Thursday, February 24, 2011

America’s top 20 corporations for Women’s Business Enterprise announced

DELL, IBM and the Shell Oil Company are just some of those listed in America’s top 20 corporations for Women’s Business Enterprise – in honour of their world class programmes that create level playing fields for Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE’s) to compete for corporate contacts.

Linda Denny, CEO and president of The Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC) said: “"We are proud to honor 20 Top Corporations for their world-class leadership in partnering with women's business enterprises to sustain innovation in this country and fuel our economic growth.

“These Top Corporations are deeply committed to supplier diversity programs that span their organizations and achieve measurable results."

Top Corporations programs offer equal access and result in a high volume of business with women's business enterprises.

To read the article and for a full list of the top 20 companies click here.

Government review calls for more women in the boardroom

FTSE 100 companies ‘should’ aim for a minimum of 25% female board representation by 2015 in a bid to stamp out male dominance in UK boardrooms – according to the results of a government inquiry released this week.

Lord Davies who led the official review for the government, said "radical change" was needed "to ensure that more talented and gifted women can get into the top jobs in companies across the UK".

FTSE 350 companies should be setting their own, "challenging targets" and he expects that many will achieve "a much higher figure" than the minimum 25%.

Launching the report on Thursday, Davies called on chairmen to announce their goals in the next six months and for chief executives to review the percentage of women they aim to have on their executive committees in 2013 and 2015.

Davies said: "Over the past 25 years the number of women in full-time employment has increased by more than a third and there have been many steps towards gender equality in the workplace, with flexible working and the Equal Pay Act, however, there is still a long way to go.”

The report also makes a number of other recommendations:
• Investors should pay close attention to the recommendations from the report when considering re-appointments to a company board.
• Companies should periodically advertise non-executive board positions to encourage greater diversity in applications.
• Headhunting firms should draw up a voluntary code of practice addressing gender diversity in relation to board level appointments to FTSE 350 companies.

To read the full article please click here.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Celebrating 100 Years of International Women's Day by Meeting the Experts

To mark 100 Years of International Women’s Day on Tuesday 8th March 2011 The Women’s Organisation in partnership with Liverpool Vision and Liverpool City Council invite you to join us to meet a number of leading women drawn from the business, education and corporate community.

This fantastic event running from 1pm-4.30pm will feature:

Event Chairwoman Jeanette Kehoe–Perkinson
Jeanette is the former VP on the Board of Mexx, the international fashion business which is part of the Liz Claiborne Inc company, based in Amsterdam. She is the owner/founder of her own company Just For People Ltd specialised in building effective boards and turnaround failing businesses

An interview with;
Clare Lara, named the first female winner of 'MasterChef: The Professionals' and a Catering Lecturer in Liverpool Community College

The 'Meet the Experts' event is an unique opportunity to attend a masterclass delivered by one of the following leaders in their field of business including;

Victoria Brown - Managing Director of High Performance Consultancy (HPC) which has national blue chip client base and specialises in executive profiling, recruitment, leadership, employment law, employee relations, redundancies and change management. HPC has an impressive national blue chip client base

Katherine Corich – Founding Director, Sysdoc Group which provides services in change management, business process engineering, training / e-learning and knowledge management (web, intranet and knowledge base design). Sysdoc operates in Europe, USA, New Zealand and Australia

Molly Harvey - the founder of Corporate Soul Woman, delivering transformational business thinking, strategies on leadership development and organisational cultural change management. She works with businesses on a national and international basis helping them clarify and simplify the organisation’s vision and strategy to improve performance.

Ellie Kerr - the founder of the Women in Business Network on Merseyside which specialises in enabling women who are starting or growing their own enterprises to access and benefit from business network. Ellie is an expert in helping women to develop and utilise effective business networks.

Maggie Mullan - Partner, Austin-Smith Lord (ASL). Maggie is responsible for Business Development within ASL and has is currently leading its expansion into the Asian markets. She was the first female president of the Liverpool Architectural Society, is a founding member of Professional Liverpool, and an RIBA Competition

Taking place on Tuesday 8th March 1pm-4.30pm, the agenda for event that will include light refreshments will be:

Welcome from Maggie O’ Carroll Chief Executive Officer the Women’s Organisation
Interview with Clare Lara the first female winner of Masterchef -achieving in the catering and hospitality, ingredients for success
Meet the Experts Master Class - Session 1
Meet the Experts Master Class - Session 2
Plenary, Questions and Answers with the Panel

Held at The Women's Organisation, 54 St James Street, Liverpool L1 0AB.

Place are strictly limited for this event so please reserve your FREE place by emailing or call 0151 236 6601.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Knowsley mum swaps unemployment to become business boss

MUM of five Carol Winterton went from holding a senior management position to being on sickness benefits when her disability meant she could no longer work – but the prospect of being unemployed for the long term was not something she could comprehend – so Carol took the decision to become her own boss.

“I had always worked” said Carol, “and I loved my job, so to go from this to suddenly being without a job, was a complete shock. I was out of work for 12 months and the whole time I was sat at home thinking I can’t do this forever.

“That’s when I went along to The Women’s Organisation and found out about the possibility of becoming my own boss.”

And now Carol is successfully running her own business CRC Cleaning Services Ltd where she is employed as a company director – and already she has a contract to manage the cleaning of a large Liverpool-based school.

“I was delighted to gain this contract so soon” added Carol, “It has really given my business a great start and the head teacher at the school is very pleased with the system I have implemented. I have brought in a colour coded system similar to those that are used in hospitals, to ensure that the highest levels of hygiene are maintained.”

“Through my new system I have also managed to reduce costs for the school which obviously they are very pleased about.”

Since starting up her business Carol has taken on four employees and is about to recruit her fifth. She said: “It feels like a real achievement to be creating jobs for other people through my business.

“I tend to oversee and manage everything and I also like to be hands on if I am able. I have got a lot of plans for the future and am looking at approaching more schools. I have implemented staff uniforms, badges and ensure that all my staff have been CRB checked.”

Aside from being a businesswoman 54-year-old Carol has five children ranging in age from 13 to 38 as well as eight grandchildren – so life is very busy.

“Because I have worked all of my life” she added, “I am well used to juggling my home and work life, but now that I am self-employed it does give me greater flexibility around family life which is great.”

Prior to starting up her own business Carol came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received help and advice in starting up CLC Cleaning Services.

She worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser and received help in putting together her business plan.

She added: “I had never really considered being self-employed before and it was only when I could no longer work that I realised it could be a good option for me.

“I thought that the help I got from The Women’s Organisation was really good. I was quite nervous about becoming self-employed and having to put together a business plan, but my adviser really put me at ease and gave me the confidence I needed.”

She continued: “Becoming self-employed really has changed my life. Before, I thought I would never work again and now I am a successful businesswoman and I haven’t looked back.”

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about CRC Cleaning Services Ltd should contact Carol on 0151 487 6547.

And, if like Carol you are a woman in the Knowsley area and are interested in starting up your own business please contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601. Alternatively email or visit

Women say glass ceiling still exists

RESEARCH for the Institute of Leadership and Management has revealed that nearly three quarters of women say they still face barriers to top-level promotion in the UK.

For the purposes of the research 3,000 managers were questioned – and 73% of women agreed that the glass ceiling still exists, but only 38% of men felt that was the case.

The research was released just ahead of Lord Davies’ report on boardroom gender equality which is set to be released later this week.

Just 24% of men backed quotas for female executives – whilst 47% of women agreed.
Positive action to boost the role of women met with greater support backed by 62% of women and 42% of men.

But Penny de Valk, the Institute of Leadership & Management’s chief executive, said it would not answer all of the problems.

"Quotas may be seen as the quickest solution, and some countries - notably Norway - have introduced them with some success," she said.

"However, although they drive compliance, they do not necessarily drive a commitment to the more fundamental changes that are required."

Early indications suggest that Lord Davies's report to the government will set a two-year time frame for UK companies to increase the number of women on their boards, she noted.

To read the full story click here

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Knowsley Chamber Offer Discounted Memberships

Knowsley Chamber is able to offer new start-up businesses a discounted membership rate of £50 plus VAT for the first year (£60 inc VAT).

This is only applicable to new businesses who are sole traders and have not been in membership before. Membership will include all the benefits of full Chamber membership as shown below:-

• Unlimited access to the HR and Health and Safety legal telephone help lines;
• Unlimited access to downloadable HR and Health & Safety precedents, documents and forms;
• Legal cover for disputes (up to £65,000);
• Free tax investigation advice, support and help line;
• Financial cover for Jury service;
• Export documentation service;
• International trade and investment seminars;
• Free auditing of your current utility bills;
• Company profile on our website (the new website will be launched in April 2011);
• Discounted healthcare from Westfield;
• Receipt of the Chamber e-newsletter;
• Events, seminars, workshops, networking and training;
• Specialist sector events and activities for
o Manufacturing,
o Environment,
o Renewable Energy,
o ICT/Digital,
o HR,
o B2B,
o Social Enterprise,
o Retail,
o Tourism,
o Women in Business (there is now no joining fee for KWIB)
• One free member mailing to the Chamber’s database;
• A PDF copy of the membership database;
• A free copy of the Chamber diary/directory;
• Advice, support and signposting;

If you are interested in taking up this offer or finding out more visit

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Woman I am - new exhibition at Liverpool's International Slavery Museum

A GROUP of women asylum seekers who originally came together through one of The Women's Organisation's Women's Circles are set to have their work featured in an exhibition at Liverpool's International Slavery Museum.

The women, who have now formed WAST (Women Asylum Seekers Together)
Liverpool, were invited to work with photo journalist Lee Karen Stow earlier this month and attended a week of photography workshops where they were given the opportunity to learn about photography and to capture images that really meant something to them.

And, many of the women decided to wear traditional dress for the photography – ensuring the beautiful brightly coloured clothing was captured in their work. As well as being supported by photo journalist Lee, Abi Booth who is setting up her own photography business through The Women's Organisation also volunteered on the project.

The exhibition “The Woman I Am” was inspired following Lee Karen Stow's trip to Sierra Leone where she photographed women – now an exhibition: 42 – and on her return to Liverpool she chose to work with women asylum seekers in the city.

Members of WAST have come to Liverpool from all over the world – and they are now able to support one another with many of the difficulties they face as women seeking asylum.

Lin Hankinson, Women's Involvement Coordinator for The Women's Organisation, said: “I am absolutely delighted that this group of women who came together at one of our Women's Circles have gone on to form WAST – Liverpool; they are a real support to one another and other women seeking asylum in the city.

“Getting involved in this project was a fantastic opportunity for them – not only has it helped to improve their confidence and self-esteem but it has given them something positive to get involved with. All of these women are going through very difficult and distressing times, but the photography project has for a short time taken them away from these difficulties and allowed them to focus on their strengths, particularly their creativity. Their work and what they have achieved has been truly inspirational.”

Lee Karen Stow's '42' exhibition (her work from Sierra Leone) and 'The Woman I Am' will be featured at the International Slavery Museum from March 2011. And, photographs from 'The Woman I Am' will also be exhibited at The Women's Organisation's brand new St James Street centre for International Women's Day.

To watch an interview with Lee Karen Stow in which she talks about the project please click here.

And, to find out more about The Women's Organisation visit

Words and deeds for Liverpool businesswoman

TWELVE months ago Debra Williams decided it was time to take a look at her life and try something new – and that’s when she turned to self-employment.

“In October 2009 I became a media volunteer for the Woodland Trust” said Debra, “and, when they asked me to do some paid PR work for them, I realised that I did have the necessary skills to turn my interest in writing and editing, into a business working for myself.”

Now, Debra runs Words and Deeds a business offering PR services as well as proof reading – a service which she targets particularly at university students.

She said: “I really enjoy this area of work, it is quite different to what I was previously doing but I have always wanted to get into PR and proof reading since I graduated. I managed to use my skills in these areas when I was working in university administration, writing and editing newsletters and webpages; this experience gave me an excellent grounding for the work I now do on a self-employed basis. ”

And, to add to her business Debra is also offering a dog walking and cat sitting service aimed especially at people who are sick or in respite care.

“I know this is very different to PR and proofreading” added Debra, “but, I was brought up with dogs and have had cats of my own for more than 20 years; and I have got the time and energy for both aspects of the business. I particularly wanted to offer the pet sitting service to people who are sick or need to go into short term care or hospital because I know how much they need it, through voluntary work I have done in this area.”

Debra says she is enjoying running both aspects of her business and is looking forward to building them both up over the forthcoming months.

Prior to starting up her business Debra came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received free help and advice under the business start up programme.

She said: “I was in Barclays opening up a business bank account when I found out about The Women’s Organisation. The services offered to me have been very helpful and I have been able to access a number of services.”

Debra also worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser to put her business plan together.

“I love being self-employed” said Debra, “and being able to provide services to people, who really need them.”

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the services Debra has on offer should contact her on 07783 997 129 or email Alternatively you can visit her website at

And, if like Debra you too are interested in starting up your own business please contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Gender equality quotas ruled out

GOVERNMENT imposed quotas to enforce UK companies to recruit more female executives have been ruled out.

In a recent report former business minister Lord Davies has demanded instead that FTSE 100 companies set their own targets – but with the understanding that the government will ‘step in’ if there has been no change within two years.

In the summer of 2010 business secretary Vince Cable asked Lord Davies to look for ways to foster gender equality in Britain’s boardrooms.

In the UK currently just one in eight directors of FTSE 100 companies are women.

For the purposes of his report Lord Davies was encouraged to look to Norway where the government did impose a 40 per cent quota for female directors of listed companies.

In Norway the policy is deemed a success, with women's representation on boards now approaching the 40% mark from a low of 6% in 2002. Spain and France have followed suit with quotas and last week Michel Barnier, the European Union's markets commissioner, said he was "open to the idea" of official targets, adding: "The presence of women in the leadership of a country or a region or a business is a question of good governance for me."

To read the full article please click here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

How to measure your social impact - new course for social enterprises

THE Women's Organisation is set to deliver a brand new course 'How to measure your social impact' on behalf of the Social Enterprise Network.

This latest course, which is specifically aimed at social enterprises, is a practical one day workshop exploring approaches, tools and techniques to help social enterprises measure the social impact they are making.

The course will;

- Review and consider examples of Social Audit Network (SAN) accounts, Social Return on Investment (SROI) reports and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSO) reports.

- Introduce tools such as the Local Multiplier 3 (LM3) and the Balance Diagnostic Tool

- Provide an understanding of techniques including stakeholder mapping, designing questionnaires and running focus groups.

The workshops will take place on Wednesday 23 February from 9.30am until 4.30pm at The Women's Oeganisation 54 St James Street, Liverpool and Friday 4 March from 9.30am until 4.30pm at Knowsley CVS, Nutgrow Villa, 1 Griffiths Road, Huyton. Lunch and refreshments will be served.

For more information please call The Women's Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or email

These workshops are supported by ERDF and the events are fully funded. Priority will be granted to eligable social enterprises (registered and trading).

UK's female entrepreneurs set to double over next 30 years

THE UK is set to see an explosion of female entrepreneurs over the next 30 years according to a recent report commissioned by Avon Cosmetics Limited.

The report produced by Dr Alexandra Beauregard, of the London School of Economics, indicates the number of female entrepreneurs sets to double over the next three decades.

Research carried out amongst 2,000 16-24 year olds suggests women founders might, in just a few decades, bridge the gender-based enterprise gap, with almost two thirds (60%) of the young female expressing an interest in setting up their own business.

Fast growing markets like Brazil had more women founding businesses than man in 2009 already, so this could most certainly be a global trend.

Of the young women participating in the study:
- 72% said being their own boss appeals to them.
- 61% were willing to work two jobs at once.
- 76% believed the job market is at saturation, and many believe being their own boss is a realistic alternative to the current overloaded job market.
- 57% considered their parents to be role models in terms of work and career.
- Only 28% felt there was sufficient advice from the government on this subject to assist their drive for enterprise (against 40% of young men).

To read the full article please click here.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The W.O.’s expert panel member leads the way on research

ONE of The Women’s Organisation’s expert panel members Colette Henry is leading the way with a new piece of research into the growth of women owned businesses.

Women Entrepreneurs and the Global Environment for Growth provides wide-ranging insights on the challenges that women entrepreneurs face growing their businesses and how these may be addressed.

This latest research which has been developed by Colette Henry alongside three others considers the growth challenges for women-owned businesses and is said to enrich the current literature on gender and entrepreneurship.

Lending a fresh perspective to the field, this book will serve not only as a learning tool and teaching implement but will cultivate further progress in women’s entrepreneurship. As such, it is ideally suited for students and scholars of entrepreneurship and women’s studies, policy-makers, economic development analysts and gender researchers.

One of the authors Colette Henry, Professor of Business & Enterprise at the Royal Veterinary College University of London, is one of The Women’s Organisation’s leading expert panel members who provide an international context and in-depth knowledge on women’s entrepreneurship to the organisation.

To find out more about this latest research please click here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

"MS diagnosis inspired me to become my own boss" says Stockport Businesswoman

WHEN Sue Manning was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) she knew it would change her life forever – but instead of letting the illness get her down she remained positive – and it was this positive attitude that eventually led her to open up her own business.

And now she runs ‘Sooz Joolz’ designing and making bespoke handmade jewellery out of silver – and she is able to run her business from the comfort of her own home. .

“Because of my condition I could no longer commit to a position of employment” explained Sue, “so, after leaving my job I was unemployed for a while, but I knew that I needed something in my life, something to focus on, so I decided to have a go at starting up my own business.”

44-year-old Sue has always been creative and initially started making jewellery as a hobby designing pieces for friends and family. She then went on to run a couple of jewellery parties and sold some of her work on Stockport market.

She continued: “People kept complimenting me on my work and telling me that I should do it for a living, so in the end I went for it. And, I’m so glad that I did.”

e, who lives with John and has two children, Alice aged 14 and Edward aged 10, previously worked in the community and latterly as a housing assistant before she was diagnosed with MS back in 2006.

“It was 2010 before I set up my business and it is the best decision I could have made. Being able to work again has really given me my confidence back and raised my self esteem again. When you have got any kind of disability or illness and have to give up your job it is very easy to lose your confidence, so being my own boss really has given me a new lease of life.”

Sue says that when she was diagnosed with MS it came as a massive shock to both herself and her family and causes her numerous health problems including fatigue, numbness in her arms and legs and on one occasion she lost the sight in her left eye.

“As far as my MS goes I don’t know what the future holds” added Sue, “sometimes the fatigue is so bad that I can’t get out of bed for a few days at a time and that is why running my own business works so well for me; I can work when I’m feeling well and rest when I’m not and I am not letting anyone down.”

Prior to starting up her business Sue came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received free help and advice in putting her business plan together. She worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser.

“I was delighted when Stockport Boost put me on to The Women’s Organisation” said Sue, “working with my adviser Mike really spurred me on; he was brilliant and I was so pleased with all the help I received from the organisation.”

Since starting up her business Sue has been commissioned to do a number of pieces and she is pleased with how well it is going.

“I have been asked to do a number of pieces including some unusual things like one commission was to make a silver leaf pendant,” added Sue, “each piece takes a lot of time and work but because I enjoy what I do, I get a lot out of it. Now that it’s the New Year I am also planning to go on a jewellery making course which will hopefully give me some new ideas to work with.”

Anyone who is interested in finding out more about ‘Sooz Joolz’ should give her a call on 07795 253 964 or visit her website

And, if like Sue you are a woman from the Stockport area and are interested in starting up your own business please call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Get an extra £200 when you start up your own business

THE Women's Organisation is still offering women in Liverpool and Knowsley an extra cash boost of £200 when they start up their own businesses.

Any woman living in either of these areas will receive the start-up grant when they set up in business. And, the money can be used towards any start-up costs from marketing through to business stationary - so it’s bound to be extremely useful to anyone newly self-employed.

Jackie Williams, Enterprise Director for The Women’s Organisation, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer the women of Knowsley and Liverpool this start-up grant of £200. It will be extremely helpful to them in the initial stages of business start-up when there are often costs incurred.”

And, any women interested in becoming their own boss will not only benefit from the £200 start-up grant but they will also be able to take advantage of all of the FREE services on offer through The Women’s Organisation including one-to-one business advice and a range of business related courses.

Business advisers can also assist women in accessing further funding for business start-up.

So, if you’re a woman with a business idea and you live in the Knowsley or Liverpool areas call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or free phone 0800 587 0383 and find out how you can be £200 better off when you start up your own business.

Alternatively please email or visit

Maggie O'Carroll presentation - "Social Enterprise and Philanthropy: their role in the new Big Society"

THE Women's Organisation's CEO Maggie O'Carroll delivered what has been described as a 'provocative and inspiring' presentation at ISBE's recent one day symposium on "Social Enterprise and philanthropy; their role in the new Big Society".

The presentation, which was delivered by Maggie for ISBE's (Institute for Small Business & Entrepreneurship) special interest group the SSEN (Social & Sustainable Enterprise Network) was very well received.

During the presentation Maggie talked about how the new political landscape was impacting on enterprise and the consequences of the Big Society for the poorer areas of the UK.

She also set out a number of challenges for the academic community stating that several key areas are under-researched.

To view Maggie's full presentation please click here.
And, if you would like to find out more about ISBE visit the website at