to the teachers, the coaches, the dance schools and other providers. An added benefit of mums in a team is the occasional home-made cake in the office!”
Kallikids accreditation is designed for parents by parents, to rate how good a teacher is, as well as to confirm their qualifications. To achieve this Kallikids speaks with three parents as independent referees and requests justification of all qualification claims, plus DBS (ex-CRB) and ID.
Based on these criteria Kallikids has already refused one application and removed accreditation from another.
Karen said: “Our values and ethics are as responsible parents and we make decisions based on what we would do with our own children.”