Welcome to our series, ‘Meet the Entrepreneur’, where we meet entrepreneurs and start-ups from the Channel Islands to find out what they’re doing and what makes them tick.
Today, we meet Jersey-based entrepreneur Louise Augré, director and owner of Augré Physiotherapy in St Saviour.
Tell us about your background and previous experience
As a born and bred Jersey citizen I embarked on my first big adventure overseas at the age of eighteen to study at Newcastle University, England. Three years later I graduated as a fully registered Chartered Physiotherapist.
My experience in the health care system exposed me to a whole new world of culture and diversity. I realised I did not want to settle down straight away. I wanted to use my qualification to explore the different challenges and benefits of varying medical industries in different regions.
My first job involved a move ‘down south’ to Chelmsford where I worked at the Broomfield Hospital. I then opted to locum for a period of time to maximise my experience in different working environments and to learn new systems. My knowledge base was rapidly expanding and I was starting to find my niche in musculoskeletal and orthopaedic physiotherapy. After a competitive interview I landed my dream job at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Birmingham.
There I got to work alongside the renowned surgeon Mr McMinn who invented the hip resurfacing technique. I also found a passion for orthopaedic oncology. This specialist area involved working primarily with clients undergoing ‘EPR’ surgery (where a diseased bone tumour is removed and replaced with a metal implant known as an endoprosthetic replacement or ‘EPR’).
What led to your decision to set up your own business?
I now knew that I wanted a career in musculoskeletal and orthopaedic physiotherapy. However, before I settled down I wanted one last adventure. I worked internationally as a physiotherapist in both the Netherlands and New Zealand until 2004. At this point I decided that a move back to Jersey was in order. I wanted to live, work and support my local community with my enhanced skill set.
Whilst I settled back to life on the island I worked as a physiotherapist for an independent company based at the Leodis Doctors Surgery. During this time the Lido Medical Centre was being built and offering units for medical businesses.
Always being one to step out of my comfort zone and embrace the unknown I decided to opt in and set up my own company. Augré Physiotherapy Limited was born and the rest, as they say, is history.
What motivates you?
My motivation to keep striving lies in my intrinsic desire to be the best in what I do.
There is never a dull day at Augré Physiotherapy. Our wonderful clients provide us with new challenges on a daily basis. There is nothing more fulfilling than providing a range of professional services to assess, diagnose, and treat both acute and help manage chronic musculoskeletal conditions. I have immense self-gratification when I am able to restore and improve an individual’s movement and function, thereby enhancing their health, wellbeing and quality of life.
Tell us about your team
I am the director and owner of Augré Physiotherapy Limited. I have over 23 years experience as a physiotherapist and I am registered and regulated by the Health and Care Professions Council.
Over the last four years I have chosen to develop my knowledge and expertise in the rehabilitation and management of clients presenting with knee and shoulder pain. I now work alongside several UK based orthopaedic surgeons to provide a complete package of care. This includes pre-operative optimisation, operative corrective surgery and post operative rehabilitation.
As Augré Physiotherapy expanded we welcomed Chartered Physiotherapist Laura Besnard to join the company in 2011. Laura is an integral part of the team and like myself has a passion for musculoskeletal physiotherapy. Her specialist interest is in upper limb conditions having worked in a shoulder centre in the UK for several years. To further her knowledge and understanding of musculoskeletal injuries Laura also achieved an MSc degree in Manual Therapy and went on to become an extended scope physiotherapist (an advanced practitioner with many years of clinical experience who works beyond the recognised scope of physiotherapy practice).
Although Laura and I have areas of specialist interest we welcome clients of all ages with any musculoskeletal concerns. Our combined years of experience allow us to provide a full-fledged service using numerous different treatment options. These include massage, gym-based rehabilitation and aquatic therapy (pool base physiotherapy).
What makes you stand out from other providers?
Augré Physiotherapy provides a unique tailored service for all individuals.
Our clients are at the heart of the business. Through their integral feedback we have evolved to provide cost-competitive bespoke resources that islanders value. These include a wide range of alternative treatment modalities such as acupuncture and pregnancy pilates. Following feedback we even now offer an ergonomic service. This involves observing the employee in the workplace and highlighting any specific musculoskeletal risks associated with their activities, posture or equipment used.
We offer a service with no barriers. We appreciate that some clients may not be able to physically attend the Augre Physiotherapy suite. If this is the case we are more than happy to provide a home treatment package. We can liaise with individuals directly or through their family members, carers or other medical professionals. If the Lido Medical Centre is that bit too far to travel a member of our team is available for consultation at the Leodis Surgery, Red Houses on a Tuesday and Friday morning.
We pride ourselves on our multidisciplinary approach. At Augré Physiotherapy we value the expertise and knowledge that different allied health professionals bring to a client’s journey.
This is reflected in the provisions of the Augré Physiotherapy suite. Although not directly part of the company itself you will find a psychologist, psychotherapist and hypnotherapist working on site.
Augré Physiotherapy is always looking to give something back to the community. As a way of saying thank you we offer a special discounted rate to all States of Jersey Emergency Services personnel (including prison officers and customs and immigration officers).
What do the next few years look like for you?
Although I am a physiotherapist at heart I am also an entrepreneur. My aim is to drive the company forward to provide a service tailored to the needs of the island. Our new joint orthopaedic surgery and physiotherapy project is a pioneer development in Jersey. At present we are trialling a package as detailed on the Augré Physiotherapy website for knee and spinal conditions only. Over the next few years I would like to expand this to encompass all lower limb, upper limb conditions requiring surgical intervention and physiotherapy optimisation.
What advice would you give to someone looking to set up their own business?
Only embark on a business that you truly believe in. Make sure you have done your research. Do you know the needs of your local market? Have you got the background knowledge and expertise to provide the service required? I believe the success behind Augré Physiotherapy has been through perseverance, adaptability and determination.
I believe the success behind Augré Physiotherapy has been through perseverance, adaptability and determination.
Setting up a business is hard enough but moving with the times is also a challenge and requires constant reflection.
My take home message would be to work with your local community. Involve them with developments in the services offered and be honest to them if things don’t go quite to plan.
What do you do with your free time?
As a physiotherapist it is a core belief that we as a profession help to maintain health for people of all ages. As such exercise plays a pivotal role in my social calendar. I enjoy combined cardio and strength training alongside a well-balanced nutritional diet. Last year I also learnt to horse ride because my children were desperate to go on a ranch holiday in Arizona. Rather than miss out I thought I had better get back in the saddle! Now it has become my new extracurricular activity.
What would you like to do if you had more free time?
In short, if I had more free time I would like to continue my international travels.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would undoubtedly give my younger self the advice I offer to my children. “Believe in yourself, do something that you are good at, constantly challenge yourself and never give up.” When I embarked on my life journey away from Jersey I had little idea what lay ahead of me. I am immensely proud of what Augré Physiotherapist Limited has to showcase.
I could not have achieved this without the support of the local community and the dedication of my team. For that I will be forever grateful.
Louise Augré (main picture with Crew Commander Bob Birrell) is director and owner of Augré Physiotherapy, Louise can be contacted via: