Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stockport businesswoman launches Curtis Cuisines

FOR Tracey Curtis cooking was always a hobby and a passion so after 20 years of creating delicious cuisine for family and friends – she decided to quit her business and finance job of 25 years and turned that hobby into a brand new business.

And now Tracey runs Curtis Cuisine providing quality home-made ready meals, using locally sourced fresh ingredients, to the people of Stockport.

She said: “When I set up the business, I thought it would be mostly older people contacting me, but I have found there are a lot of families and people with busy lives who are using my services. I deliver the meals frozen so that they can put them in the freezer and re-heat them whenever they want.

“I got the idea to start up the business because of situations Involving my own family/relatives, who loved home cooked food, (with no artificial ingredients), and not mass produced ready meals, but I could not find a service able to offer this. Just because some-one can’t cook anymore it doesn’t mean they no longer want to taste good wholesome food.

In setting up Curtis Cuisine Tracey spoke to Age Concern, and a variety of voluntary agencies and did a great deal of research to ensure there would be a market – and she discovered that people were now given more choices over who should provide such services to them.

Tracey provides a range of meals to her customers including beef casserole, sausage casserole, fisherman’s pie, lasagne and much more. Wherever possible the products are sourced locally, all meat is sourced from local farm shops, supporting local communities and farms, and as well as offering a delivery service she is also selling the meals at farmers markets throughout the area.

“It’s a very diverse job” said Tracey, “and at the moment I do everything, from shopping and sourcing the products to cooking, labelling and delivering – and although it is hard work I am thoroughly enjoying it.”

For the past 25 years 45-year-old Tracey has worked for Stockport Council in business, administration and finance – but she felt she was ready for a change.

“I just needed to do something different” she said, “cooking is a hobby and passion of mine. I absolutely love it, it’s so nice to be doing something different and I am really enjoying being my own boss.”

Tracey’s, family has been very supportive of her transition into self-employed and she says she will never look back. Her family enjoy sampling her new recipes.

She added: “I am just working on promoting myself and building the business up. I haven’t been going that long, so it’s early days, but I’d like to get to a point where I have regular customers.”

Prior to starting up the business Tracey came along to The Women’s Organisation where she accessed free help and advice in starting up her business, under the business start-up programme. She worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser who supported her in putting a business plan together.

She said: “The help I received from The Women’s Organisation was excellent. My adviser Mike was extremely supportive, as well as putting my business plan together I also went on some of the courses on offer, which were also extremely helpful.”

If you would like to order some of Tracey’s freshly cooked meals or to find out more about Curtis Cuisine please visit her website at or Contact Tracey directly tel 07773551486, she will be happy to assist.

And, if like Tracey you are a woman in the Stockport area who is interested in starting up your own business please call 0151 236 6601 or email Alternatively you can visit our website at

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Business role models revealed – women get less than 3% of the vote


IN a recent survey to reveal the top entrepreneurs women didn't even receive three per cent of the vote.

The study, which was carried out by Blur Group, saw more than 1,000 national and international entrepreneurs interviewed about the top business people that inspire them the most. Although ten per cent of them surveyed were women, the results revealed that females received less than three per cent of the vote.

Richard Branson, British entrepreneur and Chairman of the Virgin Group, received 27.5% and topped the list for his creative ideas and ongoing innovation of new products. But what about the ladies?  Is it an issue of out of sight, out of mind?

To read the full article, which includes a list of suggested women who could have been voted for and two that did make the list, Oprah Winfrey and Anita Roddick, please click here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Businesswomen set to provide thousands of jobs in the UK this year


MORE than 360,000 jobs are expected to be created in 2011 thanks to women in business, with one in five hoping to take on new staff over the next 12 months.

In a survey for Intuit, makers of Quickbooks financial management software, results have shown that female business-starters could give a much needed boost to the UK economy.

With an estimated 620,000 majority women owned small business in the UK this would create more than 360,000 new jobs over the next 12  months.

The Intuit survey also revealed a strong entrepreneurial appetite from women who are not yet running their own business.

Almost half (49%) of all women surveyed were interested in setting up a business in the future, and 23% of prospective female business owners are planning to launch their new venture in the next year.

Incentives for women to start up their own business were; being their own boss, flexible work hours and the ability to work from home.

To read the full article please click here.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Construction expert scoops top businesswoman award


A FEMALE civil engineer has been named Veuve Clicquote Businesswoman of the year.

BDP's chair of civil and structural engineering Michelle McDowell was singled out for work on low-carbon building and promoting engineering as a career for all.
"I'm absolutely delighted. Its an opportunity for a fantastic platform," Ms McDowell, 48, said.

Among the projects the construction expert has worked on are the recent revamp of Wimbledon lawn tennis club.

She was also the driving force behind a £70m redevelopment of the Royal Albert Hall in London.

Ms McDowell, from Coleraine, Northern Ireland, began her career more than 25 years ago, after being persuaded into the arena by what she calls "a fluke".
Ms McDowell says she has had to work hard to promote engineering for women and women within engineering.

"Women are scarce, perhaps it's the image of construction - dirty, muddy boots; an unreconstructed working environment. But now the image is transforming, even on site.
"I've had to show a level of determination and hard work and make it easier for others to come through - through encouragement and bursaries. Even just two weeks in a design office or on a construction site can make it gel that it's a career for someone rather than something to settle for," she added.

The Veuve Clicquot award was first presented in 1972 and recognises the role played by successful businesswomen in Britain.

To read the full story please click here.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Knowsley businesswoman launches new magazine

AFTER Joanne Teasedale was made redundant she went on the search for a job that would bring her flexibility around bringing up her children – but finding nothing suitable – she decided instead to have a go at running her own business.

“I basically bought a business in a box” said the former journalist and marketer, “I bought a magazine and all the information I needed to go about setting it up. I launched the Hunts Cross pages earlier this year and my first edition went out in March.

“The magazine promotes local businesses, services and what’s on in the area. It is a glossy A5 publication – and I want it to be something handy that people keep by the phone and will be very useful to them.”

Originally from West Yorkshire Joanne moved to Knowsley with her husband and three year old boy William. And, she is pregnant with her second child.

She said: “It was quite daunting moving to a new area and having to find work. If I hadn’t been made redundant I don’t think I would have considered becoming self-employed, but there were no part-time flexible jobs out there – so becoming my own boss was really the only option left to me and I’m so glad now that I did it.”

Prior to starting up her business Joanne went along to Knowsley Fresh Start where she found out about The Women’s Organisation. And, under the business start-up programme at The Women’s Organisation Joanne received free business advice and worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser to put her business plan together.

She said: “Accessing support from The Women’s Organisation was invaluable to me. I had never put a business plan together before, so the information and help I received was really very useful.

“My adviser Amanda was great – and it was so nice to have support along the way.”

Joanne does admit that although she is enjoying being her own boss it has been difficult in the start. She said: “The first edition of the magazine was very hard going, I had to source my own printers and distributers, but now that I have done one, I know that it will get easier.

“And, as my children get older I will be able to dedicate more time to my business.”

The next edition of the Hunts Cross Pages is due out in May – if you would like to receive a copy or to place an advert please call Joanne on 0151 486 6107 or email

And, if like Joanne you are a woman and are keen to start up your own business please call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 to find out about the range of free services on offer. Alternatively email or visit

Geneva hosts media convention on women’s rights and gender equality

WOMEN’S rights and gender equality in the media was the topic at this year’s International Media Trends Conference held in Geneva, Switzerland.

The conference took place earlier this week at the School of Communications at Webster University’s campus in Geneva.

Tammy Rosso, head of the media communications department at Geneva, said: "Every day women are starved, they are beaten, they are raped, they are cut, they are burned and they are stoned to death.

"Even in the developed countries, we still have these issues. Take for example the U.S. where one in six women is either raped or a victim of attempted rape. It is not just a question of developing countries working on women's rights; it's a global issue."

Michelle Odiambo, a communications major visiting the conference from the campus in Leiden, commented on the hopes that revolutions happening in North Africa will be the beginning of new rights for women.

"We see women on TV walking on the streets protesting," said Odiambo, a native of Neirobi, Kenya. "This is giving other women leeway to be more rebellious and in doing so they are empowering themselves."

To read the full article please click here.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hard Times - Impact on Women Conference

“Hard Times” - The impact for women and how to respond conference, is the first in a series of 4 similar consulatations focussing on the lives of women across the region over the next two years.

Taking place on: Monday 18 April 2011 - 9.30am - 3.30pm
at: Sheffield Hallam University, City Campus, Eric Mensforth, Conference Suite

You will have the choice of 2 workshops including:

0 Women and Work - Led by TUC, focus on part timers rights, flexible working
0 Working for Yourself - The pros and cons
0 Making Ends Meet - Led by Credit Unions, Debt Advice
0 Women and the World of Networking - Led by NAVCA and Oxfam Empowerment of the most vulnerable
0 Grandparents, Caring and Work - Led by Grandparents Plus and Age UK
0 Women Pensioners and Poverty - Led by Kate Green MP, accessing benefits and rights
0 Student Finance and Debt - Led by National Union of Students

You can register your interest:
by email: to
by phone: 0114 246 3162

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Join the SAN Conference 2011

THE Women’s Organisation’s Development Manager Lisa McMullen will be one of the panel members at this year’s SAN (Social Accounting Network) conference 2011.

The conference, which is set to take place on Friday April 8, will bring together practitioners of social accounting and social reporting who will introduce a new guide for the process, discuss how it can be used across the sector and how it can be enhanced in the future.

This is your opportunity to join in with a discussion and debate about where social accounting and audit is going in the current political climate.

Throughout the day there will be presentations and discussions, workshops, opportunities to network and a question and answer session with panel members from across the sector.

This year’s conference takes place in Newcastle and will start at 9.30am.

To attend you will need to book your place.

For further details and full booking information please click here.

And, to find out more about social auditing visit

New ISBE video features The Women's Organisation's Maggie O'Carroll

WATCH a short video of the promising start to the activities of the newly-formed ISBE (Institute for small Business & Entrepreneurship) special interest group, SSEN, symposium on ‘Social enterprise and philanthropy: their role in the new Big Society’.

The event, which drew together academics and practitioners from across the UK, raised debate on a range of issues around social enterprises and what they may be expected to achieve in the wake of the public sector cuts.

Maggie O’Carroll, Chief Exec of The Women’s Organisation, kicked off with a provocative and inspiring presentation on how the new political landscape was directly impacting on her enterprise and the potential consequences of ‘Big Society’ for the poorer areas of the UK.

A lively policy debate was chaired by Nigel Lockett, Prof. of Enterprise at Leeds University and President of ISBE.

Dr Eleanor Shaw from University of Strathclyde Business School discussed her research into the emergence of Entrepreneurial philanthropy as a backdrop for how ‘Big Society’ may be played out by wealthy entrepreneurs.

Steve Woodford, founder of Foundation (a charity formed to fight social exclusion), expressed his concerns about how ‘Big Society’ might affect his charity—both directly and indirectly, as they see an increase in the number of individuals requiring their services.

To watch the video please click here.

For more information about the SIG or to join please visit

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

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mum's business creates job for teenage daughter Jessie

DEVOTED mum Louise Gillespie has recently started up her own business and one of her main motivations behind this decision was to create a job for her teenage daughter.

“My 16-year-old daughter Jessica is currently completing her GCSE’s” said Louise, “and she wants a part-time job while she studies and moves on to her A-Levels. Jobs are extremely difficult to come by at the moment, so I thought that if I had my own business then I could give her a job.”

So, 39-year-old Louise set up Jessies Jewels – selling costume jewellery which she buys from suppliers in the UK and then sells at house parties, through a variety of events and on Facebook.

And, whilst running the business Louise also holds down a full time as a practice manager at affirm of solicitors, where she has worked for 23 years. “Running this business is like light relief for me” she said, “It’s so nice to get stuck into something which is completely different to my day job, I am a very upbeat forward thinking person so am really motivated to make Jessie’s Jewels a success.”

Louise initially got the idea to set up the jewellery business when she was shopping with her daughter Jessica for costume jewellery. “I couldn’t believe how expensive it was” she said, “and, it just planted the seed in my head – I thought I could sell jewellery much cheaper than this and still make a profit.”

Now Louise, along with some help from her daughter Jessica, sells a wide range of products at house parties, vintage fares, fashion fares and the jewellery is displayed at numerous locations throughout the Knowsley area, including the Knowsley Chamber of Commerce and the Kirkby Unemployed Centre.

Presently products are sourced from the UK but Louise has long term plans to go further afield in the future to the likes of Hong Kong and India where she will be able to import in larger quantities.

“I have big plans for the business” added Louise “and I really think we can make it a success. As part of my job at the solicitors I run the business side of things, so it is really nice to be able to use my business skills for this new exciting project.

“I decided to set up my own business for a number of reasons but definitely one of the main factors was for my daughter. I have only got one child and as a mum, it’s important to me to be able to help my daughter where ever I can and if that means I can create her a job, then that’s all the better.”

Louise’s daughter Jessica Hill added: “I am really pleased that mum has set the business up and I enjoy working on it with her. I am hoping in the future as I get older, that I can take on more of an active role. Being in business at such a young age is a very exciting opportunity for me and I think other mums and daughters should think about doing the same thing.“

Once Louise had decided to start up the business she came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received free help and advice under the business start-up programme.

She said: “I first heard about The Women’s Organisation through Knowsley Chamber of Commerce – and through another woman who had been supported by the organisation to start up her business as well.”

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

She added: “I really found The Women’s Organisation to be very useful. Although I am extremely business minded myself I am quite happy to take on any advice that people have got.”

If you would like to find out more about Jessies Jewels please visit the website at or email

And, if like Louise you are a woman who is interested in starting up your own business please call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or email Alternatively visit the website at

FSB report calls for more women entrepreneurs

THE Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) has released a report addressing the shortage of female entrepreneurs and makes recommendations that the Government and European Union should adopt to tackle this.

In the report “Women in Business; Female Entrepreneurship Creating Growth and Dispelling the Myths” the FSB has put forward key areas where the Government must act decisively in 2011 to identify an agenda for stability and growth to enable small businesses to lead the economy.

Some of the key recommendations included in the report are;

• The Government needs to undertake a thorough analysis of women’s access to finance

• Better promotion for women on the different types of finance that are available and the reality of risks involved

• The Government needs to better promote and simplify the application process of the women-only business funding scheme, ASPIRE

• The Government should promote women-specific network events that bring together women entrepreneurs and those willing to invest in businesses. A key part of these events should involve an honest discussion about the risks and benefits of alternative sources of finance

• To complement networking events the Government should support development and training events for women entrepreneurs to provide information on funding possibilities and steps needed to become eligible for loans and investments. It is important that this training and support is provided early on in the life cycle of the firm to allow for greater possibilities for growth

To read the full report and to find out what other recommendations have been put forward please click here

Big Society - Join the Big Debate

JOIN the debate on the Government’s ‘Big Society’ by coming along and having your say as part of the Writing on the Wall festival.

The event, which is set to take place on Tuesday May 17 from 7.00pm until 9.00pm at The Women’s Organisation, at 54 St James Street will see a panel of writers, activists, commentators and practitioners join together to try and answer the big questions about the Big Society.

Featuring: Broadcaster and Journalist, Darcus Howe, Writer and Commentator, Dan Hind, Founder of The Women’s Organisation (formerly Train 2000), Maggie O’Carroll and founder of Croxteth Communiversity, Phil Knibb.

Liverpool, a city that seems awash with entrepreneurs and community-based volunteer projects, rejects the Big Society initiative.

Should we reject the Big Society outright, or is there something there for us all? – come along and volunteer your voice in the Big Debate.

For more information on Writing on the Wall visit

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

Bring your own laptop and join JellyLiverpool

IF you work from home and would like to mingle with other likeminded people then why not join JellyLiverpool – a FREE monthly work-together held in a city centre location.

No matter what you do or what you create you’re welcome to come along to Jelly!
Jelly is a great way to put faces to those you follow on Twitter and more importantly it’s free….free wifi, free desk space and free coffee.

All you need to do is bring your own laptop and you can pop in for a couple of hours or even stay for the day.

JellyLiverpool is for you if you…..
- work from home & get “cabin fever” ?
- search out coffee shops with wifi & power?
- wish that “working for yourself” didn’t mean “working by yourself”?
- are desperate for a change of scene ?
- want to expand your network & contacts ?
- want to seek out some inspiration & motivation?

If the answer to any of these questions is YES; then JellyLiverpool could be what you need!

Jelly meetings are held on the first Thursday of every month and members range from developers and internet users, through to entrepreneurs and freelancers as well as writers, artists and designers – so it’s a real mixed group.

To find out more including the venue for the next work-together visit

Monday, March 14, 2011

Maggie O'Carroll Appointed Chair of KHT

Knowsley Housing Trust (KHT) have announced the appointment of Maggie O'Carroll as new Chair of the KHT Services Board.

Maggie, who will continue to serve as the Chief Executive Officer of The Women’s Organisation Ltd., will bring her significant experience in commercial enterprise to the role. Maggie is the founder of the award winning social enterprise 'The Women's Organisation', which is now the largest women’s economic development agency in the UK.

She is a leader in the field of women’s enterprise and a key contributor to the policy agenda. She has been actively involved in women’s enterprise research and influencing economic development and social inclusion policy on an international, national and regional basis. She is a Business Studies graduate with a Masters in community enterprise from Cambridge University. She is currently undertaking research for a PHD in female entrepreneurship and education at Liverpool John Moore’s University, where she also lectures part time.

The Women's Organisation have been offering gender tailored services to women in the borough of Knowsley for many years, and are delighted to continue to serve the region through this new role for Maggie.

For the official announcement on KHT's website please click here

For more information on the support The Women's Organisation can offer please visit

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Join the new Liverpool Women's Network

WOMEN are being invited to join a brand new network being launched in Liverpool this week.

The 'Liverpool Women's Network', which is being organised by Liverpool CVS in conjunction with The Women's Organisation, will provide an excellent opportunity for women to join together, network and find out about ongoing campaigns.

The launch event is set to take place on Wednesday March 16 from 9.30am until 1.00pm at The Women's Organisation's brand new centre at 54 St James Street.

The network is completely FREE to join and lunch will be provided on the day.

- Each year, around 30,000 women in the UK lose their jobs because they are pregnant.

- Three million women in Britain experience rape, domestic violence, stalking or other violence annually.

- 50% of women compared to 25% of men are affected by depression at some point in their lives.

To tackle issues like these and much more, avoid disappointment and book your place NOW. To book please email or call 0151 227 5177. For a full terms of reference and a membership form please ask Rachael when you book.

We will look forward to seeing you there!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Celebratory breakfast for International Women's Day

FIFTY women from across Liverpool joined together to mark International Women's Day with a special celebratory breakfast.

And, after breakfast and an opportunity to network and chat the women, who were all members of The Women's Organisation's Women's Circles, were joined by Everton and England's female goalkeeper, Rachel Brown, who talked to them about her experiences; giving an inspirational insight into what she has achieved. She also spoke about the gender inequalities within the sporting world.

Then it was time for the women to get to work when they were given 'real power' for the morning. Working in small groups they took on a number of roles including the President of the US, Secretary General of the UN and the Chancellor of the Exchequer – and made important decisions about what they would do as women in power. All the roles they assumed were positions that women have never previously held.

Lin Hankinson, Women's Involvement Coordinator for The Women's Organisation, said: “This event was a fabulous way to start International Women's Day. Fifty women came along, all from different backgrounds and with very different experiences to share.

“Everyone got into the spirit of the day and came up with some fantastic ideas on what decisions they would make as women in power.”

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Special event celebrates 100 years of International Women's Day

'TRULY inspirational' is how one woman described a special Meet the Experts event held yesterday (March 8) to celebrate 100 years of International Women's Day.

The event, which took place at The Women's Organisation's brand new St James Street Centre was attended by more than 100 women and throughout the afternoon they were given the opportunity to attend a selection of master classes delivered by leading female entrepreneurs from the business, education and corporate sectors.

Welcoming everyone to the event and to the new building, The Women's Organisation's Chief Executive Officer Maggie O'Carroll, said: “International Women's Day is an opportunity for us to celebrate what we have all achieved as women; it's not a time to focus on the negatives, but is a time to look at all of the positives and to see how as a community we can help and support one another.”

And, in her opening speech Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson, former vice president on the board of international fashion business Mexx and founder of her own company Just for People Ltd, thanked The Women's Organisation for hosting the event. She said: “It is wonderful to be here today in this fantastic new building, it really shows just what can be achieved. There is no better place in the country for having this event today.”

Claire Lara, first female winner of ‘Masterchef’, ‘The Professionals’ also took centre stage at the event to talk about her experiences and to answer questions from the women who attended. In an emotional interview she talked about her career, falling in love and becoming pregnant.

Speaking at the event she said: “It is not easy for a woman in the kitchen, I always thought I couldn't do it and in the end this only made me more determined to succeed. It is really important to focus on what you can do and not what you can't do.”

And, following her Masterchef win Claire is set to open her very own restaurant this August.

Masterclasses throughout the day were run by
·         Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson, former vice president on the board of international fashion business Mexx and founder of her own company Just for People Ltd
·          Ellie Kerr, founder of the Women in Business Network on Merseyside
·          Molly Harvey, founder of Corporate Soul Woman
·         Victoria Brown, managing director of High Performance Consultancy
·         Maggie Mullan, partner at Austin-Smith Lord (ASL)
·         Katherine Corich, founding director of the Sysdoc Group

Businesswoman Mia Evans, who has set up her own counselling business Calma, attended the event. She said: “I have really enjoyed today and it has been truly inspirational. The masterclasses were fantastic and I was really moved by Clare Lara earlier; it was very difficult to listen to her talk without getting emotional. Today has been the perfect way to celebrate International Women's Day.”

Businesswoman Lin King added: “I have very much enjoyed today's event and I have met a lot of people who will be able to help with my business. It has been very informative and a good opportunity to talk to other women and share ideas and experiences.”

A celebratory breakfast and coffee mornings were held throughout Merseyside offering drop-in sessions for women to come along and talk about starting up their own business.

In the evening a drinks reception took place at Liverpool Town Hall to celebrate the day.

All events were organised by The Women's Organisation in conjunction with Liverpool Vision and Liverpool City Council.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sefton businesswomen launch new range of natural skincare products

BETWEEN them friends and business partners Angela Profit and Lynn Smith have almost 120 years of life experience – which they are now putting to good use through their brand new business venture, making natural skincare products.

“We decided to set up our own business ‘O’Naturelle’ some months ago” said Angela, “Because we knew that many of the skincare products on the market were overpriced and had ingredients with a questionable history. It has taken a lot of hard work and research to set up, but we have finally got there – and now we produce our own range of natural creams and lotions with essential oils such as frankincense, rose and other organic ingredients.

“There is so much that goes in to what we do. For months Lynn has been undertaking research on the ingredients that are used in our products and everything we produce has to be certified by a chemist, so it is a very lengthy process that is involved, for each product to reach our high standard.”

Through O’Naturelle Angela and Lynn, who first became friends whilst walking their dogs, sell a range of natural products including lip balms, oils, creams, gels, moisturisers, cleansers and lotions which are currently available at crafts fairs and markets throughout the area and via their website.

Angela and Lynn decided to start up the business when they were both looking for a new challenge in their lives.

“I wanted to do something different” added Angela, “who had previously worked as a holistic therapist, “And Lynn had been working as a building surveyor but was struggling due to the dwindling property market, so we decided to join forces and work on a new venture together.”

Prior to launching the business Angela and Lynn came along to The Women’s Organisation where they received free help and advice. They worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser who helped them put together their business plan and were given the opportunity to attend a number of business-related workshops.

Lynn said: “We found out about The Women’s Organisation through Sefton Invest – and we’re so glad that we did! The help we received was fantastic and the courses we attended were very good too.

“Although I had previously been self-employed The Women’s Organisation was still very beneficial, because there is always something new you can learn.”

Lynn and Angela, who are both mums to their grown-up children, are looking to develop their product range further in the future and are hoping to get their products into retail outlets throughout the area as well as attending markets and fairs every month.

“There is continuous work to be put in” added Lynn, “every time we decide on developing a new product there is just so much research to do and then there is the whole process of making and packaging it. It is both challenging and enjoyable work.”

Angela added: “I can honestly say that I am thoroughly enjoying what I do.”
Anyone who is interested in finding out more about the range of products available through O’Naturelle should visit or should call Angela or Lynn on 07903 033 044 or 07944 553 591.

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

Gender equality is 'unfinished business'

TODAY might be the 100th anniversary of International Women’s Day – but barriers still remain for women trying to gain high level positions in the public and private sectors.

Ten EU countries have over 27% of women in the lower house of parliament, according to EU data, led by Sweden with 45%. But the majority have below 23% and two countries have less than 10% of women members.

The European Parliament scores slightly better. 35% its MEPs are female, and 60% of its officials are women, many of whom are policy experts. 40% of MEPs have high-ranking positions as committee chairs or vice-presidents. But men are still overrepresented among presidents of political groups.

The situation is even more disappointing in governments and the private sector, where only 3% of companies are chaired by a woman, according to a 2010 report on equality between women and men in the EU, which is currently going through the European Parliament.

To read the full article please click here

Government called to increase numbers of female entrepreneurs

THE Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) is calling on the Government to increase the numbers of female entrepreneurs in a bid to grow the economy.

The FSB is concerned that women-owned businesses only make up 29 per cent of self-employed people in the UK, despite 46 per cent of the working population being female.

In a new report – ‘Women in business. Female entrepreneurship: creating growth and dispelling the myths’ – the FSB is calling on the government to learn from the US and other EU countries to encourage female entrepreneurship by breaking down the barriers to self-employment, promoting alternative sources of financing, encouraging mentoring, and promoting female entrepreneurship role models.

John Walker, national chairman for the FSB, said: "The number of female entrepreneurs is strikingly low, and yet increasing the number of women who run their own small business will be good for the economy.

"The US has nurtured female entrepreneurship and now the UK needs to learn from them and do the same. By doing so it will help tackle high unemployment and cultivate an environment for growth."

To read more please click here

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Women's Organisation featured in Liverpool Daily Post

BUSINESSWOMEN in Merseyside can “Meet the Experts” next Tuesday, at an event to mark 100 Years of International Women’s Day.

The Women’s Organisation, in partnership with Liverpool council and Liverpool Vision, has invited leading women from business, education and the corporate community for the event at WICED – The Women’s Centre for Economic Development, on Liverpool’s St James Street, where guests can quiz leading female entrepreneurs.

To book a free place at the networking event, please call 0151-236 6601 or email

To view the article on the Liverpool Daily Post website please click here.

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

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Liverpool graduate gets creative with new business Keerako

WHEN university graduate Kira Courtney completed her degree the idea of having to move away from Liverpool to gain employment was not something she could comprehend – so instead she decided to start up her own business.

Now, 23-year-old Kira runs Keerako – producing a range of creative, hand crafted costume jewellery.

“I did my degree in textiles and fashion at Liverpool John Moores University” said Kira, “I am a real home person, so moving away straight after university to somewhere like London to find a job, was just not an option for me.

“But, the textiles and fashion industry is very competitive and there aren’t many jobs around at the moment – I didn’t want to end up stuck in a job where I couldn’t use my creativity either, so I took the only option that was really open to me – and that was to start up my own business. And now, I am so glad that I did.”

Kira sells her wide range of made to measure jewellery from her website and started off by advertising on her facebook page and already orders are coming in fast.

She added: “Initially I planned on setting up an interior company, then I started making costume jewellery for friends and I realised it was fast and easy to do and was proving to be very popular; so I decided to go with the jewellery making instead.”

Although Kira’s designs are aimed primarily at the younger end of the market she sells her products to women of all ages – and business is gathering momentum all the time. At the moment Kira supplies her jewellery mainly in Liverpool but orders are increasing around the rest of the UK.

She said: “Most of my colleagues from degree course are in jobs that aren’t related to textiles or fashion – so I am so lucky to be doing something I truly love and that allows me to use my creativity.

“I really enjoy being self-employed and I couldn’t imagine having to work for somebody else now.”

Whilst starting up her business Kira came along to The Women’s Organisation where she received help and advice under the business start-up programme. She worked on a one-to-one basis with her business adviser who helped put her business plan together.

She said: “My adviser Francine was brilliant and she really helped me along the way, I learnt so much from putting a business plan together.

“And, I went on a number of courses which were really useful; particularly the tax and national insurance and bookkeeping courses – I literally came home from the courses unable to believe just how much I had learnt.”

To view Kira’s wide range of hand-made jewellery visit her website at
And, if like Kira you are a woman who is interested in starting up a business call The Women’s Organisation on 0151 236 6601 or email Alternatively visit

Do you need cash for your business idea?

IF you've got a great business idea - but need some serious cash investment to help you along the way then why not apply for BBC's popular TV programme Dragons' Den.

Dragons' Den gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch their proposals to a panel of the UK's most successful business people.

Panel members have pledged to invest their own money in the best business ideas.

If you are an entrepreneur with a fantastic business idea or product that is investment-ready then Dragons' Den wants to hear from you.

For an application form email or visit

UN Women’s Commission – focus on education

THE IMPORTANCE of education in raising the status of women in society and a greater investment in measures to ensure gender equality were called for by Asha-Rose Migiro, the Deputy Secretary General – at the annual session of the UN Women’s Commission.

“Investing in women and girls is a force multiplier” she told the opening of the two-week session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women at UN Headquarters, “not only is education a key driver of economic growth, it is also a catalyst for empowering women.”

The Deputy Secretary General also pointed out that global commitments to achieving universal primary education and gender parity, at all levels of education, have had a beneficial impact on girls’ school enrolment and retention rates in many countries, but the quality of education has not kept pace, particularly in the developing world.

“Many children leave school without basic literacy and numeracy skills. Girls and women are under-represented in science and technology, education and employment. They are simply not getting the knowledge and skills they need for today’s competitive and changing job market,“ she added.

The priority theme of the Commission’s session this year is “Access and participation of women and girls in education, training and, science and technology.”

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

Join us and celebrate International Women's Day

Liverpool Vision, in partnership with The Women's Organisation and Liverpool City Council, invite you to an evening drinks reception at Liverpool Town Hall to celebrate the centenary of International Women’s Day on 8th March.

Our event will be attended by the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Councillor Hazel Williams, who will mark women’s achievements and contribution to city life.
This year's theme is 'Equal access to education, training and science and technology - Pathway to decent work for women.'

• Date: 8th March 2011
• Time: 19:00 – 21:00
• Venue: Liverpool Town Hall

To reserve a place please email

Places are allocated on a first come first served basis. A light buffet will also be provided.

For more information on International Women’s Day visit