Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Liverpool businesswoman takes centre stage

WHEN Amanda Stoodley relocated to Liverpool seven years ago it was never her intention to go back to university and subsequently set up her own business – but that’s just what she did and now she is thoroughly enjoying being her own boss.

“When I moved here back in 2003 I spent the first few years testing the waters in a variety of jobs: a bank clerk, a teaching assistant, an administrator and a lifeguard - but it became clear that if I was to be truly fulfilled and inspired in my work, then I needed to be involved in some area of creative design again.”

In the past Amanda had worked as a graphic designer and illustrator. “I started to research and explore various options, which included a visit to LIPA (Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts)” said 43-year-old Amanda “and I was so impressed with what I saw that I decided to enroll upon the theatre and performance design course there.”

After graduating with a degree, Amanda decided that the best way forward to make her career work was to become self-employed and now she runs her very own company Amanda Stoodley - Design for Performance which is a creative design business for theatre and performance, providing design and construction of set, costume, props and puppetry.

She said: “My work is carried out on a freelance basis, so self-employment is the only option. Since setting up I have been very busy designing for a number of projects including productions at the Royal Exchange Theatre, the Everyman Theatre and for a recent exhibition at the Bluecoat Arts Centre.

“I am delighted with how well business is going so far. I was concerned that the recession would affect demand for my work, but it seems that people are still spending their money on going to the theatre, which is wonderful.”

After graduating from university Amanda was claiming jobseekers allowance for a short time whilst she looked for work - and it was during this time that she learnt of Train 2000 from her job centre adviser.

“Train 2000 was recommended to me by the job centre” said Amanda, “so I went along to see what help the organisation could provide me with in starting up my business, and it was absolutely brilliant.

“It was incredibly useful to put a business plan together, because it really made me think about what I was doing and gave me focus. My adviser John was extremely helpful. I am planning to go on some of the courses on offer soon too.”

Amanda continued: “Going back to university was a big risk and sacrifice – I had to sell my home and give up my job, but I am so glad that I did what I did. I have always been extremely creative and now I can use that in my business. I love being self-employed and would never want to do anything else now.”

“University was a fantastic experience and without that I would probably never have got the opportunity to start up my own business. I would definitely recommend self-employment to other women, if there is something you want to do you should follow your heart and just go for it.”

If you are interested in finding out more about Amanda Stoodley - Design for Performance you can contact her on 07988 013919 or email amandastoodley1@hotmail.com
And, if like Amanda you’re interested in starting up your own business please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit www.train2000.org.uk

Toronto network supports black businesswomen

Source: http://swaymag.ca/2010/09/women%E2%80%99s-enterprise-canada-we-can/

HIGH numbers of black businesswomen have led Canada’s Toronto chapter of the International Women’s Enterprise Network to be the only one that focuses specifically on this issues.

Lisa Small, co-founder of Women’s Enterprise Canada (WE CAN), said: “I think what happened is that the other chapters reflect their communities, but the communities are not as culturally diverse as Toronto.”

She went on to say that the group addresses the isolation that many black entrepreneurs feel.

It was back in 2007 whilst working as a community radio host that Lisa Small met a surprising number of black business owners – and it was this that spurred her on to set up a network that would specifically support black businesswomen.

She explained: “I had a start-up business and was looking to expand. I visited other groups, but they didn’t talk about the issues or provide the follow-up that I was looking for.

“I needed a network that was going to help me promote my business and help me grow and develop. [Radio station] CHRY allowed me to interview black women who were selling books and services and coaching, and explore ideas with them — as well as with women who were listening to the program — to learn how to be better business people.”

Soon after, she and a small group of volunteers started the chapter of the enterprise network with an online presence. The next year they decided to hold a “call to action” gathering to decide what the next step in their organization should be. To their surprise, their first meeting in November of 2008 was sold out.

And, since then WE CAN has grown in strength from there.

To read the full article click here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Confidence Boost for Sefton Mums with Stepclever

Train 2000 were delighted to be able to offer support to Sefton mums this week who we needing a confidence boost as part of their Stepclever support. Seaforth Children's Centre invited Train 2000 to deliver a 'Recognise Your Potential' workshop as part of their 'Well Woman' programme this week.

The half day workshop focussed on confidence building particularly looking at:
-Using Positive Words
-Identifying Achievements
-Positive Characterisitcs
-Looking at a Cognitive Behaviour Triangle
-Postive/Negative Body Language and Relationships
-Identifying Skills
-Making a Positive Plan for the Future

The mums who attended from Seaforth and Bootle commented that taking time out for themselves to do some training was essential for reminding them that they are more than just 'mum'.

Train 2000's engagement worker Joanne Austin who delivered the session commented "It was encouraging to see the positivity grow over the course of the workshop. I was so pleased that each and every woman went away with a postive goal of using their skills to get themselves back into work. They started to believe that they can carve out a career that they had started to doubt they could have".

Some of the comments from the women who attended included:

"It was very useful. It helped me think more - positive not negative."

"I've enjoyed all aspects of the session. It's good to get the mind active again. Also it's good to identify some of our strengths adn skills."

"This session was interesting and there was positive advice given. I really did enjoy it and learned a lot about myself. Thank you."

"This session was great, loved it! Was very good advice given."

"Positive, friendly."

If you are a woman from the Merseyside area who would like support building your confidence before returning to employement or considering self employment then call our team on 0151 236 6601 for details of our Personal Development courses.

For more information on how Stepclever can support those in South Sefton and North Liverpool visit www.stepclever.co.uk

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

New start for Knowsley Businesswoman

AFTER being made redundant from her position as PA to the Ambassador of Liverpool mother-of-two Joy Lorenz did not like the prospect of being unemployed – and instead of searching for a new job she took the decision to start up her own business.

And now through her business Black Frost she is providing handmade cards, invites, table decorations and all those little extras needed for a party – to her customers throughout the Knowsley area and beyond.

“Ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to have my own business” said Joy “so, although it came as a real blow to loose my job, it was actually a blessing in disguise because it provided me with this opportunity to be my own boss.”

Having always been asked by friends and family to help organise parties, invitations and decorate tables Joy decided that this could be a viable business idea – and after using her sister’s wedding as a trial for her business, she knew it was time to make a go of it.

She said: “Although I have spent most of my career working in an office environment I have always been interested in crafts, knitting and tapestry and I am really enjoying being able to do something that was once a hobby, as my work now”

36-year-old Joy who is mum to her two children aged 17 and 12 said that because her youngest child is autistic and needs additional help she had previously been looking at ways to spend extra time with him.

“When I was working fulltime” continued Joy “I couldn’t be at home as much as I wanted to, but becoming self-employed has changed all that for me. I have now the chance to be more flexible and it really is great for the whole family.”

Prior to starting up her business Joy came along to Train 2000 where she received one-to-one business advice, under the business start-up programme. She worked with a business adviser who supported her in putting a business plan together.

Joy said: “If it wasn’t for Train 2000 there is no way I could have started up my own business. There was so much to learn about becoming self-employed and the help I received in putting my business plan together was invaluable.”

As Joy builds up her business, she is hoping in the future to be able to offer party weekend and themed weekends in what she describes as ‘unusual’ locations.

“It might be some way off yet” said Joy, “but continuing with my party theme I would like to be able to offer party weekends, for occasions such as Valentines Day and Halloween and any other occasions that people would like a party weekend for. But for now, I am happy to just build the business up that I have go and expand later.

“I have always wanted to be self-employed and I really do love it. I feel as though I am living my dream.”

To find out more about Joy’s work visit www.blackfrostcards.com or contact her on 07592 129848 or email joy.lorenz@blackforestcards.com

And, if you are a woman from the Merseyside or Greater Manchester area and are interested in starting up your own business please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit www.train2000.org.uk

US research reveals huge gender pay gap

Source: http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20100916006720/en

WOMEN in the U.S. are still earning 23 per cent less than their male counterparts according to a new fact sheet released by the Women’s Institute for Policy Research.

The brand new fact sheet which is based on data from the US Bureau of the Cencus shows that in 2009 the annual earnings were 77 per cent compared to the earnings of men.

And, the data revealed that the gender pay gap issue is even worse for African American women. Whilst white women earned only 75 cents for each dollar earned by white men, African American women earned just 62 cents for every dollar earned by white men.

The Bureau also reported that the United States added 360,000 female-headed households in 2009, compared to 2008.

“More effort to stimulate the economy and create jobs that pay decent wages regardless of gender or race is desperately needed. Women, especially those who support families on their own, would benefit from equal access to good jobs and equal pay,” stated Dr. Heidi Hartmann, President of the Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

To read the full article and to download this new fact sheet please click here

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Ex-Eurovision star becomes Liverpool businesswoman

FORMER Eurovision Star Gemma Abbey who made up one half of the pop group Gemini has now turned her talents to starting up her own business The Make-up Lounge.

The 29-year-old is set to open up the brand new swanky studio in the Woolton area of Liverpool where she will provide exclusive make up for artists, photographic sessions and weddings.

“I have always had an interest in make up” said Gemma, who lives in West Derby “and because I am a performer myself and have been in the media I know how important good make up is.”

Gemma has recently completed a Fashion & Photographic course at the Manchester Media Academy where she learnt how to apply make up for photographic work.

She said: “The business officially launches on August 26, I am really excited about my new venture and believe it will be a huge success, because there is certainly a call for a good make up studio in the area.

“I will also be doing princess parties, hen do’s and make up for any other occasions – so there is a lot on offer for people in the area and further a-field.”

Prior to starting up her business Gemma came along to women’s enterprise agency Train 2000 where she received help and advice under the business start-up programme. Gemma worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser and said that the help she received was extremely useful.

“Train 2000 is a brilliant organisation” said Gemma, “I was given excellent support and advice in setting my business up.”

Gemma, who is mum to her two little girls aged 18 months and three-years-old says that becoming self-employed will also give her much more flexibility around bringing up the children.

And, in her spare time Gemma also continues to sing.

“My youngest daughter has a very serious heart condition” continued Gemma, “so every six months I organise a fundraising concert with Chris, the other half of Gemini, for the Children’s Heart Association and we normally get quite a few celebrities involved.

“I also work as a singer during the evenings and am quite used to being self-employed and am hopeful that the skills I have gained already will help me in my new business.”

Gemma says that despite the bad press she received after Gemini were the first ever British entry to score ‘no points’ at the Eurovision - that she is remembered and recognised for her time as a pop star and she is hopeful that this will benefit her in promoting and getting the word out about The Make-up Lounge.

The Make-up Lounge is based at 134 Hunts Cross Road in Woolton and if anyone would like to find out more they should visit www.themakuplounge.com or call 0151 345 1216.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Marketing Top Tips for Networking Women

Women's Enterprise Support agency Train 2000 encouraged local business women to give their marketing a boost at last week's networking event.

Sefton business woman Pauline Gay of Red Bean Communications (pictured left) gave some great hints and tips as our guest speaker. Having set up her own Marketing Communications business with help from Train 2000 Pauline was able to draw both on her personal experiences as a woman in business as well as her industry background. Some of her valuable advice included:

- List Your Business Strengths and Weaknesses - Compare them with the strengths and weaknesses of your main competitors and exploit strengths that they don't have

- FOCUS should be the key word for small businesses when planning marketing strategy, don't spread yourself too thin

-Segment Your market - consider a rolling promotional cycle concentrating on different segments every 3 or 6 months

-Manage risk by avoiding moving into new markets too rapidly - allow yourself to get it right with the market you are doing well in before moving forward

As well as this interesting presentation, our training manager Bernie Cox offered great networking hints and tips. The women who came along were delighted with the advice and new business contacts made. Some feedback comments from the event included:

"Very interactive, really helpful, lots of good contacts, friendly atmosphere, easy to understand"

"An excellent and informative event run by very friendly and helpful staff"

"Useful Marketing tips"

"Very nice, warm, great advice"

Our next networking event due to be held in October will be themed around Business Growth. For more details on this event click here or contact our team on 0151 236 6601.

If you would like to contact Pauline to find out how Red Bean Communications can help with Marketing Communications then email pauline@redbeancommunications.co.uk or call her on 07870 584 977.

Glitz 'n' Glamour for Sefton businesswoman

WHEN Susan Slater started selling jewellery from a Kirkby market stall just nine months ago she never imagined that it would lead her to opening up her own shop.

Now Glitz ‘n’ Glamour stands out for all to see on Liverpool Road in Maghull – selling a variety of designer inspired handbags and costume jewellery.

“I am delighted to have opened up my own shop” said Susan, “I am really proud of it. I have only been open for six weeks and so far it is going well. There are no other shops like mine in the Maghull area, so once people start to know I’m here then business should really take off.”

In the past 50-year-old Susan has been self-employed before but in the catering sector. She has also provided catering services in a number of nursing homes – so opening up her own retail outlet is presenting her with fresh challenges all the time.

She said: “When I decided to set up a stall on Kirkby market, I had no idea how popular it would be. I noticed immediately that the jewellery I had seemed to sell really well. I enjoyed it very much and it got me thinking that I could open up my own shop in Maghull where I live.

“This is a real change for me, from what I have done in the past, but it is nice to do something different.”

In the shop, which has a boutique feel about it, Susan sells a variety of designer inspired handbags including; Jimmy Choo, Prada, Chanel, D &G, Valentino, Marc Jacobs and many more.

She added: “My aim is to sell quality products at discount prices on a par with what is charged on a market stall. Through the shop we offer a very personal service and if some one comes in asking for a particular bag, we will get it in for them. We sell a variety of bags to accommodate all ages.”

Prior to opening up Glitz ‘n’ Glamour Susan came along to Train 2000 after seeing an advert in her local paper. She worked on a one-to-one basis with her business adviser who helped her to put together a business plan, under the business start up programme.

“Train 2000 was an excellent source of support” said Sue, “it was great to have Amanda to turn to for any help or advice I needed. Often there are questions you have or things that just crop up and it’s nice knowing that there is some one at the end of the phone to help.”

Since opening up the business Susan has had a number of customers visiting her shop and says that it attracts mainly women, of all ages. But, she says it is also the perfect place for boyfriends, husbands and fianc├ęs to buy that special gift for a loved one and adds that she has already sold handbags to a number of men since opening for this very reason..

Over the forthcoming months Susan is hoping to build the business up further and plans to market herself throughout the area in a bid to attract more customers.

Aside from the shop, Sue also provides parties at Glitz ‘n’ Glamour or at people’ homes and the party host receives commission from all goods sold.

If you would like to visit Glitz ‘n’ Glamour the shop can be found at 92 Liverpool Road, Maghull or you can give her a call on 07790 312 794.

And, if you’re a woman from the Merseyside or Greater Manchester area and would like to start up your own business please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit www.train2000.org.uk

Vital Voice president speaks out about women's issues in India

Source: http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2010/09/13/a-vital-voice-on-women-in-india/

ALYSE Nelson, president of Vital Voice, a Washington-based organisation that supports women’s leadership and entrepreneurship worldwide has stated in a recent article that she sees India as having a unique equation when it comes to issues surrounding women.

“When you think about women’s leadership, when you think about India, there are so many extraordinary women in financial leadership and in the political sector, in microfinance,” she said in an interview ahead of a summit that Vital Voices is hosting in Delhi this week. “But it is a country where there are certainly still issues.”

India indeed has an impressive record when it comes to installing women at the heads of its banks; they have popped up in the executive suite at ICICI, J.P. Morgan, HSBC, UBS, Fidelity, Axis Bank, to name a few. “India is very far ahead with all these top women in major positions leading banks in a field so dominated by men around the world,” said Alyse Nelson.

Still, women entrepreneurs here complain about a lack of access to capital and women in the workplace still face gender bias in areas such as not being paid the same salary as a male counterpart – an issue that is a problem worldwide.

To read the full article and to find out more about what Alyse Nelson, President of Vital Voice has to say, please click here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Anfield businesswoman launches 'Off Your Cake'

FORMER Bank worker Rhonda Carney had always wanted to start up her own business and at 47-years-old she decided ‘it was now or never’ and that’s when she set up Off Your Cake.

Now, the Anfield resident has opened up her very own bespoke cake shop on County Road offering delicious and original cakes which she lovingly creates and designs herself.

"I have always wanted to work for myself" said Rhonda, "I have always had a flair for making cakes but it has only ever really been a hobby. It got to the point in my career where I thought if I am really going to do this, I need to do it now and that’s exactly what I did."

She added: “My instinct was to hand in my notice at the bank and live the dream.”
Rhonda, who is mum to her four children, opened the shop up in July and she says that already business is doing extremely well.

She said: “I will design something completely unique for my customers or they can chose from an extensive one off range.

"I specialise in caricatures, so if a bride and groom give me a photograph I will do a caricature of them on their wedding cake.

Rhonda continued: “It’s great to be given artistic licence and to let my imagination run wild. I have been asked for all kinds of designs including a giant fish, the statue of liberty, toy story cake and many more.

“My flavours are extensive too. I pride myself on the home baked cake, everything is prepared fresh on my premises.”

Prior to starting up the business Rhonda worked as a Customer Relations Manager at Barclays Bank. She gave up her job in March this year then came along to Train 2000 where she received help and support in starting her business up, under the business start-up programme.

"The support I received from Train 2000 really did help me" said Rhonda, "it was really useful to have some one to sit down with to put my business plan together and to know that I always had somewhere to turn to if there were any questions I needed answering."

Rhonda also received a business start up grant from local enterprise initiative Step Clever which supports residents in six wards across South Sefton and North Liverpool.

She added: "I was so pleased to receive a start up grant from Step Clever. It really helped with my initial business start up costs and made a massive difference to me."

"I love working for myself" said Rhonda, "I really enjoy what I do now and I look forward to going to work. Being self-employed is definitely a challenge as you have to run all aspects of the business, but I will never look back."

To find out more about Rhonda’s cakes you can either drop into Off Your Cake at 180 County Road, Walton or visit her website at www.offyourcake.com

And, if like Rhonda, you are interested in starting up your own business then please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit www.train2000.org.uk

U.S. report reveals women have growing power

Source: http://www.houmatoday.com/article/20100906/ARTICLES/100909610/-1/living?Title=Study-Today-8217-s-women-navigate-motherhood-differently-than-in-the-past

A MICHINGAN-based trending company has conducted a report to examine the status of women in 2010 – and the results have revealed that mums today have growing influence and power.

The report, which was compiled for Inforum, a professional women’s alliance in Michigan is the second of its kind to be released.

“This report confirms the growing power and influence that moms have,” says Terry Barclay, Inforum president and CEO. “It’s starting to reach a point that they’re such a critical mass that employers are going to have to help families balance work and family.

“It used to be moms were the sole carriers of that banner. This gives us a chance to reframe the challenges as challenges of parents, not just women’s issues.”

Employers attempting to attract top talent, many of whom are women, must recognize that more workers come with a different mind-set - a mind-set that says I don’t want to choose between a career and a family and I’m not going to kill myself to achieve work-family balance, Barclay says.

According to the report, America is increasingly becoming a more matriarchal society.

To read the full article click here

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Liverpool businesswoman gets creative with Origami

WHEN Marta Cunha took up the ancient Japanese art form of Origami she never imagined that it would one day provide her with the opportunity to start up her own business.

But now, the 31-year-old’s work is displayed at the Tate in Liverpool and she has been approached by other museums and art galleries throughout the region.

“For as long as I can remember I have been interested in origami” said Marta, “I think the Japanese culture is very beautiful and the art form of origami is extremely relaxing and can be therapeutic also.”

After spending years teaching herself origami – it was by mistake that Marta hit up on something really different and it is this that has made her business Dark Horse Origami the success that it is.

Marta said: “I am very creative and love designing new things. One day I thought to myself why not wear some origami earrings and hairclips and I didn’t think anything else of it. But, I got so many compliments on them, I couldn’t believe it.

“I realised that origami jewellery was something very unique and so I began to make more, selling them at markets and craft fairs.”

Marta’s delicate and unique jewellery is made using origami on specialist paper and she produces everything from necklaces and earrings through to hairclips and broaches. Originally from Portugal Marta came to England in 2008 – and after settling in Liverpool decided she wanted to stay.

And, prior to starting up Dark Horse Origami Marta came along to women’s enterprise agency Train 2000 where she received business advice and support under the business start-up programme.

“It helped me a lot going along to Train 2000£ said Marta, “and it also made me realise that this was for real and it wasn’t just a hobby anymore. I really enjoy being my own boss and it’s great to have control of my life and my future.”

As well as developing her own designs Marta is also starting to run origami workshops and hoping to deliver these at galleries, community centres and school throughout the area.

“Because origami is so relaxing and therapeutic it has many benefits” said Marta, “It is a very simple technique but it really can make a huge difference to your life and the way you’re feeling and I am very keen to pass on my knowledge and experience to other people.”

To find out more about where you can see Marta’s work, get more information on her workshops and forthcoming craft fairs visit her blog at www.dkhorse.blogspot.com or give her a call on 079703 238 654.

And, if you’re a woman in the Merseyside or Greater Manchester areas and are interested in starting up your own business please call 0151 236 6601 or visit www.train2000.org.uk

Market share decrease - for U.S. women-owned businesses

Source: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/us-womens-chamber-of-commerce-reports-women-owned-business-market-share-has-dropped-ten-percent-over-last-decade-98799549.html

WOMEN’S businesses in the U.S. are struggling to maintain their market share according to a recent report released by the Women’s U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

The report has revealed that despite a decade of strong growth in the number of women-owned firms – women’s revenue-based market share shrank by ten per cent.

Newly released data from the Preliminary Estimates of Business Ownership by Gender, Ethnicity, Race and Veteran Status: 2007, from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2007 Survey of Business Owners alarmingly finds, even though the number of women's business grew 44% between 1997 and 2007, our already small revenues-based market share declined over 10% – dropping from 4.41% in 1997 to 3.95% in 2007.

"Women own over 7.8M firms, (28.75% of all firms in the U.S.) but secure only 3.95% of all revenues. The opportunity loss and unrewarded risk, loss of job creation, market demand, tax revenues, and potential retirement assets greatly impacts America's financial future," says U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce CEO, Margot Dorfman.

The U.S. Women's Chamber of Commerce finds failure to access affordable capital, failure to access markets, and segregation from mainstream business development and leadership have contributed to the failure of women's businesses to achieve acceptable market share growth and has contributed to America's economic decline.

To find out more and to read the full article click here.