Thursday, February 21, 2013

Chair of The Women's Organisation Has Award Worthy Business

Chair of the board at The Women's Organisation, Pat Shea Halson, is leading by example having developed a new Community Interest Company that is already gaining award recognition.

'Keys To Empowerment' is a Community Interest Company & Social Enterprise Pat and fellow director Vicci Innes set up last year as a sister company to her former business 'The Centre For Personal Development'. 'Keys to empowerment' work in communities delievering free, life changing courses, on personal development. They were delighted to learn that they have been nominated for 3 of the Noth West Social Enterprise of Excellece Awards.
These prestigious awards recognise the hard work of the North West Social Enterprises, and Pat said "we feel so very honoured to be nonimated".
The awards they are up for include:
  • Vicci Innes nominated for the Employee of The Year Award in her role of Director of Keys To Empowerment.
  • Keys To Empowerment, has been nominated for the Small Social Enterprise of The Year.
  • Pat Shea-Halson has been nominated for Social Entrepreneur of The Year 
The Awards Ceremony is being held in Blackpool at the Hilton Hotel on Friday 22nd February 2013.
Pat said "It is such an honour to be nominated for these awards, and we have been so delighted with the impact our work has had, within the communites, that we continue to work with.
We have had lots of help from the Women's Organisation, and have enjoyed attending the courses that have been run at the Women's Organisation.
A big thank you to everyone, at the Women's Organisation, for helping and supporting us, to start up this amazing, successful, life changing business.
If you are thinking of doing a course, at the Women's Organisation, join now, and get the help and support you deserve!"
We wish Pat & Vicci all the best for the awards and look forward to being a part of their continued success.

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Women's Organisation Working with LMH

The Women’s Organisation have teamed up with Liverpool Mutual Homes to hi-light support available to local women to help realise their goals and achieve their true potential. Whatever stage you are at in considering your options there is FREE support on offer including advice, training and grants!

‘Become a More Confident You’
This interactive Personal Development course is focused on building confidence and self-esteem and creating a more positive outlook for you to make a positive plan for your future. By the end of this course, you will have identified what qualities and capabilities you have and be more confident in deciding where your future lies This course is offered regularly at community venues near your so contact us on 0151 706 8111 for further details or booking.

Discover ‘How to Get the Job You Want’ & Get £50!

Our interactive course held across two mornings focuses on how to sell yourself at application and interview. It will explore:
• How to identify your skills, abilities and qualities
• How to build a personal profile based on them
• Understanding how the job application process works
• How to market yourself to potential employers
• How to plan and prepare for interviews
• How to respond to possible interview questions Please contact our team for dates, times and further details on 0151 706 8111 or

Create Your Own Job – Set up a Small Business & Get £200
And if you decide that you would like to use your skills and ideas to develop your own business then a full package of FREE business support is available to you. Including:

Business Advice - One to one appointments available at various venues across Liverpool to meet with a qualified business adviser who can support you to:
* Understand your business needs and agree a plan of action
* Provide accurate, relevant and up to date information
* Produce a comprehensive business plan that you really understand
* Identify available business grants and loans and help you to apply for them.

Training to help you to develop your business idea including:
* Planning for Success - Open to women with a clear business idea this 2 day course covers all the basics of business planning, helping you to gain the skills to successfully build a business plan and cashflow forecast and to plan your marketing strategy.
* Book Keeping Made Easy - This lively and interactive half-day session will enhances your book keeping skills. Through simple techniques you will learn how to manage their business finances.
* Understanding Tax & National Insurance - Informative ½ day session with HMRC on Tax and National Insurance contributions for self-employment
* Promoting Your Business Online – This informative ½ day course provides a great overview of different marketing techniques that can be used to promote your business online. Looking at different social media tools and time saving techniques, this course will help you to market your business in a cost effective and time efficient way.

Grants – Apply for The Women’s Organisation’s £200 Grant along with other sources of finance available in your local area with support from our team.
If you would like to take advantage of any of this free support available to women in your area, please contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or or speak to your local Liverpool Mutual Homes office about this support.

The Women’s Organisation can also be found on Twitter as @TheWomensOrg, ‘liked’ on facebook at

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

@Movema Join 1Billion to RISE & DANCE to End Violence Against Women & Girls

On 14th Feb one billion people across the world will RISE and DANCE to end violence against women and girls!

In Liverpool City Centre, Movema will be holding an open Zumba and World Dance class full of upbeat songs and dance routines celebrating women around the world.
The invitation goes out to all women and men in the region who want to DANCE and RISE with Movema.
You don't need any experience, just wear workout clothes (campaign colours are RED and BLACK), bring a bottle of water and be part of the movement!
Visit this facebook page to find out more:

Big Enterprise Event 28th February

The Women's Organisation will be at the Big Enterprise Event this month. Will you?

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Based in Wirral and Considering Self-Employment?

Enterprise Support Agency 'The Women's Organisation' have £200 grants and support available for women setting up a new business, and this month they are running a series of events in Wirral to let local women know.

They invite women to come and meet our staff for an informal chat on the FREE support The Women’s Organisation can offer new businesses at our DROP IN SESSIONS available across WIRRAL

At: HOYLAKE – Blue Anchor, Market Street, Hoylakle, Wirral, CH47 3BE
On: Friday 22nd February 11.00am-12.00pm

At: BROMBOROUGH - Gayle’s Yummy Cakes & Tea Rooms, 27 Allport Lane Precinct, Bromborough, CH62 7HH
On: Friday 22nd February 2.00pm-3.30pm

At: PRENTON – Prenton Library, Dickens Ave, Prenton Wirral CH43 0TQ
On: Monday 25th February 2.30pm-4.30pm

There is no need to book, just pop in! If you are unable to make these sessions you can book a personal business advice appointment with us at venues across Sefton Contact or call 0151 706 8111.

Based in Sefton and Considering Self-Employment?

Enterprise Support Agency 'The Women's Organisation' have £200 grants and support available for women setting up a new business, and this month they are running a series of events in Sefton to let local women know.

They invite women to come and meet our staff for an informal chat on the FREE support The Women’s Organisation can offer new businesses at our DROP IN SESSIONS available across SEFTON

At: FORMBY – Formby Library, Duke Street, Formby L37 4AN
On: Monday 18th February 2.00pm-3.30pm

At: SOUTHPORT – Ainsdale Library, Liverpool Road, PR8 3NE
On: Friday 22nd February 10.00am-11.30am

At: MAGHULL Café Mocha, 43 Liverpool Rd South, L31 7BN
On: Wednesday 20th February 10.00am – 1.00pm

There is no need to book, just pop in! If you are unable to make these sessions you can book a personal business advice appointment with us at venues across Sefton Contact or call 0151 706 8111.

Also on offer is a FREE 'Buying and Selling on Ebay' course on Tuesday 12th March at L30 Community Centre (Grange School), Stoneyfield, Netherton.

Open to any women who want to gather handy hints on how to grab bargains, how to get the best price for items you are selling , as well as information on how you could use eBay to start a small business from home. Call 0151 706 8111 to book your FREE place.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Celebration of Female Enterprise at Inaugural Business Awards

A celebration of female enterprise will take place in Liverpool in March when The Women’s Organisation holds its inaugural ‘Women in Business’ awards.

The awards ceremony, being held with Downtown Liverpool in Business, takes place at the Hilton Hotel on Friday, March 8th – International Women’s Day.

With 11 awards up for grabs, a shortlist has been drawn up and an online poll is now open enabling people to vote for their winning choice.

The awards will recognise the outstanding achievements of female entrepreneurs and female-led business with categories including ‘Best New Start Up,’ ‘Young Entrepreneur of the Year,’ ‘Female Leader’ and ‘Professional of the Year.’

“We are really excited about these inaugural awards and hope that people in the region will get involved by voting in our online poll,” said Maggie O’Carroll, chief executive of The Women’s Organisation.

“There are many successful businesswomen setting up and growing their businesses in the region and it is about time we recognised this vibrancy which will ultimately help to ensure the economic prosperity of Merseyside.”

The Women’s Organisation is an innovative social enterprise that provides quality enterprise and employment services and influence policy in order to improve the economic position of women.

Based at the £5.3m women’s international centre for economic development, in the Baltic Triangle area of the city, a range of services are provided that focus on women’s start-up businesses and small and medium-sized enterprises.

As well as an international research and knowledge centre, the building also provides ‘incubation’ units for new and high growth women enterprises. The units are proving popular with more and more female entrepreneurs choosing to run their businesses from the centre.

The building also provides a ‘hub’ for self employed women enabling them to use the facilities for just a day or two a week, but still benefiting from all that the centre has to offer including networking opportunities and access to funding advice. It is also an increasingly popular venue for conferences and other events.

To find out more about the free services available from The Women’s Organisation, including advice and support on starting a business, call 0151 706 8111 or visit

To vote in the ‘Women in Business’ awards please access Votes will count towards 50% of the overall vote, with the remaining votes given to the judging panel. Online voting closes on 15th February!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

'Successful Networking' with Business Club This Month

The Women's Organisation Business Club invite you to: 'Successful Networking'

ON:Thursday 21st February, 6pm-8.30pm

AT: The Women's Organisation, 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

Do you network with a purpose?

Do you understand which networks will work for you?

Have you secrured strong and useful business connections from networking?

The Women's Organisation have teamed up with Networking Mums to offer this useful networking evening. Come and practice different ways to network while gathering helpful hints on making the most of networking opprotunities from Zoe Humphries, Founder of Networking Mums, and The Women's Organisation.

Bring plenty of business cards!

Open to members of The Women's Organisation Business Club for a small cost of £10.

Book online through eventbrite and pay via paypal, or book a provisional place and select to pay on the door.

If you are a woman running a business in the north west of England and would like to attend, but are not yet a member of business club - contact our team on 0151 706 8111 or to find out how to take up a FREE membership.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Women in Business Awards Voting Deadline Approaching!!!

If you have been keeping up with our posts about 'Women in Business Awards 2013' you should be aware VOTING CLOSES ON FRIDAY 15TH FEBRUARY 2013!!!

Check the list below and if you or someone you would love to see get some recognition is on the shortlist - get voting and promoting! Votes can be cast online here.

Best New Start up

The Pink Plasterer

Laura’s Little Bakery

Sleep In Rollers

All Things Vintage

Little Atom Productions

Black Frost

Professional of the Year

Anna-Louise Gilhooley - Rejuvenate

Hilene Henry – Wilson Henry LLP

Maria Fraughan – Natwest

Helen Rehm & Emma McConlough – RMC Accountancy

Denise Walker – Brabners Chaffe Street

Lucy Brady – High Performance Consultancy

Best Marketer Award

Anna Heyes – Active Profile

Geniene Reese – Prominent Profile

Carolyn Hughes - CHPR

Emma Parker Goff – Artemis Media Profile

Emma Dolan – Your Business Ezine

Denise Harris – SK Events

Young Entrepreneur of the Year

Ellie Phillips – Liverpool Music Awards

Kayleigh Baccino & Talia Baccino - Trendyvend

Jen Corrigan – Fierce Management

Natalie Haywood – LEAF

Emma Hill – His & Hers Magazine

Victoria Brown – High Performance Consultancy

A Decade of excellence in Business

Mary Austin – After Thought

Janet Wiggings – Aigburth Psysio

Karen Caffrey – Home Carers

Maura O’Donnell – Vita Flow

Sharon Hilditch – Crystal Clear

Female Leader

Elaine Bowker – Liverpool Community College

Elaine Clarke – Baa Bar

Jeanette Kehoe-Perkinson – Just For People

Jane Kennedy – Merseyside Police Commissioner

Bernie Cuthel – Liverpool Community Health

Award for Outstanding Leadership & Management

Catherine Beardshaw – Aintree University Hospital Trust

Claire McColgan – Culture Liverpool

Karen Caffrey – Home Carers

Claire Dunne - Archive Solutions

Stephanie Cannell- Corcoran - Indigo Hotel

Nicola Woods – Urban Calm

Lesley Douglas – Lime Pictures

Social Enterprise of the Year

Writing on the Wall

Social Enterprise North West

Proud of Liverpool

Merseyside Dance Initiative

South Liverpool CAB

Business of the Year

SK Events

Crystal Clear

Home Carers

Baa Bar

High Performance Consultancy

Entrepreneur of the Year

Maura O’Donnell – Vitaflo International

Elaine Cunningham – Elaine Cunningham Interiors

Sandra Kirkham – NVQ Training & Consultancy Services

Jacklyn Grimes – Sterling Care & Support, Green Frog Consultancy

Candice Fonseca – Deli Fonseca

Property Professional of the Year

Fiona Barnet – Your Move Magazine

Chrissi McCarthy – Constructing Equality

Maggi Howard – Liverpool Mutual Homes

Collette Morton & Collette Darcy – Property Collateral

Helen Griffin Booth – Blue Row Properties

If you would like to attend the event bookings are open online.

Deadline Extended for Vacancies with The Women's Organisation!!!

The deadline for the advertised vacancy of 'Enterprise Enablers and Business Growth Facilitators' with The Women's Organisation has been extended! Please find details of the vacancy below. A full application pack can be downloaded from our website.

'Enterprise Enablers and Business Growth Facilitators'

£ 27,000 – £33,000 per annum (depending on experience and role offered). Associate arrangements also welcome

The Women’s Organisation is an innovative, social enterprise that provides quality enterprise and employment services and influences policy in order to improve the economic position of women.

We are pleased to be expanding our team and are seeking to recruit experienced Enterprise Enablers and Business Growth Facilitators to support the high quality delivery of women’s economic development services through the Merseyside and Greater Manchester areas.

If you are experienced in supporting the start-up of new enterprises or the growth of ambitious existing businesses; in private or social enterprise sectors and would like to work with an award winning women’s economic development organisation please contact go to for an application pack.

Completed application should be returned FAO Lisa Sayonas, The Women’s Organisation, 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB

Closing date for receipt of applications is 12 noon, Friday 8th February 2013. Interviews for short listed applicants will be held week commencing 18th February 2013.

The Women’s Organisation is an equal opportunities employer, and we welcome applications from all sections of the community particularly disabled women and women from black and minority ethnic communities.

This post is part funded by ESF/ERDF.

Liverpool's Sue Turned Her Idea into a Job for Her & Six Others!

Have you ever worked somewhere that made you think “I could run this company better”? For Liverpool resident Sue Crawford this was the start of her journey to setting up her own business.

Sue told us “I was doing all the work and having to share the benefits with other people. I knew I could do it better and earn more for myself if I was in charge.”

Having stepped back from previous role to give her chance to look at her options and start again Sue needed to make some decisions quickly. The opportunity was there to pick up local cleaning contracts where she already had connections, but Sue needed advice before taking the leap. She found out she could get some free advice and support from local enterprise support agency The Women’s Organisation, so gave them a call.

“I had an idea and people were saying to me ‘why don’t you just do it’, but I wasn’t sure if it was the right decision, or if I should look at other options” said Sue. “I remember one of the workshops at The Women’s Organisation, something that was said had everyone sat there thinking “Oh gosh that is me”. It was when we started chatting about women who have so much going on that they put off things they want to do until tomorrow. Coming to the workshop gave me courage to go out on my own.”

Sue was linked with a business adviser to put together a business plan to help her carefully weigh up her idea. She also turned to her family for support.

“My daughter has done a foundation A-level in art so she has done a logo for me and the other daughter has got it on the computer for me. I wanted my family to be involved so it’s great they were willing to help. They laugh though, of all the jobs that I’ve had they find it funny that I chose to run a cleaning business. They think I am fanatical about cleaning.”

In starting her business Sue needed to take on a full team to ensure she could meet the demands of the contracts she was negotiating so worked quickly to secure six part time staff and is taking on two more this year. This took a lot of courage, Sue knew where her strengths and weaknesses lay.

“My background is telesales, so that side of the business, marketing, admin and wages I wasn’t worried about. I had to learn quickly about the operations of a business and the financial side managing cash flow was new.”

Sue is loving being her own boss. “The best thing about running my business is having full control. I just want to enjoy working and doing a good job. It’s all about giving good customer service and getting customer satisfaction. If I can achieve that it’s the icing on the cake. It’s hard in this day and age to find a full time job, let alone one that gives you job satisfaction. I have a good bunch of cleaners, and it’s great to have them work for my company. I feel pretty good about how things are going so far. I haven’t really had proper time to reflect. From my point of view my background is phoning to go out and get another contract. As good as the contracts are I already have, I look forward to going out and prospecting again.”

Sue’s business Aquarius Facilities Solutions Ltd. offers commercial cleaning services. To find out more about her business you can visit or contact Sue via

If you would like to take advantage of the free advice and support from The Women’s Organisation then contact 0151 706 8111 or email

Sue’s advice: “If you are out there thinking about doing what I have done and set up a business I would say go to The Women’s Organisation, go on the workshops. It’s invaluable! When you are on your own it’s quite frightening. Having someone on your side, and meeting the other women is just great.”

Wendy Learned How to 'Become Your Own Bi-Polar Life Coach' & a Successful Business Woman

“People are afraid of mental illness” says Sefton resident Wendy Lavin, but for her dealing with bi-polar has been a challenge she has faced head on, drawing strength from her own experiences in the path to setting up her own business and becoming a published author.

Ambitious Wendy studied coaching gaining a distinction from Oxford College and was recognised by the Complimentary Medical Association. She wanted to build on this achievement to carve a career for herself.

Wendy was well aware of the battles she would face on the way to success. “I have Bipolar Disorder which has had a significant impact on my life and my career. I have to ensure that I manage it well to avoid episodes of ill health as these can be devastating. This involves a lot of discipline and sacrifice.”

She was determined to utilise her own experiences to support others struggling with mental health issues, and wanted to get it right. “I had come across other coaches and wanted to offer something beyond motivational quotes and inspirational talks.”

Upon learning that local women’s enterprise support agency ‘The Women’s Organisation’ offered free advice, Wendy contacted them to make an appointment.

“The actual practicalities of going self-employed were what worried me, and so when I found out about The Women’s Organisation it was a godsend. My adviser there was great and gave honest and accurate advice. I was also enrolled on free courses in finance and sales/marketing. These courses gave me more confidence and answered the many questions I had. They also gave me the chance to meet other women facing similar challenges.”

Looking back Wendy can see how others have viewed her mental illness as something that would stand in her way.

“The main impact on my business and my career to date has probably been stigma” said Wendy. “People are afraid of mental illness and also some have passed judgement on whether I would be a success or should be coaching others. However once people meet me and work with me I think this changes. My way of tackling stigma is not to be a victim but to be a role model, a trailblazer and to work harder. I undertake service user work with the NHS and am starting to become involved in work to improve mental health services. I am also an activist member of the mental health charity Rethink and this has involved me in a number of things, most recently volunteering at the Time To Change Village in Liverpool on World Mental Health Day.”

Wendy took everything she had learned from her career, her studies and her own life experiences and channelled it all into her book ‘Become Your Own Bi-Polar Life Coach’. “Holding my book in my hand for the first time was one of the best feelings I have ever had! Seeing my business and myself grow as an individual and entrepreneur has been beyond words. I feel proud and grateful. The more I achieve the more I am motivated to do. So rather than let it get me down or defeat me I have turned my experiences of mental illness into an opportunity and the chance to be a role model and to challenge stigma in a positive way. I hope I am a role model to others with this diagnosis. My book talks about my experiences and all that I have learned in coming to terms with and successfully managing my condition.”

Offering support beyond her book was important to Wendy, so she set up ‘Lavin Coaching Associates’ to be able to offer well rounded support. “One of the services I offer is mental wellbeing coaching, working with individuals to support improvements to their mental wellbeing and outlook whether they have a diagnosis or not. Like physical health we ALL have mental health. I also work with businesses to support mental wellbeing policy and procedure and to support the reduction of workplace stress and anxiety. Happier workplaces are more productive and higher performing!”

Self-employment is working well for Wendy and she knows she has made the right decision. She said:

“What do I love about running my own business? There are too many things to name. I am free to make my own decisions and run my business how I see fit. The hours are more flexible and I am reconnecting with myself. It has been a real challenge and requires hard work but is also incredibly empowering. The best reward is supporting people to make meaningful changes. Seeing a client have a breakthrough or working with an organisation to improve their psychological contract with staff in interesting and rewarding. I recently received some good feedback and reviews about my book but one thing that touched me was that a reader said it had made a real difference to their life with Bipolar – I could not ask for more.”

Wendy’s infectious positivity is keeping her business moving forward and she is excited to see what the future holds! “I am looking forward to the future and cannot wait to see what lies ahead. Many people find the unknown scary but as a professional coach I know that the unknown is just another opportunity to learn, grow and develop.”

If like Wendy you would like to build on your biggest challenge and turn it into your greatest success, contact The Women’s Organisation today for some free advice and support via 0151 706 8111 or

Wendy’s book can be purchased from Amazon. You can follow Wendy’s positive tips via her blog posts at and Wendy can be contacted for coaching or consultancy via