Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Train 2000 clients scoop top style award

TWO Train 2000 clients scooped a top award at Juice FM’s prestigious style awards held in Liverpool last weekend.

Kate Morris and business partner Julie jones, who launched earlier this year, were presented with their award during a glittering ceremony at Liverpool’s Anglican cathedral and were joined by a host of celebrities including Steven Gerrard, The Saturdays and cast members from Hollyoaks and Eastenders.

Kate and Julie won the award in the ‘Fashionista’ category after Juice FM listeners and other members of the public voted for them to win.

The ‘Fashionista’ award was given out in recognition of who or what sets the trends in Liverpool and where everyone goes to for the latest must-have outfit.

Kate and Julie’s business features photographs of people from all walks of life as well as a description of their outfits / accessories and links to the retailers they were purchased from.

The idea behind ‘’ was born out of the realisation by Julie and Kate that most of us like to people watch and are interested in and intrigued by the outfits that others are wearing.

Kate said: “We were absolutely delighted to win this award and the ceremony was brilliant. We have only been going for about six months and there is a lot more to come from us.

“We were up against some one who is very well known in the area and never really thought we had a chance of winning this award and just couldn’t believe it. Being award winners has really spurred us on and given us a great boost.”

Friends, Julie, 27 and Kate, 29 came along to Train 2000 for help and advice earlier this year prior to the launch of their business.

Jackie McGee, Enterprise Enabler at Train 2000 who advised Julie and Kate, said: “On behalf of Train 2000 I would like to say how pleased I am that Kate and Julie won this award. is an innovative and exciting new business and I expect that we will be hearing a lot more about it in the future.”

To find out more visit

And, if like Kate and Julie you are a woman in the Merseyside area and are interested in starting up your own business visit or call 0151 236 6601.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Trendyvend Get More Award Attention

Train 2000 caught up with Liverpool business Trendyvend run by sisters Kayley and Talia Baccino as they were shortlisted for a Liverpool John Moores University 'Graduate Entrpreneurs Award'.

The talented twosome were one of just three finalists for the 'Enterpreneurial Alumnus of the Year' award at the ceremony which took place on Thursday 14th October 2010.

Speaking to Trendyvend on the night they said they were delighted just to be shortlisted, especially as they had already won another award earlier this year.

Having started from humble beginnings being fed up working part time in a call centre, Kayley and Talia utilised support from LJMU, Stepclever and Train 2000 to turn their dream into reality and set up their own business. Since developing their innovative cosmetic vending machines they have watched their business go from strength to strength and are now looking to roll their product out on a national level.

A big congratulations to Kayley and Talia from all at Train 2000!

Cupcake Delicious for Knowsley Businesswoman

SINCE graduating from university Kellie Doherty-Green has dedicated most of her time to bringing up her young family – but earlier this year she decided it was time to get back into work and that’s when she started up her own business.

Now, the mum-of-four runs Cupcake Delicious from the comfort of her own home and because she is her own boss she can work flexible hours, giving her plenty of time to still look after her young children.

“Through my business I make and decorate large occasion cakes, cupcakes and cupcake towers” said 30-year-old Kelli, “I have always enjoyed cake making for friends and family and everyone has been encouraging me to set up my own cake-making business.

“But, I have always been put off because I thought it would be very difficult to set up and quite daunting to have the Food Standards Agency out to my home. But, I decided to go for it and soon realised that all the worries I had, turned out to be nothing to worry about at all.”

Kelli says that since starting up the business she has already had a lot of work and she is gaining new custom all the time through word of mouth. Kelli adds that her cupcake towers are proving to be particularly popular.

Before starting her family Kellie studied English Literature and Imaginative Writing at university and had intended to train as a teaching assistant. But becoming a mum halted her career plans and now she has got four children aged seven, five, two and seven months old.

Kelli said: “I am really enjoying working again, it’s nice to do something else as well as bringing up children. I absolutely love being a mum but it is nice to have my own business as well.

“Becoming my own boss was the perfect solution because it means that I work around looking after my children and it means I don’t miss out at all.”

Prior to starting up Cupcake Delicious Kellie, who is from the Knowsley area, came along to Train 2000 where she received help and support under the business start up programme.

“Train 2000 was a real source of support,” said Kelli and my adviser John was extremely helpful, particularly in advising me on how to put my business plan together. My adviser also helped me to access a business start up grant, which I was really pleased about.”

Anyone who would like to find out more about Kellie cake creations should visit her website at or if you would like to order a cake from her email

And, if like Kelli, you’re a woman from the Knowsley area and are interested in starting up your own business please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sefton businesswoman gets tips from TV's house doctor

FORMBY grandmother Jacquie Pickett decided it was time for something new in her life so she turned her attentions to becoming her own boss and started up a brand new business Staging Rooms.

The 55-year-old had always been interested in interiors and soft furnishings. So after completing a course with TV’s original House Doctor Ann Maurice she felt ready to set up her own property styling business.

“I have always been interested in this kind of thing” said Jacquie, who has three children and four grandchildren, “I have been doing my own properties up for years and then selling, but I wanted to learn more about property styling so when I saw this course with the House Doctor I thought it would be a great opportunity.”

Through Staging Rooms Jacquie now advises people on what furnishings to use in their house and how best to make rooms look if they want to sell the property.

Jacquie added: “People don’t realise that just by staging a room it can increase the property value by ten to 15 per cent. Through the skills I have, I can now go into a some one’s house and make it look like a show home.”

Prior to starting up her business Jacquie was unemployed having spent many years bringing up her children. And, once she decided to become self-employed she came along to Train 2000 for free help and advice under the business start up programme.

“I hadn’t heard of Train 2000 before” said Jacquie, but I was talking to another woman in Formby who has her own floristry business called Bloom Room and she told me all about the organisation, so I made an appointment straight away.

“The help I received from Train 2000 was brilliant. My adviser Rhian really was a great help particularly in supporting me to put my business plan together.”

Jacquie also took advantage of some of the free one day workshops and courses on offer at Train 2000 and she attended courses in PR, Bookkeeping and Tax and National Insurance.

She added: “Although I knew some of what was on the courses, I really did learn a lot and they were most helpful.”

Jacquie is now working tirelessly to build her new business up and whilst she says that it isn’t easy she is very much enjoying both the challenges and the flexibility that being her own boss brings.

She is currently networking and working hard to build up partnerships with estate agents in the area.

If you are looking for help with selling your property or you want to know how to style and de-clutter your rooms you can contact Jacquie on 01704 877922 / 07962 115 203 or email

And, if you’re a woman from the Sefton area and are interested in starting up your own business, please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit

UK business leaders attempt block on women's rights legislation


In the run up to the European Parliament vote on the proposed revision of the so-called ‘Maternity Leave Directive’, UK business leaders have been descending en masse on Brussels in an attempt to block legislation designed to protect women’s rights and economic independence throughout the 27 country block. If successful, it is the 26 other member states of the EU which will have to pay the price, gender equality associations are warning.

‘It is absolutely scandalous that short-sighted business interests from one member state should put at risk the human rights of millions of women throughout the EU, as well as the sustainability of European economies’, says Brigitte Triems, President of the European Women’s Lobby. ‘For UK MEPs to vote to block this legislation would be misguided; for the representatives of the peoples of all the other European countries to follow their lead would be a serious democratic failure.’

Under UK law, women are entitled to 39 weeks of paid maternity leave, and a total leave period of 52 weeks. Employers advance 90% pay during the first six weeks, 93% of which is subsequently reimbursed by the state. Increasing the duration of fully-paid leave to 20 weeks would, according to the British Equality and Human Rights Commission, cost the state an extra £1.3 billion.

The long duration of maternity leave (as opposed to parental leave provisions in most member states encouraging a sharing of care responsibilities), combined with the financial burden on employers, has led to high levels of discrimination against women in the UK labour market, and a record-high gender pay gap of 21.4%. According to a 2007 survey cited by the British Equal Opportunities Commission, 70% of employment agencies have been asked by their clients to avoid hiring pregnant women or women of childbearing age. British women are 23% less likely to be employed than men and women with a child under 11 are 49% less likely to be employed compared with men. There is also evidence that in the UK discrimination again women in the workplace – with the loss of tax revenue and increased welfare benefits it causes – costs between £15 billion and £25 billion each year, adding up to as much as 2% of GDP.1

‘The UK would very much benefit from changing its maternity leave provisions, and EU legislation could be the trigger for this’, says Ms. Triems. ‘In the long run, all member states stand to benefit from increased equality.’

To read the full article please click here.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Liverpool businesswoman sets up arts consultancy service

EARLIER this year Karen Green was made redundant – but just six months on and now she is successfully running her own business offering her arts consultancy skills to organisations throughout the region.

“My background is in the creative sector, with a focus on the visual arts, film and new media” said Karen, “my skills and experience are in engagement, interpretation and education work and now I am able to use these skills in running my own business.”

Karen Green Arts Consultancy now provides programme development and management, fundraising and evaluation services to arts based organisations that have specific projects that need to be developed and completed.

Since starting up the business Karen has had commissions to work on and further are lined up for the next six months. She has already completed work at art galleries in Liverpool and is currently working with Cornerhouse, Manchester’s International centre for contemporary visual art and film, programming their schools and colleges film programme, Projector,

She has also recently been commissioned by National Museums Liverpool to develop a resource for the new flagship, waterfront Museum of Liverpool. Aimed at early years practitioners, families, group leaders, primary and secondary schools, the resource will enable these groups to easy access the museum, its’ facilities and activities.

Karen said: “So far, I am really pleased with how well things are going, I have got work coming in and I am working on some really exciting new commissions. I have been working for internationally renowned organisations and I have been fortunate to have enough work at the moment but obviously when you are self employed you have to get used to the uncertainty over what work you will have for the future.

“But, I am very much enjoying being my own boss. Through my two previous jobs I have built up a lot of skills, experience and contacts and that’s how I have been getting the work so far, through people I know, I haven’t had to do any marketing at all yet.”

Prior to being self-employed 36-year-old Karen, who is also a mum, was working at Liverpool’s FACT – where she conceived and developed their Education programme before moving onto heading up a team overseeing the Education, Young People’s, Family and Collaboration programme.

She said: “It was difficult when I was made redundant, but jobs are difficult to come by at the moment so it helped me make the decision to go it alone and I’m really glad that I did.”

Karen says that being her own boss suits her much better and she can manage her work with greater flexibility around bringing up her child.

After being made redundant, in April this year Karen came along to Train 2000 where she received free help and support under the business start-up programme.
“A colleague of mine was also made redundant” said Karen, “and he came along to Train 2000 and then recommended the organisation to me. The help I received really was great. I really don’t think I could have done it on my own.”

Karen worked on a one-to-one basis with her business adviser Amanda who helped Karen put her business plan together.

Now, Karen, who is from the Edge Hill area in Liverpool wants to concentrate on the future and is hoping to build her business up further.

If you are interested in finding out more about Karen Green Art Consultant Karen can be contacted at

And, if you’re a woman from the Merseyside or Greater Manchester areas and are interested in starting up your own business you can call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Sandwich heaven for Stockport businesswoman

FORMER teaching assistant Zoe Unswoth had always wanted to start up her own business – so earlier this year she packed in her fulltime job in favour of becoming self-employed when she opened up Sandwich Heaven in the Bramhall area of Stockport.

And, Zoe couldn’t be happier with how well business is going having already taken on three part-time members of staff.

“I never would have imagined that business would be this good so soon” said 37-year-old Zoe, “when I set up I anticipated running the sandwich shop on my own, but we are so busy that I have already taken on staff, so I am absolutely delighted with how well things are going.

“I live very close by to the shop and for months I had seen it empty and was contemplating taking it over, it was a big decision to make giving up my job, but I’m so glad that I went for it now.”

Sandwich Heaven sells freshly made sandwiches, cakes and snacks to businesses and people in the area and Zoe prides herself on sourcing all of her produce locally.

She said: “Everything is fresh and made to order in the shop and I get everything from local suppliers. I use the local butcher, greengrocer and all of my cakes are home made and provided by another woman who has recently set up in business too. It’s very important to me that Sandwich Heaven is a real local business.

“Before I opened the shop it was a florists and it was then empty for months. No one likes to see an empty shop so when I took it over I think people in the area were pleased that something was being done with it.”

Despite the shop only being open since May this year Sandwich Heaven has already been awarded ‘four stars’ following an inspection from the local health authority – an achievement Zoe is delighted with.

Prior to starting up the business Zoe, who is mum to her two young children aged ten and seven, worked as a teaching assistant in a local primary school.

“I thoroughly enjoyed my job” said Zoe “and although it was very difficult to leave, I will never look back.”

Before opening up the shop Zoe came along to Train 2000 where she received help and advice under the business start up programme. She worked on a one-to-one basis with an adviser who helped put her business plan together.

Zoe said: “The support I received from Train 2000 was most useful. It was good to have some one there to help with my business plan and in the initial stages of business start up.

“I have also attended some of the workshops such as book keeping which was really helpful and have also been along to a networking event.”

Sandwich Heaven is based on Fir Road in Bramhall and Zoe can be contacted at the shop on 0161 439 6146.

Helping hand for Chinese businesswomen


MORE than ten thousand women in China have been given support to start up or keep their existing businesses going thanks to a government-backed initiative.

Tianjin, a women’s business incubator, was launched in 2000 just years after the Chinese government started a major restructuring of loss-making state-owned enterprises that resulted in massive lay offs across the country.

Millions of workers, many of them women aged in their 40s and 50s, lost their jobs during the overhaul and struggled to find new employment.

The Tianjin initiative - backed by the northern port city's government, Australia and the United Nations Development Programme -- has helped more than 10,000 women start up businesses or keep their companies afloat, said programme official Li Jing.

In many cases, state-owned commercial banks are not prepared to lend money to entrepreneurs because the size of the loan is too small or they have no assets to offer as collateral.

"Banks have their own standards and need to consider your ability to repay the loan and consider the problems of risks," Li Jing said.

“While many women have no experience running a business, only a "very, very small" number default on their repayments,” she added.

To find out more about the initiative and to read case studies on women who have been helped by the scheme please click here.

If you're a woman in Merseyside or Greater Manchester and are interested in starting up your own business, find out about the free advice and support available from Train 2000. Call 0151 236 6601 or visit

Friday, October 8, 2010

Liverpool businesswoman launches unique furniture collection

UPHOLSTERER and designer Kirsty Hull loves nothing more than to re-upholster and restore vintage chairs transforming them into something truly special – with this in mind she decided to start up her own business.

“I offer a bespoke service” said Kirsty, who recently founded Kirsty Hall Ltd, “all of my chairs are upholstered using traditional methods and materials, with tied springs and hand embroidered covers. This includes my ‘collection’ of repeatable designs and my ‘vintage’ collection of one off restorations.

“I also offer a full re-upholstery service and due to the traditional way I work, I can alter designs and fabrics to suit the needs of the customer.”

Kirsty has put a lot of time and dedication into developing her collection of handcrafted furniture and uses her unique creativity and craftsmanship combined with traditional methods of upholstery to produce her work.

“I am really pleased with the work I have produced so far,” added Kirsty, “I know I am producing unique pieces that will last a lifetime and I am delighted that I will be exhibiting at the Liverpool Design Festival this year, where I one of my vintage chairs is being offered as a prize to visitors. This will be a fantastic opportunity to gain further exposure for my work.”

Prior to starting up her own business 28-year-old Kirsty was working as a recruitment consultant and with bosses urging her to go for promotion she knew it was now or never to start up her own business.

Kirsty said: “I was working long hours in recruitment, but earning a good living from doing so. It reached the point where I was expected to further my career and as much as I enjoyed my job my heart wasn’t really in it, I knew I wanted to return to something more creative.

“I left my job, which was a big gamble, not knowing what my income would be. As soon as I decided I wanted to start the business I knew I had to do it ASAP, before I lost my nerve! I still can’t believe I took the risk but am so glad I did.”

Back in 2004 Kirsty graduated from the Glasgow School Art and went on to train in traditional upholstery with AMUSF, the Association of Masters of Upholsterers. It was always her intention to use the skills she had learned along with her natural creativity and it was this that spurred her on to start up her own business.

“I absolutely love what I do now” says Kirsty, “and I have been very lucky to have a supportive partner and family. I feel fulfilled now that I am doing something I really wanted to do and already I have been asked to complete some really interesting pieces of work including re-upholstering and restoring a 200 year old day bed.

“It’s amazing to be able to take an old piece of furniture and completely transform it so that it fits in with contemporary design. I live in a very modern apartment but have a vintage dinning table and odd, oak and mahogany chairs all upholstered in different vibrant fabrics, the contrast with the contemporary building looks fantastic.

“My work is quite unusual and it is starting to get noticed, I’m hoping that more people will hear about what I do through word of mouth and showing at exhibitions like Liverpool Design Festival.”

Once she had decided to start up her own business Kirsty came along to Train 2000 after finding the organisation online. Kirsty accessed free help and advice under the business start up programme.

She said: “Train 2000 was fantastic, I came away £500 better off after receiving the Liverpool Vision grant. Huda, my adviser was extremely helpful and she looked at all areas of my business plan with me.

“I also attended a number of the one day courses on offer and they proved to be very useful. It’s daunting striking out on your own but the support offered by these courses can really improve your knowledge and confidence, filling in the gaps around tax, accounting, PR etc. and making your ideas achievable.”

To find out more about the unique, creative work of Kirsty Hull you can visit her website at or email

And, if you’re a woman in the Merseyside area and are interested in starting up your own business call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Commission adopts new gender strategy

THE European Commission has now adopted a five-year strategy for promoting gender equality in Europe which is set to bring in a number of measures including getting more women into company boardrooms and tackling gender based violence.

These actions will be based on five key priority areas: the economy and labour market; equal pay; equality in senior positions; tackling gender violence; and promoting equality beyond the EU.

The Commission will also set up an annual high-level Gender Equality Dialogue with the European Parliament, Council Presidencies, European social partners and civil society to assess progress in implementing the strategy.

The strategy is expected to be adopted by national ministers at the Employment and Social Affairs Council on 6 December.

Further information can be found on the Commission website.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Stockport businesswoman has designs on success

WHEN Andrina Johnson became a mum she decided it was time to leave her job behind and instead started up her own business.

“I really needed something that would give me flexible working hours” said Andrina, “once I had by little boy I no longer wanted to work long hours, staying late at night to meet deadlines. I just didn’t want to miss out on him growing up, so I took the decision to leave my job and become my own boss, it seemed the perfect solution.”

And, in November last year Andrina opened up The Design Boutique providing a range of creative graphic design and print services to individuals and organisations throughout the area and afar.

She said: “I like to describe my business as a design boutique where customers can order anything that is creative; whether it be a corporate brochure or a unique piece of art for a child’s bedroom.”

Andrina has been working with advisors from women’s enterprise agency Train 2000.

She heard about Train 2000 via word of mouth and contacted them back in October 2009. Since then she has been working with an advisor on a one to one basis to develop her business plan and marketing plans to launch the company as part of the business start up programme.

“Train 2000 has really given me loads of confidence” added Andrina, “and it’s so nice to have somewhere to go to for advice. I worked on a one-to-one basis with an adviser to put my plan together and it was extremely helpful.”

Andrina, who is from the Stockport area, has worked in the graphic design industry for 10 years after completing a degree at Salford University.

“I am really enjoying working for myself” continued Andrina, “so far I have sourced a number of clients through networking with other women who have started up in business through Train 2000 as well.

“I have found that the best way to get new clients and to develop contacts is through networking. I do find networking quite daunting, but it is the best way and the more I do it the more I get used to it.”

Through The Design Boutique Andrina is keen to set up an online shop which will enable her customers to order on the internet. To find out more about The Design Boutique visit Andrina’s website at or email

And, for further information about Train 2000 visit and if you would like more information about the help available to women in Stockport call 0161 833 8800.

WICED panel member at Whitehouse Women's Entrepreneurship Conference

WICED’S leading expert panel member Professor Patricia Greene moderated a panel at the Whitehouse Women’s Entrepreneurship Conference held yesterday, Monday 4 October.

The Conference, being held in Washington D.C. brought together a mix of business owners, leaders from the women’s community, academics and officials to discuss the challenges and opportunities needed to move the women’s business agenda to the next level.

Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, said: “Women-owned businesses are a critical part of America’s 21st century economy. Between 1997 and 2007, the number of women-owned businesses grew by 44%, twice as fast as men-owned firms. During this period, women-owned businesses added roughly 500,000 jobs, while other private firms lost jobs. The most recent data show that women-owned businesses have annual sales/receipts of $1.2 trillion. Even during this trying economic time, women-owned businesses continue to create jobs. As we continue on the path to recovery, women-owned businesses will play an essential role in growing the economy and putting Americans back to work.

At the same time, women-owned businesses have their own unique set of challenges and we must find the best way to solve these problems.”

To read the full article click here

And, to find out more about Professor Patricia Greene who moderated at the conference and is one of WICED’s leading panel members please click here.

You can view videos from the conference by clicking these links:
Opening session video
Closing session video

Monday, October 4, 2010

Train 2000 Awards Knowsley New Business

The 8th Annual Knowsley Business Awards were held last Friday and Train 2000 were there in the thick of it to encourage local women in business. 10 Awards were presented to local businesses at the event hosted by Knowsley council and Knowsley Chamber of Commerce. Train 2000 were delighted to sponsor the 'New Business of the Year Award' which was scooped up by a thrilled Sharon and Steve Carroll for their business 'Chill Out Spa'. Steve and Sharon are pictured here with Jackie Williams Enterprise Manager at Train 2000 and members of their team.

For more information on how Train 2000 can support women in Knowsley and other areas of Mersyeside and Greater Manchester visit