Thursday, March 28, 2013

FREE Legal & Excel Organisation Surgeries for Businesses 10th April

As part of our 'We Mentor' project, supporting women entrepreneurs to business growth through mentoring - The Women's Organisation in partnership with McEntegart Legal and ExcelAce are offering a unique opportunity to women in business needing expert help. 

On Wednesday 10th April we will be running specialist business surgeries to help existing women-led businesses to tackle legal issues and get organised using excel.  Half hour slots will be available with our experts Francis and Traci. 

About our surgeries:

Liverpool law practice, McEntegart Legal Ltd will be holding a free legal surgery on 10th April here at the Woman’s Organisation. The 30 minute sessions are confidential and free for you to seek advice or guidance regarding your business.
McEntegart Legal Ltd specialise in business, commercial, contract and intellectual property law. Francis McEntegart is a barrister and is also director of Super Lambanana Ltd, Cavern Records and Good Idea (UK) Ltd.

Expert in helping businesses get organised, Excel whizz Traci Williams from ExcelAce will be offering free advice surgeries on 10th April. 
Bring along your business spreadsheets and over your 30 minute session, whether familiar with Excel or a spread-sheet phobe - Traci will show you how powerful Excel can be…….Simply!!
Places are limited so priority will be given to:
  • Women who have been running a business between 1 & 4 years
  • Businesses who have at least 1 member of staff
  • And on a first come first served basis
To show an interest and to book contact Jo on 0151 706 8111 or email


Friday, March 22, 2013

And the Winners Were...#WIB2013

On International Women's Day The Women's Organisation were delighted to partner up with Downtown Liverpool in Business to hold the Inaugeral Women in Business Awards 2013 at Hilton Liverpool.

Inspirational woman in business and good friend of The Women's Organisation Deborah Leary was the keynote speaker for the event who started by encouraging every woman to take to her feet.  She then asked them to put their hand on their heart and say:
"I will never use the word barrier, only challenge".

Photographs of the event are now online here.

Award recognition can really give a good PR boost for your business, so if you missed out this time why not encourage people to nominate you for the City of Liverpool Business Awards with Downtown.

In case you missed the winners here they are:

Best New Start Up
Sponsored by: Your Business Ezine

Winner: Little Atom Productions

Best Marketer Award
Sponsored by: Liverpool Community Health

Winner: Denise Harris (SK Events)

Social Enterprise Of The Year
Sponsored by: The Women's Organisation

Winner: Merseyside Dance Initiative

Professional Of The Year
Sponsored by: MSIF

Winner: Lucy Brady ( High Performance Consultancy)

Property Professional Of The Year
Sponsored by: Downtown Liverpool in Business

Winner: Helen Griffin-Booth (Bluerow Lettings)

Award For Outstanding Leadership & Management
Sponsored by: Barclays

Winner: Karen Caffrey (Home Carers)
A Decade Of Excellence In Business
Sponsored by: Baa Bar

Winner: Sharon Hilditch (Crystal Clear)

Female Leader
Sponsored by: Morecrofts Solicitors

Winner: Elaine Bowker (Liverpool Community College)

Young Entrepreneur Of The Year
Sponsored by: Liverpool Implant & Aesthetic Dental Spa

Winner: Victoria Brown (High Performance Consultancy)

Entrepreneur Of The Year
Sponsored by: Liverpool Vision

Winner: Candice Fonseca (Delifonseca)

Business Of The Year
Sponsored by: Liverpool Community College

Winner: Baa Bar

Chief Executive's Award
Sponsored by: Downtown Liverpool in Business

Winner: Gemma Bodinetz & Deborah Aydon (Everyman & Playhouse Theatre)

Claim Your £50 Back to Work Grant!

The Women's Organisation have been working in partnerhsip with Liverpool in Work and Liverpool City Council to support local unemployed women back into work under the 'Women's Enterprise Programme. As the project enters its final phase we are taking a moment to reflect.

The Women's Organisation have not only been offering their enterprise advice and support (See Mo's story), but have been working with women to support them with finding employment.

The 2 day 'How to Get the Job You Want' course that has been running regularly in Liverpool has been an opportunity for women to think differently about their approach to the job application and interview process.

One woman who contacted us this week to let us know she has now found employment told us:

"I was so pleased to have got this job, I found that the skills I learnt on the course really did help, both with the application process and with tips for the interview (I read through the handout given on the course before my interview, which made me feel more confident)."

Another woman who found a job after being on the course said:

"I'd had lots of interviews before, and was getting increasingly frustrated being told I had come close, but not got the job.  I was very qualified for the posts and just couldn't understand what I was doing wrong.  Coming on the course was like having a light bulb moment when I realised how the process and scoring happens in interviews and for applications. Facing my next interview I knew I carefully needed to refer to the job spec and address each point.  I got the next job I went for and I thank the course for that."

Along with the course women have been able to have follow up advice to prepare for job opportunities.

Bernie Cox, Training Co-ordinator at The Women's Organisation said:

"We have had such a mix of women attend the course and ask for our help, I think indicative of the impact of the government cuts really.  There have been both long term unemployed and professional women who have been made redundant after many years in a particular job role. It can be daunting trying to find a new career, especially when you haven't been to an interview in maybe 20 years! We designed our programme to help women look at employment opportunities a bit differently.  To understand the processes involved, to understand how to select relevent opportunities to channel their energy into and to build their confidence knowing that they have plenty of skills and attributes that would be very valuable to a potential employer."

As a final boost of support The Women's Organisation have offered women a £50 back to work grant once they have secured employement to support them with travel and other costs involved with getting a new job.

The ESF funded project which has been a roaring success will come to a close in May 2013, and so The Women's Organisation are encouraging Liverpool women who have attended the 'How to Get the Job You Want' course and since gained employment to get in touch soon if they have not yet claimed their £50.  For full terms and conditions and to notify us of your new job please contact our team on 0151 706 8111 or email

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Women's Organisation Celebrate Women in Business with the University of Liverpool

March is always an important month in The Women’s Organisation’s calendar with ‘International Women’s Day’ celebrations, and this year was no different.  The Women’sOrganisation Business Club joined together with the University of Liverpool Management School to put together a special celebration of Women in Business to mark the occasion.
The event which was held on 14th March at The Women’s Organisation’s £5.3m conference centre at 54 St James Street offered a wealth of tips from the expert panel as well as the personal touch as each shared their own experiences on the road to business success.
The evening was hosted by Lady Newby (pictured left), Ambassador for the University of Liverpool, and a champion of women. Lady Newby welcomed the women attending, who were a mixture of University alumni and local women in business, and talked about the University’s hopes to continue to build links with women in business moving forward.
Masterchef the Professionals winner and owner of Oxton based Riverhill Hotel’s restaurant Claire Lara was the first guest.  Interviewed by Bernie Cox from The Women’s Organisation, Claire welled up as she shared how her mother had always been her inspiration.  She admitted that self-employment is not an easy option, but being a self-employed mum it means that she can involve her son in her day to day duties.  She said that getting the right team makes all the difference to the smooth running of a business.

Jenny Radcliffe (left), local woman in business and graduate from the University, got the women on their feet to demonstrate the art of a good handshake, and how to observe body language signals and micro-facial expressions. As one of the few international experts in her field Jenny shared how important it is to know the value of your knowledge and to price your services accordingly. 

Victoria Brown (pictured below right) from High Performance Consultancy, also a university graduate, talked about her journey from starting her first business aged 17! She spoke of how she came back to The Women’s Organisation (then Train 2000) a few times for advice as her business ideas changed and she learned new lessons.

The women were given the opportunity to network to discuss the inspiring talks and then to fire their questions at the panel to close.  The response to the event was fantastic, below are just a few of the lovely comments left:

 “Fabulous event from start to finish! Great variety of speakers and great venue.”

“This was my first event here, but won't be my last. It was so well organised, inspiring and I've met some incredible people. Thank you so much for putting on such an amazing evening.”

“What Claire had to say about confidence and inspiration from her mum had resonance for me.”

“Really interesting, the best networking event I have been to so far!”

“Great speakers and good connection with the university. More of the same please!”

“Very interesting evening and so enjoyable! Jenny and Victoria were inspiring speakers. Thank you”

“Each session added value. Jenny produced energy, Victoria produced enthusiasm, Claire provided inspiration and the team were excellent! Thank you.”
“Fun, engaging and very worthwhile. Lots of inspiration.”

If you are a local woman running her own business who could benefit from networking opportunities and hearing from inspirational women then please contact The Women’s Organisation to find out about joining our business club.  Email  Details of our next networking evening and online booking can be found here:

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

'Selling Your Way to Success' with Business Club

This month with The Women’s Organisation Business Club learn about:

Selling Your Way
to Success
 Held on:
Tuesday 16th April 6pm-8.30pm
 Held at:
The Women's Organisation, 54 St James Street
Liverpool, L1 0AB

This interesting networking event includes:

 Talks from:

Nickie Smith, a partner at Smith Lavelle Training

Established in 2009 Smith Lavelle are experts in people development and organisational skills, sharing their knowledge and experience with businesses to allow them to maximise results. Improving processes and practices, working with businesses holistically to engage each level in the organisation 88% of their clients are returning customers evidencing that their expertise in not only making a sale, but making that sale count.  Talking on building leads and turning them to sales.

Jenny Esau, Credit Management Group UK.

Jenny Esau, a member of the Institute of Credit management has been in credit management for nearly 20 years working for a medium sized company in the Construction Industry then several national and global corporate businesses in manufacturing and services before setting up Credit Management Group UK. Talking on how to chase up sales and ensure you are paid.

Tickets are available to

The Women’s Organisation Business Club members for

JUST £10!!!

Call 0151 706 8111 or contact to join.

Free Networking Event with Natwest

Women in Business   Networking Event with Natwest 
Wednesday 10th April 2013
Blundells Hill Golf Club
Cheryl Mills NatWest Women in Business Specialist is delighted to invite you to a FREE networking event.
Whether you are starting up or running an existing business or have a fledgling idea, you can benefit from a panel of local support and funding agencies, giving presentations on what is available to you,  this will be followed by Q&A session.
There will also be a chance afterwards to network and also look at the various stalls, stands and displays available
To book a place please email or telephone Cheryl Mills on 07899064432 with any questions.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Siren Launch @54StJamesStreet 22nd March

Contact @SirenLiverpool on Twitter for more info.

Her Children Were Her Inspiration: Helen's Business Story

For mother of 2 Helen Kaufman, her children were her biggest inspiration for starting a business.

Helen said “I’m a mother to 2 daughters, Jessica and Amelia hence the name JA Interiors. They are aged 2 and nine months so the last 3 years have been completely life changing for me.”
Juggling work and her family was a new challenge and Helen soon realised she would need to re-think her career path:

“After having my 2 daughters I realised I wanted to develop and sustain a business that would benefit  my lifestyle in terms of dropping and collecting my children at their grandparents, and working hours that suited me and my clients instead of the 9 – 5 rat race.  I wanted to break free from the cycle and was excited at the idea of being my own boss.”

Helen wasn’t without experience having studied for not one, but two degrees, the first being a BA Honors in Fine Art and a Foundation degree in Visual Merchandising and Promotional Design.  She had also developed a practical understanding of the interiors industry having worked for an independent interiors company for 7 years.  Despite this, Helen still felt she needed to build her confidence before setting off on her own business venture.

“At first I signed up to the Women’s Organisation for the confidence building course” she said, “but I soon realised it wasn’t my confidence that I needed building it was just to be encouraged and guided onto the right path of starting my own business. It was very daunting at first but that was soon overcome with excitement and that passion to succeed!”

Helen attended the free course The Women’s Organisation offered around business planning to help her to move her idea forward.

“The thought of having to write a business plan frightened the hell out of me” admitted Helen. “I couldn’t have done it without the help of the wonderful trainer at The Women’s Organisation who made me feel she had every faith in me and guided me through all aspects completing it, including the finance section which wasn’t my strong point.  I was also given a business adviser who again came up with such helpful hints, tips and ideas. He was brilliant. Everyone there has such faith and belief in me and that is what I needed to help me on my way.”

Helen knew there would be challenges to face on the road to business success.

“The obvious concerns were there, such as not having a regular income, start-up costs, and all of the other ‘what if’s’.  They would go through my head daily, but I didn’t want to look back in life and have any regrets so I learned to channel my anxiety into positive ways of developing the business.”

Now Helen has launched ‘JA Interiors’, offering affordable advice in transforming your home.

“Whether the client has just moved house or needs to sell their house, our advice service is totally independent with no connection to any brand, enabling us to give an unbiased opinion, and supplier recommendations where appropriate. I feel this is where we differ to any other interior company and makes us ‘unique’. Our mission is to provide our clients with affordable advice on how to transform their home into a desirable interior, based on their personal requirements and needs. We offer a range of services including design ideas, mood boards and an exclusive personal shopping experience. We work hard in achieving a finished interior that truly reflects your home and personality, taking into account: budgets, affordability and the overall finished scheme.”

Keen to see other women in her shoes follow their dreams Helen advises:

“Never give up and just keep doing! There is always somebody out there who will help you. It’s about being clever and using your resources around you. I had no idea how to design a website or how to develop a marketing plan, but I had friends who could. It’s amazing what you can get done over dinner and a bottle of wine!  As long as you have the passion and determination in life then there is nothing stopping you achieving what you want. I was never the more academic person in school and college but I loved art and design. I carried on in life with these subjects and this is where I am today!”

To take advantage of JA Interiors affordable advice on transforming your home visit or contact Helen directly via  / 07800 952 105

 “I cannot thank The Women’s Organisation enough for getting me to the stage I’m at today” says Helen. 

If you have a business idea you are dreaming about, why not contact or 0151 706 8111 today to find out how The Women’s Organisation can support you FREE!



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

From unemployed to self-employed for Liverpool’s Mo Marlow

Finding herself out of work for 12 months was a difficult time for Liverpool resident Maureen.   She said:

“I was unemployed for 12 months, and as the months went on being unemployed I just felt like ‘I just need to do something’.”

Sewing had been a hobby since the age of 20 for Maureen Marlow.  Known as Mo locally, she had always helped out friends with clothing alterations and had previously worked for a fashion business that had concessions with brand like New Look.  Maureen found whichever way she looked at it; it seemed that all roads were pointing to self-employment

“I used to get a lot of request “Mo can you alter this and that”. A business is something I thought of a long while ago, but just hadn’t gone for it. This started as alterations to help out friends and family, but because of requests to make tailor made clothing it went from there really and I realised I could turn it into a business.”

Because of the equipment needed for doing the alterations and tailoring, Maureen was convinced she needed premises to get her idea off the ground, but she found this wasn’t going to be easy.

“I tried to go after a few different shops but kept missing out.  This shop where I am based now I missed out on too, but I heard that the other woman who got it wanted a dress maker to share with, as she has a boutique. I got in touch and we took it from there.”  

Having made the contact Maureen started helping out in the shop initially on a voluntary basis to see what the customers were like. She was still required to do weekly job searches by the Job Centre in order to receive her benefits, but having tasted what life would be like being based in a shop on Park Road, Maureen was all the more determined to get her idea off the ground. She discovered that free business start-up support was available through local social enterprise ‘The Women’s Organisation’ so got in touch for some help.

Maureen told us “I did a 2 day business course, book keeping and tax courses. It was all really helpful. The course gives you a better insight as to how to do your business properly.  I was going in with my eyes closed and hadn’t realised. Doing the course it made me realise I needed more insight into this and showed me everything I needed to think about.”

Maureen negotiated space for her business at the shop ‘Leigh Leighs Boutique’ at 270 Park Road in Liverpool, and is now running ‘Made by Mo’ her dress making and alterations business there.


Now feeling more positive about the future Maureen reflected “It can feel degrading being unemployed and you feel like people are looking down on you.  The day I signed off I was thrilled to bits.”

Looking at what she has achieved in setting up ‘Made by Mo’ she told us “I’m quite proud of myself. I’m only from round here (Liverpool).  Since I’ve set up I’ve seen people I haven’t seen for years and they look at me in this shop and they are impressed. Everybody round here knows everyone else and they spread the word so things are picking up. Being from round here I understand you’ve got to make people feel at ease.  Because I know local people and they know me they don’t feel shy to pop in with their clothes or ideas, I am getting lots of different customers through the door.”


Maureen is convinced she has made the right choice going self-employed.

“Sometimes in employment the way you are spoken to isn’t great. Being your own boss you haven’t got that pressure on your head and I don’t have anyone telling me what to do.  I quite often need to take my mum to hospital appointments and such. With this I can choose my hours flexibly around things around that.  I can start ahead of other shops opening to get bits done before opening to the public and work longer days when I want to. It’s more convenient for me. It is so much better working for yourself.”

If you are looking for a local alteration or dress making service why not pop in to Made by Mo’s at Leigh Leighs Boutique on Park Road, or email Maureen via

And if like Maureen you would like to utilise your skills to create a job for yourself, why not contact The Women’s Organisation today on 0151 706 8111 to find out about the free support on offer including a £200 grant to get your started.
Maureen is pictured above with Councillor Nick Small, Karen Hemmings from Liverpool in Work and Jackie Williams from The Women's Organisation.  The photograph was taken 6th March 2013 to celebrate the continuing partnership work under the 'Women's Enterprise Programme' supporting unemployed women in Liverpool.


Tuesday, March 5, 2013

LILA Looking for Businesses Needing an Extra Pair of Hands

Liverpool International Language Academy (LILA*) needs you! Are you a local business looking for support, an international dimension to your business or even just an extra pair of hands to help you out? Then LILA*s brand new Work Experience Programme might be just what you’re looking for.

Liverpool based language school, LILA*, has created a brand new suite of professional courses aimed at students from all over Europe who want the opportunity to acquire all-important, hands on work experience while improving their English language skills.
The company, which was established in 2004 as a small independent language school, has since transformed into the largest independent English Language School in Liverpool with over 2,000 students a year, from over 50 countries, coming through its doors. The school was selected from amongst hundreds of nominees across the North West to become one of the four finalists for the hard-fought Business Education Collaboration Award category.

Responding to increasing demand from students who not only want to study in Liverpool to improve their level of English & soak up the city’s cultural heritage but who also want to add international work experience to their CV’s, LILA* has created their Work Experience Programme to provide students with the opportunity to increase their employment opportunities in an increasingly competitive job market.

What LILA* also envisions for the scope of the courses is the contribution it can make to growing businesses across Liverpool. By providing the local business community with focused and attentive individuals it can provide fledgling and established businesses alike with the chance to grow their operations and to gain vital support.

LILA* wants to create solid working relationships with businesses across the region to offer students comprehensive, 12 week work placements that provide an awareness of international business, practical work experience and the opportunity to present Liverpool as the exciting global business destination that it truly is! The hope is to establish links with the local business community that are of mutual benefit and allow companies to add value to their organisation by making use of the invaluable resource that LILA* has to offer.

LILA* would be delighted to meet with any businesses who may be interested in partnering with them as a provider of work experience placements for prospective students and to discuss the specifics of the course further.

For more information on LILA* and the range of courses they offer, information can be found on their website – – or by calling ((0) 151 707 0909).