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LucyGransnet (GNHQ) Thu 23-Apr-15 14:41:24

Grandma in tech

Jaki Bent is a Grandma in tech who sold her home, quit her job, and wagered everything on her dream of helping others in crisis. She is founder of If Everyone Cares™, which aims to connect people across the UK with the nation’s almost 200,000 registered charities via the first interactive online map of its kind. Here she tells us about her journey from delivering training courses to creating her own tech start up.

Jaki Bent

Grandma in tech

Posted on: Thu 23-Apr-15 14:41:24


Lead photo

Jaki Bent

If someone had told me 10 years ago that, at the age of 50, I would be the founder of a tech startup I would have told them they were crazy! Yet now I can't think of doing anything else.

How did I get here? Five years ago I had an amazing job as a trainer, writing and delivering courses. I was helping people who had been long-term unemployed, due to illness or disability, to regain their confidence and self esteem so that they could return to work. I met some incredible men and women for whom life had been thrown into crisis through no fault of their own. I heard story after story of people whose lives had 'unravelled' after being unable to find or access the help they needed and that was available to them locally through charities, non-profits and community projects. Those stories broke my heart to the extent that I gave up my job and sold my home to work on finding a solution.

After some research I discovered that this was not an isolated problem but one that was rife across the country as a whole and even in other areas of the world. In the UK there are just under 200,000 registered charities and yet there is nowhere that brings them together in one place so that they can be searched for by location. This seems ridiculous, especially when technology is so advanced and able to connect people across the world in a fraction of a second. I mean if we can type in our postcode to find a hotel, restaurant or petrol station in any area we want and then make an informed choice based on the results - why can't we do that with the help and support that is out there for people in need?

So a couple of years ago I set up If Everyone Cares (IEC), a registered non-profit that is working on "connecting communities one click at a time". We are still a fledgling company with a long way to go and I'm still not earning a wage, but money has never been a real motivator for me, unless it's helping someone. (That being said, I do need to start earning sooner rather than later as my savings are nearly exhausted!)

Maybe I am crazy to think that a woman of my age can be so bold as to want to achieve something so big, but if you look back through history, all of the great movements have been borne out of a single voice that gained traction - because others had the courage to believe as well.

I have spoken to thousands of people from all walks of life, age, gender, race, employed, un-employed, business owners, homeless people… the list is endless. I really listened to how they felt about the disconnect they felt existed within communities and how even though technology connects us it also seems to isolate us at the same time.

Our initial projects will focus on the key issues that were raised during our research - all based around connecting communities and empowering people - whether it is for someone experiencing crisis, someone who has time to spare and wishes to volunteer, a project that provides help (or the person who sees a gap of need and wishes to start one) or the business owner who wishes to become more involved with their community and fulfil their CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility).

1) Ododow™ - The Interactive Community Map will pin-point charities, non-profits and community projects (Projects*) across the UK so that they can be searched for by location; it will connect communities and provide true cross community benefits by helping those who need help to find it, helping those who want to help to find where they can, encourage projects to connect, share & collaborate and last, but not least, enable businesses to easily find and support local projects.

2) The Community Pledge™ will provide a low cost membership platform to forge strong links between local businesses and their surrounding communities. Membership fees will enable IEC and its services to become self-sustaining and, in time, to set up a charitable trust to utilise excess funds for community focused projects across the UK.

By the creation of the first two projects - IEC will help to connect all elements within communities. Therefore helping to create thriving, healthy and connected communities where everyone matters. Currency and wealth are not just monetary but about human connection, morale and decency.

The journey has not all been smooth sailing, there have been some deep lows and amazing highs.

The highs have been incredible and include when the idea for the Interactive Community Map was voted third, by the public, in the global Sir Richard Branson and Virgin Unite challenge to Screw Business As Usual. Also last year IEC was selected as a Start Up to Watch at Europe's largest technology event, where feedback was affirming that we are on the right track.

Some of the lows have, at times, been a bit soul crushing. It seems that when you are an older woman in business there are some people who do not take you seriously and at times there have been those, of my own gender, who have appeared to take pleasure at dismissing me as a dreamer. Perhaps I am. Maybe I am crazy to think that a woman of my age can be so bold as to want to achieve something so big, but if you look back through history, all of the great movements have been borne out of a single voice that gained traction - because others had the courage to believe as well. I am not saying that mine is a great voice, all I am doing is repeating what so many others have said to me.

The greatest tip that I can give to anyone is to believe in your dreams. Don't be put off by those who encourage you to 'remain a sheep that follows the crowd'. One day, like me, 'a block of cheese' may change your life!*

*If you ask me, I will tell you about 'my block of cheese'

For more information about Jaki's organisation, visit and

By Jaki Bent

Twitter: @jaki_bent

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 23-Apr-15 20:47:19

I don't understand this blog. I've looked at the website and I can't make head nor tail of it. confused

Ana Thu 23-Apr-15 20:55:56

She does seem to go on a bit about being 'a woman of her age' starting something new. She's only 50 for goodness sake! confused

I don't understand what it's about really, either, but good luck to her.

jinglbellsfrocks Thu 23-Apr-15 20:59:00

I think it might be like a "Kickstarter" project. Perhaps the blogger wants donations!

contrarymary Thu 23-Apr-15 22:21:20

I think the project is in its early stages and to me it looks to be an exciting
idea. I have no clue how well it will be supported by local businesses or how on earth it will all come together but as a person involved in a charity providing services in the community, I will certainly give it a go.

JakiB Sat 25-Apr-15 15:01:57

Thank you so much - you are right we are still in our infancy and there is a lot of hard work going on in the background. I hadn't realised the blog was being published and at the moment our 'homepage' is trying to gain support for us to have an opportunity to pitch to Richard Branson smile
If you would like to connect at any time - we are always grateful for feedback.
In Gratitude
Jaki smile

tippex50 Thu 30-Apr-15 19:29:11

Here we go again bullying what is going on?

Jinglefrocks : - sorry to be rude but would you prefer that this women had set up a business in child rearing.

I am sorry but I have heard it all even at a women in tech event a couple of years ago I won't go into the details but she nearly got a punch on the nose from me and i'm not even a techie!

Don't know what your agenda is but we are here to stay. A bit of support from our own sex would be nice or is that idealistic of me?

Why not take a look into what's going on in technology and show a bit of interest for your dds sake if noone else.

Elegran Thu 30-Apr-15 20:23:44

Could you point out to me where the bullying is tippex50? I am afraid I can't find it.

tippex50 Fri 01-May-15 10:20:29

Not just on this post but on many. The world must have changed in the last 5 minutes everyone seems so rude what happended to respect for others. Don't think I will be using grans net or mums net again.

Elegran Fri 01-May-15 10:36:31

I meant specifically on this thread? That was what you posted - "Here we go again bullying".

You can't just throw in an accusation of bullying without saying who said what in a bullying fashion. If a specific post or sequence of posts struck you as bullying, then report it to GNHQ and they will take the appropriate action. If you can't pinpoint anything on here, you are laying yourself open to having your own post deleted for making false accusations.

You say you will not be using Gransnet again. Have you used it before? I have searched the forums for other posts from you but I can't find any. When did you join?

tippex50 Sat 02-May-15 14:13:07


Sorry but I do not think it's any of your business when I joined. Is there a problem with me voicing an opinion?

Jayz Sun 03-May-15 04:53:30

The home page does apologise and say they're pitching to Richard Branson - that's got to be a priority. It looks like a very good idea. I just think the pitch video is a bit fast, but I understand that there's probably a time restraint and lots of ideas to get in. Or out.

Soutra Sun 03-May-15 10:09:26

Gosh tippex50, that was a flying visit then!
Can you be more specific, what bullying, of whom, where?
Everyone seems so rude what happened to respect for others?

If not, were you just having a bad day and felt the need to sound off?
cupcake usually does it for me.

Nelliemoser Sun 03-May-15 11:03:21

Well! well! well!" there was a flying visit. I am wondering if it was it really a "newbie" or perhaps a newly renamed "oldie" with a grudge?

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 03-May-15 21:48:05

Crikey! tcrconfused

jinglbellsfrocks Sun 03-May-15 21:50:09

From Tippex - "Jinglefrocks : - sorry to be rude but would you prefer that this women had set up a business in child rearing."

Whaaat?! confused So weird.

Soutra Sun 03-May-15 22:00:25

Am I missing something or do these posts come from some parallel universe? confused

thatbags Sun 03-May-15 22:01:59

What a bizarre thread!

merlotgran Sun 03-May-15 22:23:54

Maybe Tippex has been reading the Arguments Attract Aggressors thread.

Greenfinch Sun 03-May-15 22:41:32

Utterly confused