Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Toxteth Woman is Liverpool Vision's 1000th Business Start

A WOMAN who sells colourful and unusual African clothing and accessories has become the 1000th person to receive a business start up grant from Liverpool Vision.

Olusola Akinya, who lives in Toxteth has now opened a shop, ‘Dress Sense Couture’, in Kensington following financial support and advice from the city’s economic development company and its enterprise partner, Train 2000.

Olusola, a 22-year-old mother of three, initially had no idea that the clothes that her mother sent to her from Nigeria and that she wore to church were causing such a stir.

But such was the level of interest from people asking where they could buy similar garments that she decided to start her own business.

Olusola said: “My mother sells clothes back in Nigeria and she sent me some to wear and people here really seemed to like them and it was then I realised there was possible a genuine market for them.

“Now I’m providing customers with genuine African clothing and accessories at affordable prices as well as high quality hair and beauty products.

“Many of my lines are not currently available in this country which means it’s not just people in Liverpool that are buying them, but also from London, Birmingham and Manchester.

“Now if all goes to plan I hope to open an Afro Caribbean beauty parlour and employ hairdressers from different ethnicities.”

The Liverpool Vision Start Up Fund has been created to encourage and stimulate new business starts across the city. The Start Up Fund provides up to £500 as a grant to support start up costs and is available to new businesses in the process of starting up within the Liverpool City Council boundaries, especially those under-represented in business such as women, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

Chris Heyes, Business Start Up manager at Liverpool Vision, said: “One thousand business start ups is another significant milestone for us and is a testament to our continuing effort to support and stimulate enterprise in the city as well as a reflection of the enterprise culture that exists in the city.

“Olusola is an excellent example of how you can turn a good business idea into reality and we wish her every success with her venture.”

Olusula also received support from women’s enterprise organisation, Train 2000 as well as funding from the Prince’s Trust.

She added: “The support I’ve received from Liverpool Vision and from Train 2000 has been excellent not only in terms of funding but also in developing my business plan and being given a range of contacts to help my get my idea off the ground.”

For more information on the support that Train 2000 can offer and how to access funding for Business Start Up call our team on 0151 236 6601.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Masterclass for Train 2000 Staff

Executive Director of Train 2000, Maggie O'Carroll was pleased to welcome Professor Teresa Nelson of Simmons College America to share her wealth of experience with our staff.

Teresa, who has been engaged for more than a decade with global business issues, is one of the leading panel of experts helping to steer forward Train 2000's new WICED (Women's International Centre for Economic Development) Project in Liverpool. The centre which will house Train 2000's support services for female entrepreneurs will also offer business incubation units and will serve as a research hub for women's economic development.

Professor Nelson who has taught on 5 continents, shared her wealth of experience of supporting women from initial idea to business development, and reinforced the need for female focussed support by offering statistics of women's position on a global scale.

Teresa told Train 2000:
"I encourage women to refer to themselves as the 'founder' of their business right from the get go. It's important to establish your role and begin to take yourself seriously".

Other top tips included:
- Encouraging budding entrepreneurs to interview other established entrepreneurs to get the bigger picture
- When you aren't sure what type of business you want to run - set out a list of industries and eliminate those you are definitely not interested in
- Write a bio of yourself and your entrepreneurial ambitions to reflect and stay motivated

For more information on WICED and Professor Nelson's involvement, visit Train 2000's website.

Christmas Cheer at Bradley's

Business women from the Stepclever wards of Anfield, Everton, County, Kirkdale, Linacre and Derby joined together for Christmas networking at Train 2000 start up business 'Bradley's Wine Bar' in Walton.
Held on Wednesday 16th December, the event offered Christmas cheer and a free prize draw as well as a great opportunity for the women to make new business contacts.
Enterprise Enabler Jackie McGee (who had previously worked with Margaret Bradley when opening the wine bar, pictured) inspired the women with information about Sorolli projects and opportunities for business growth. Joan Crist from Stepclever travel spoke about the free support that her team can offer to new starts, and new staff.
Another Train 2000 success story, Jackie Waters of Memory Catchers, added a bit of local history interest with her display of research and pictures of the area.
The feedback reflected the great time had by all:

"Wonderful event, perfect ending for 2009."

"Whole thing was good for confidence building."

"Very informative and very useful. Enjoyed the morning and made some good contacts."

"Really useful event and nice to meet other women trying to run successful businesses."

"Well organised, Informal, Friendly, Useful, Good venue."

A great way to round off 2009. We look forward to continuing to help many more women to build and develop their businesses in 2010