Friday, August 30, 2013

@54StJamesStreet 'Tenant of the Week': @ClearCollection

Our brand new £5.3mil centre at 54 St James Street is home to a number of fantastic local businesses, so we have decided to hi-light a different one each week.

This week our 'Tenant of the Week' is Clear Collections, owned and run by Sue Fallace.

Clear Collections is a debt recovery agency that operates on a TRUE No Win No Fee basis. It provides advice and assistance for business that are suffering from bad payers or struggling to get invoices settled. It holds an Office of Fair Trading licence and is registered with the ICO

It runs alongside Minerva Invoice Management which offers outsourced credit control.  The 2 businesses work in harmony to offer:

- An audit of existing credit control processes and recommendations for improvement
- A bespoke outsourced credit control/invoice management service that works around your terms of trading
- A professional and practical No win No Fee debt collection service

These services can be accessed individually or as a package, as required.  Contact  Tel: 0151 289 0061 or visit

For more information on our venue here at 54 St James Street, our meeting and conference rooms to hire in Liverpool, contact our team via or 0151 706 8100.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Historic Women @54StJamesStreet Home of @TheWomensOrg: Kitty Wilkinson

When The Women's Organisation opened the doors of their new £5.3mil building in the Baltic Triangle district of Liverpool, they were keen to show the influence that iconic women of history have had on the organisation.

Each room at 54 St James Street has been carefully named after an inspiraing woman who made her mark in history.  The Women's Organisation wanted to introduce you to some of these amazing women so you can see why they have been recognised at the Women's International Centre for Economic Devlopment (WICED).

The Wilkinson Suite which sits on the 3rd Floor of the building and can be hired out for IT training, or used as a business lounge for hot desking by virtual office users was named after Kitty Wilkinson.

Kitty Wilkinson (17861860)

Catherine Wilkinson was born in Derry, Ireland and was an Irish immigrant "wife of a labourer" who became known as the Saint of the Slums. In 1832, during a cholera epidemic, Wilkinson took the initiative to offer the use of her house and yard to neighbours to wash their clothes, at a charge of 1 penny per week, and showed them how to use a chloride of lime to get them clean. She was supported by the District Provident Society and William Rathbone. In 1832 a cholera epidemic was sweeping Liverpool ,  Kitty and Tom Wilkinson were in the fortunate position of having the only hot water boiler in their street so they invited their neighbours down to their cellar to wash their clothes and bed-linen, hoping to offer some measure of protection against the cholera. The Wilkinson’s were aided in their work by the Liverpool District Provident Society and the benevolence of the Rathbone family, each contributing towards the provision of clean clothes and fresh bedding materials therefore reducing the spread of disease. The Wilkinson’s wash-room became so popular that it was moved upstairs to the kitchen, with a rudimentary drying area established in the back yard. Kitty and Tom asked the neighbours who used their facilities to contribute one penny per family, per week to help towards water and new bedding costs. At the same time, Kitty and a neighbour by the name of Mrs Lloyd established a rudimentary infant school, in Kitty and Tom’s bedroom. Local young orphans would be taught, continuing Kitty’s desire to see working-class children educated as best as possible. Kitty Wilkinson is permanently commemorated in a stained glass window in Liverpool's Anglican Cathedral, which honours the noble women of Liverpool.




Friday, August 23, 2013

@54StJamesStreet 'Tenant of the Week': AG Consultancy

Our brand new £5.3mil centre at 54 St James Street is home to a number of fantastic local businesses, so we have decided to hi-light a different one each week.
This week our 'Tenant of the Week' is AG Consultancy, owned and run by Alan Gidman.
AG Consultancy have "experience of Apple & Microsoft products and a love for all things geek". They offer a variety of services including:
  • Networking – home office / business
  • PC support & installation
  • Hard drive back up
  • Data recovery
  • Remote support
  • Smart phone support
  • PC/Mac Repair
  • IT Consulting
  • IT Solutions
  • Training
  • Internet Security
  • On-Line CCTV
  • Website Design
For more information on Alan and AG Consultancy visit or contact  07805850602
For more information on our venue here at 54 St James Street, our meeting and conference rooms to hire in Liverpool, contact our team via or 0151 706 8100.


Friday, August 16, 2013

@54StJamesStreet Tenant of the Week: Barrette

Our brand new £5.3mil centre at 54 St James Street is home to a number of fantastic local businesses, so we have decided to hi-light a different one each week.

This week our 'Tenant of the Week' is Barrette: Chartered Accountants and Chartered Tax Advisers, owned and run by Yvette Lau.

Barrette are a firm of Chartered Accountants offering bookkeeping, accountancy, tax, business start up & business advisory services to small and medium sized businesses and individuals in the St Helens, Merseyside and Manchester areas. Barrette have offices conveniently located in Thatto Heath (St Helens), 54 St James Street Liverpool and & Manchester City Centre.

For more information visit or call 0151 706 8147.

For more information on our venue here at 54 St James Street, our meeting and conference rooms to hire in Liverpool, contact our team via or 0151 706 8100.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Wirral Mother of 2 Turns Redundancy into Opportunity

‘After being made redundant it became very apparent that getting back into my chosen career was very difficult, therefore I took a part time job that would help support my family’ described Helen Powell, mother of 2 young children, on her experience of redundancy and battling to break back into her chosen field.

Helen had worked for various photographic companies and suppliers, including 6 years as a photographer with Cheshire Constabulary based within the Forensic Investigation Department, which she really enjoyed. Unfortunately, after being made redundant, the Wirral woman was forced to take a part time job as a toll officer in order to help support her 2 young children, both of whom are under 5.

Being a very experienced photographer, Helen began to notice a gap in the newborn photography market. She recognised that the style used in the USA and other parts of Britain was lacking in the North West. She told us: ‘Before I was made redundant I began exploring this area and started to build a portfolio of work and self-funded myself on a Newborn Safety & Posing Workshop.’

So after her husband, who had also been made redundant, had opened up his own successful graphic design business with family, Helen began moving forward with her own idea.

The biggest barrier for the mother of 2 was her confidence and self-belief in her abilities. The prospect of becoming her own boss was very daunting, especially the idea of being completely responsible for every aspect of the business. However, with the help of The Women’s Organisation, who was suggested to her by a friend, Helen talks about how it helped her to 'get her act together' and ‘focus on exactly what it takes to build and create a business.’

She explained: ‘The Women's Org have been amazing! From the one to one business advisor meetings…to the courses run…all the help and advice has been invaluable. I have attended the business start-up course and book keeping…the social media course [and the] HMRC & Tax course. All were really well presented and delivered in a very user friendly way, no jargon, no complicated ideas, just clear and easy to understand.’

Although she struggled with her confidence earlier on, Helen is now in a position where she is proud to say that: ‘I am what makes my business unique. There are other baby and newborn photographers out there, but not many with the creative expertise and background as I have… [And] the highest level of security checks. In the North West, particularly Merseyside, there are not many who specialise in Maternity & Newborn… Therefore being a master of this trade rather than a jack of all trades.’

Helen’s business, Topetones, specialises in Maternity & Newborn photography, but she also does a lot of family photography. Now in a new studio, located close to beautiful parks and the beach, Topetones is starting outdoor lifestyle shoots and ‘Family in a Box’ shoots. 

Despite having to find the time to run a household, look after 2 young children and work 20 hours a week, the Wirral woman is looking forward to growing her business steadily. She hopes to eventually go full time with her business, to focus entirely on what she is truly passionate about.

With an article featured in ‘Mummy & Me’ magazine and a newly acquired Jacqueline Gold twitter WOW award, Helen is excited about the future of Topetones as she makes her dream, reality.

If you are interested in booking a newborn or maternity shoot, or would just like to find out more, visit or contact Helen directly at  You can also follow Topetones on Twitter: @topetones and Facebook 

And if like Helen you would like to improve your situation or turn something you love doing into a business, feel free to contact The Women’s Organisation today on 0151 706 8111 or

By Beckie Kinsella

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Marketing & Social Media Masterclasses FREE to Women Entrepreneurs #EBEL


 ‘Marketing Master Classes’

Choose up to 2 Master Classes FREE!

Each offers an instructional workshop
followed by practical computer time
(for the social media sessions) or a group mentoring session.


Thursday 12th September

·                 Marketing Planning from 9.30am – 12.30pm   

·                 Using Facebook for Business 1.30pm – 4.30pm  


Friday 13th September

·                 Using Google Services for Business (Blogger, Google+ & More)

          9.30am -3.30pm


Tuesday 24th September

·                 Promoting Your Business Online Strategy 9.30am – 12.30pm

·                 Using Twitter for Business from 1.30pm – 4.30pm


Thursday 26th September

·                 Using Linkedin for Business from 9.30am – 12.30pm

·                 Thinking About a Website from 1.30pm – 4.30pm


These seminars are being offered as a pilot for the E-BEL European E-Business Enterprise Learning project for women entrepreneurs,

so attendees will be asked to give feedback on each session.

To check eligibility or to book call 0151 706 8111 or


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Cynthia's Business Helps Victims of Domestic Violence Find 'BetterDays' @BetterDaysHomes

Having seen the effects of domestic violence on families and children throughout her career, the passion to do something positive and make a change drove dynamic Cynthia Monteverde to take action.  With financial support from a friend she worked to set up ‘Betterdays Homes’ a shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence and their families.

Cynthia reflected “I have been through domestic violence myself in my early years. Then working at a children’s home in 1993 I realised it was not just the woman effected by domestic violence. The more I worked with children the more I realised it was families I needed to work with to deal with the issues and to see change.” She said “After that experience I think I always knew this is what I would do, and since I started Betterdays I saw a child I worked with in the children’s home in 1993 come to the home as an adult. This confirmed it for me and gave me insight into where the problems start.”
Cynthia hadn’t always settled in Liverpool before setting up Betterdays, having gone to school in Canada and the U.S., but when considering her idea she could think of nowhere else she wanted to be.

“I returned to Liverpool in June 2010 from living in L.A.” Cynthia smiled “I love Liverpool. I wanted to do something for Liverpool and for myself. Liverpool has been good to me.  I have lived in Birmingham, Germany, Canada, L.A. lots of places. There is something about the people of Liverpool. If people like you, you are friends who become family. I don’t feel like I am away from my family because of the people I have around me. So setting up this home is what I wanted to do to give something back to Liverpool.  I had a friend who had finance to invest which was fantastic. With the exception of the help from The Women’s Organisation we have done everything ourselves.”

Cynthia knew what she wanted to achieve and found she could receive free advice and guidance from The Women’s Organisation to get her idea off the ground, as part of the Big Enterprise in Communities (BEiC) project funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
“I did the [Women’s Organisation’s] start-up business course which was very informative and helpful. Whatever I wasn’t sharp on it tightened up for me. I was also put with a business adviser. She was marvellous! I know I can call her if I have a problem. That is priceless.” Cynthia advised “We all like to think we know what we are doing, but two heads really are better than one.  I believe that if we have 2nd, 3rd and 4th opinions to weigh up then mistakes become less. That advice and second opinion was the best thing The Women’s Organisation gave to me.  It reassured me and showed me I was on the right path.”

Cynthia knew there would be a demand for what she was offering and wanted to make sure she got it right.
“This is an idea I have had for years, and something I have always wanted to do. There is such a great need for homes focussing on domestic violence.” She said “Previously to running my business I was working for a housing support agency.  This gave me insight into what was going on.  I got to the point where I had worked in every shelter and could see the need outweighed the provision available. There were never enough beds to offer.  Local police seem so glad that we are open. They were taking local people to Wales as there just wasn’t enough provision locally. This was such a shame for local women to be moved so far form their community. I think it is important for them to be near family.”

Betterdays homes have a 4 bedroom family orientated house based in Liverpool for victims of domestic violence. The house accommodates both women and their children and has CCTV, 24 hour service calls and CRB checked staff.
Cynthia told us “Women tend to stay with us between 1 and 3 months. It really depends on the needs of the person, we are flexible, but it is really a transitional place.  The most rewarding thing is watching how the ladies change.  They start coming into themselves.  What we do is very important. It is saving families, saving lives. With other services I had worked in I saw women in individual units, isolated.  What I love is that this is a house, which means conversations happen in the kitchen or the living room. It has a home feeling.  Our clients don’t feel institutionalised or left alone as can happen. Community leads to healing and that is what we encourage here.”

Betterdays homes work with other agencies to offer a well-rounded support to the women resident there including support around mental health, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse.  Betterdays also run their own group sessions looking at issues such as diet, self-esteem and confidence.  
“The clients we work with gel and support each other. That shows me I’ve made a good choice. And since opening everyone has been pitching in. We had so many donations of baby clothes and food donations. That has been great support. It would be difficult without support. The women need support and I need support.”

Looking back on her decision to set up her own business Cynthia feels she has made the right decision for her.
“I look forward to work every day. It doesn’t feel like work. I don’t know anywhere I would rather be. My dream is to expand, and we have got our eye on the next space. I don’t have much time to think about what I have achieved. It is not a glory thing, it is a necessity. I was just the vessel to make that happen.”

If you would like to find out more about Betterdays Homes and the great work they do contact Cynthia on or 07904857654.
If like Cynthia you have a passion that you would like to turn into a business or social enterprise then contact The Women’s Organisation for free support today on 0151 706 8111 or

Monday, August 5, 2013

LAST CHANCE TO BOOK! FREE Legal, Accountancy & Excel Surgeries with @WeMentorUk

FREE Legal, Accountancy & Excel Mentoring Surgeries

Thursday 8th August @54StJamesSt

Do you have a legal issue your business is facing, or would you like advice around protecting your intellectual property rights?

Liverpool law practice, McEntegart Legal Ltd will be holding a free legal surgery on 8th August 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.

Do you wonder if you could be using spread sheets more effectively for business book keeping, client tracking & other activity?

Expert in helping businesses get organised, Excel whizz Traci Williams from ExcelAce will be offering free excel advice surgeries on 8th August.  Bring along your business spread sheets 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!!

Do you need to pick the brain of an accountant on HMRC forms and deadlines, cash accounting, developing robust financial records and other issues?

eespeksnijder is an independent accountancy practice specialising in the owner managed business and particularly business start-ups.  Esther Speksnijder has over 20 years of experience in accountancy and following a maternity break established her own practice in South Liverpool. At the surgeries on 8th August Esther will be offering free accountancy advice on issues such as: How to develop the business records as you grow, Compliance with HM Revenue & Customs forms and deadlines, Taking advantage of the new Cash accounting basis for small businesses.

Places are limited so priority will be given particularly, but not exclusively to:

•Women who have been running a business between 1 & 4 years with 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

From Doctor to Designer: Hana's Journey to Business - @HanaAwwad

Working in design was a dream for Hana Awwad that she thought she would never realise having started to establish a career path in medicine.

Photography by Deana Kay Photography
Hana reflected: “I was always good at sciences and very academic, and as I enjoyed being around people it seemed the natural step for me to train to be a doctor. After 6 years of medical school and 4 years as a practicing doctor I came to the realisation that it just wasn’t the career for me.”
Some people were shocked to learn of Hana’s plans to change her career, but she knew it was a case of ‘now or never’ if she wanted to turn her dream into reality.

Liverpool resident Hana said: “I had a long standing passion for design, but I didn’t want to just give up on a career I had worked hard for. I stuck it out for 10 years, I didn’t want to make a rash decision. I realise now it took courage to admit it wasn’t for me and decide to follow my dream. Some people were shocked, but I had a lot of support from my family and friends, and most people were very encouraging.”

Hana took the brave step of returning to University to re-train, and graduated from a degree in Textiles in 2012. It was during her studies that her business idea started to form.

 “Where I went to University there was a large Muslim community.  I noticed a gap in the market for high quality greeting cards recognising different cultural and religious celebrations than those we usually see in the shops. While at Uni I used this idea to trial a few designs in Muslim bookshops around the UK.  The response was positive and so I was keen to take it further.”

Hana contacted The Women’s Organisation for help to take her idea to the next level and establish a design business.

She said “I have always wanted to work for myself. I found the idea of business exciting, and being creative I wanted to combine the two to start a business that utilised all my skills.  The Women’s Organisation gave me a lot of help and advice.  They got me started on a business plan.  I didn’t have a clue.  They suggested I research my competitors and suppliers. Once I got started it was straight forward.”

Hana set up ‘Chocolate Envelope Designs’ which has built on her original idea and expanded to provide surface patterns and designs for a range of other products and. She offers greeting cards, wedding stationery and now prints her own range of wrapping paper. Hana has just designed a bespoke mural for a 9 metre wall in an exciting new Liverpool restaurant opening in August 2013.

“My designs are inspired by traditional decorative and ornamental surface patterns from the Middle and Far East but with a contemporary twist. I aim to create beautiful patterns and prints that could be used on a range of surfaces.”

Reflecting on her decision Hana said “I am the happiest I have ever been. The reaction I get to my designs is really exciting. I am constantly buzzing with ideas. When I was deciding to change careers I was afraid of having regrets. Now my only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner!”

Looking back at her journey Hana thinks if other women are considering following in her footsteps and setting up a business her advice would be:

“It’s great to have supportive friends or family but if you’re not sure then speak to one of the business advisors at The Women’s Organisation. You don’t need to turn up with anything more than your idea and they will give you all the support you need to take that idea and turn it into a reality. And they will let you do this at your own pace without pressure. You have to be patient and realistic and get used to rejection! It’s not easy having your product/service rejected without taking it personally but it makes it all the more worthwhile when people want to buy into it too. Get advice to ensure your business is viable. If you need to ease yourself in gradually starting part time while working part time, then do that. Follow your dreams, but be realistic. Choose something you are happy and excited about, because then you will be motivated to work hard at it. When you are motivated you can push your business forward. Keep at it and believe.”

For more information on Hana’s designs contact or visit and you can follow her on Facebook  or Twitter @HanaAwwad 

And if like Hana you are a woman considering changing or starting a new career working for yourself, contact The Women’s Organisation for free help and advice on 0151 706 8111 or


Friday, August 2, 2013

Retired Grandmother Praises The Convenience of Self-Employment

Retired grandmother of 2, Helen Owen felt that after working for 35 years becoming self-employed simply made sense.

After 26 years working for Liverpool City Council as a Project Co-ordinator at the Pagoda Chinese Community Centre, she decided to take an early retirement and pursue self-employment because it would allow for a much more convenient pace.

She said: ‘I have good contacts and connections with the Chinese community on Merseyside, by setting up a food safety and hygiene training business it will help the Chinese customers to overcome some of the language barriers and communication difficulties and it makes good business sense for me.’

Being a mother of 3 and grandparent of 2, time management was one of the biggest barriers the Liverpool resident had to face whilst starting up her business.

‘I am a grandmother… I do have grandparent duties in helping to look after the grandchildren when my children and in laws are at work. But I have evenings free to further develop the business.’

Another problem Helen faced was the financial implications involved in self-employment. She had to find finances to purchase teaching materials and to cover venue costs. She overcame this by deciding to run her business from home to keep her overheads low, this consequently aided in her time management as it enabled her to develop HK Training at her own pace. She also contacted the Women’s Organisation for help with her finances and the business start-up process.

‘I have received fantastic amount of help and support from the Women’s Organisation. Firstly, I was provided with a personal financial advisor, I have received advice and support in developing a business plan, attended on many free training workshops to do with self-employment and about HMRC and taxes.’

Following the support from The Women’s Organisation, Helen received a £200 grant to help with her start-up costs. Furthermore, she is still receiving support in the form of The Women’s Organisation’s Business Club.

‘I have attended many women’s business events at the centre [54 St James Street] to network with other like-minded business women.’

Helen’s advice to anyone thinking about starting up a business is to contact The Women’s Organisation for support. She said: ‘I have already referred a few friends to contact the Women’s Organisation, in order to get help and advice before starting up their businesses.’

Helen added: ‘It is very important that I have to enjoy and appreciate my business, and that I would be properly rewarded financially. My start up business journey has been a positive one with help and support along the way. The journey has ups as well as downs like all businesses. My ultimate goal for my food safety and hygiene business is that it will be a good reputable, professional and well trusted company.’

If you are looking for food safety and hygiene training, or would like to find out more, visit or contact

And if you feel it’s the right time to move into self-employment or have a business idea you wish you to explore, contact The Women’s Organisation today on 0151 706 8111 or


@54StJamesStreet Tenant of the Week: @SirenLiverpool

Our brand new £5.3mil centre at 54 St James Street is home to a number of fantastic local businesses, so we have decided to hi-light a different one each week.

This week our 'Tenant of the Week' is Siren Cafe owned and run by Natalie Hardman and Jeni Wadkin.


Siren is a unique eatery at the heart of 54 St James Street in Liverpool's Baltic Triangle district, serving fresh home-cooked food with ingredients sourced from local suppliers. Now open to the public 7 days a week, Siren is available to hire for events & parties and can also provide outside catering.

When hiring a room or booking a conference at 54 St James Street Siren offer quality catering packages to suit your event needs.

Siren can be found on facebook and twitter(@SirenLiverpool) and contacted on or 0151 706 8148.

For more information on our venue here at 54 St James Street, our meeting and conference rooms to hire in Liverpool, contact our team via or 0151 706 8100.