Friday, November 29, 2013

We are Recruiting! Engagement Officer Vacancy

Engagement Officer, Full time post (37.5 hours per week)  £18,000 - 22,000pa

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 seeking to recruit an Engagement Officer. The successful applicant will work with our engagement team and report directly to our Enterprise Director.

Closing date for applications is Wednesday 11th December with interviews on Thursday 19th December.

For an application pack please ring 0151 706 8111 or email

Thursday, November 28, 2013

HMRC Key Messages December 2013

Welcome to your December 2013 Key Messages
Chancellor’s Autumn Statement: 5 December 2013
Find all the information on George Osborne’s Autumn Statement   
Free help from HMRC on Small Business Saturday 7 December 2013
As part of the first ever Small Business Saturday new businesses can get help by taking part in one or more of the four free live tax webinars (online presentations) on offer from HMRC on 7 December. The programme of webinars, which runs between 10am and 5pm, is aimed at new businesses and people thinking about starting up in business. Each live webinar lasts an hour and gives the opportunity to ask questions.
Campaign to support businesses was announced on 6 November 2013
In December a cross-government strategy on small business support will be published. The Business is GREAT campaign is part of the strategy and is aimed at the 4.9 million small businesses in the UK. The announcement will detail a number of ways in which businesses can be helped to establish themselves and encourage growth by improving access to finance and help to export and innovate.
National Insurance Contributions (NICs) cuts introduced in April 2014
Across the UK 1.25 million small businesses and charities will benefit from the new Employment Allowance on employer NICs to be introduced in April 2014.
National Minimum Wage: Rogue businesses named and shamed!
From October 2013 employers who fail to pay the NMW will be named and shamed under revamped plans to make it easier to clamp down on rogue businesses.
Credit/Debit transactions tracked by HMRC
A new crackdown on tax evasion will make information on all credit and debit card payments to UK businesses available to HMRC for the first time.
Stay Safe Online help
Cyber crime and security is something which affects many small businesses. Over the last year alone 87 per cent of small businesses suffered a cyber security breach at an average cost of between £35,000 and £65,000. There are some simple things you can do to stay safe online and you may also find these external links useful; however they are not under HM Revenue & Customs control and it is not responsible for their content
Reporting change

Just a quick reminder on how and when individuals and businesses should report changes in their circumstances to HMRC.

Friday, November 22, 2013

5 Challenges Women Entrepreneurs Face — And How to Overcome Them

According to a recent article published by BusinessNewsDaily, there are 5 main challenges women entrepreneurs face. For them 'entrepreneurship remains a traditionally male-dominated territory, and there are still some significant obstacles that many female business owners have to face.'
Mashable 2013

The 5 challenges identified are:

1. Women entrepreneurs think they need to act like men.

2. Emotion and nurturing skills can affect their business.

3. Women often lack the support of the other female business leaders.

4. Many women have to balance raising a family with running their business.

5. Women entrepreneurs are afraid of failure.

To read more and find out how they advise to overcome these issues, read the article here

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Monday, November 18, 2013

NatWest Enterprise Academy - Global Entrepreneurship Week Event

NatWest Enterprise Academy

As part of Global Entrepreneurship Week, NatWest has organised an Enterprise Academy event aimed at new start ups and existing businesses.

The Academy will take place on 21 November at St Georges Hall in Liverpool and will provide support for those who are looking to grow or expand their business.

A number of high powered workshops will take place throughout the day alongside a marketplace where exhibitors will be able to provide information and support to delegates looking to grow or set up a new business.

Please note workshops are optional, however please register early as space is limited on each session. (The marketplace will be available for delegates to walk around whilst the workshops are taking place throughout the day.)

Date: 21 November 2013
Venue: St Georges Hall, Liverpool, Merseyside L1 1JJ
Time: 10.00am - 4.00pm

To register please click here


11am - 12pm: 

Social Media - Delivered by Agent Marketing (Cockerill Room)
Pitching - Delivered by Big Partnership (Reid Room)

12pm - 1pm:  

Marketing - Delivered by Agent Marketing (Cockerill Room)
Tender Writing - Delivered by Tender Management Consultancy Ltd (Reid Room)

1pm - 2pm:  

Intellectual Property - Delivered by The Intellectual Property Office (Cockerill Room)
Procurement - Delivered by RBS Group (Reid Room)

2pm - 3pm:  

International Trade - Delivered by UKTI (Cockerill Room)
Social Values Act - Delivered by Rosie Jolly. Chief Executive Social Enterprise Network (Reid Room)

For more information, click here

Free Events at Liverpool Central Library in Celebration of Global Entrepreneurship Week

In the Den with the Dragons

Enter the Dragon’s lair and get advice from some of the best known entrepreneurs in the UK.

For more information click here

Speed Mentoring: Business Essentials

Thursday, 21 November 2013
Central Library, William Brown Street, Liverpool, 2-5pm

On Thursday 21 November, join a speed mentoring session to help ensure your business success. If you're just starting out it's an ideal way to find out what's involved in running a business.

Experts will be on hand to discuss:

· Marketing and Social Media
· Business Planning
· Working With Your Bank
· Start Up Loans
· Researching Your Business Plan
· Protecting Your Intellectual Property

Click here for more information 

Friday, November 15, 2013

For Knowsley Resident Kate Christopher, Business Is Personal

Knowsley’s Kate Christopher decided that in order for her to build a successful business she would have to put 100% into it, so took the very bold and brave step of leaving her full time job as a makeup artist and manager of a counter to completely dedicate herself to Kate’s Personalised Letters.

Kate first started by making personalised letters for her niece and goddaughter but found that when other people saw them they were interested in paying for them. This was what initially sparked her idea of setting up a business hand painting and customising personalised letters for children and people’s homes.

‘When I first decided I wanted to go into business I was trying to save some money to put aside to buy some stock, while I was still working I was making samples, for friends and family and their children and putting pictures up on my personal social media sites to get some feedback from friends. It was all great feedback and lots of people agreed they would buy so I needed to get the ball rolling.’

Although the Knowsley resident was very eager to become self-employed, she felt that she needed help with the process as it is was completely different to anything she had ever done before.

‘One of the most worrying things was leaving a full time well paid job to getting no monthly income at all. I was worried that I wasn't going to get everything right setting up the business, for example tax returns, national insurance, etc.’

When discussing these worries with her personal banker at Barclays, Kate was pointed in the direction of The Women’s Organisation who offer free start-up support and grant funding.

‘I called and arranged for an appointment with one of the advisors who couldn't help me enough. I went to the 2 day business planning course I learned so much. Everyone that worked there was lovely and helpful. I would advise anyone starting up a business to get help from The Women’s organisation.’

A few months on, things are going really well for Kate’s Personalised Letters. Orders have been steady and the business has already made a profit. As Christmas draws nearer, she is optimistic that she will be working day and night to have orders finished on time.

The best thing about being self-employed for Kate is that she is totally dependent on herself and no one else.

She explained: ‘I can work whatever hours work best for me and sometimes if I have a lot of work on I can work long hours to make up for the times when I don't have a lot of work on. It’s also good that I get to work from home as this saves on the cost of going out to work.’

In the future, Kate hopes to open up her own shop/boutique and create jobs for local residents, who can support the growth of the business.

For Kate, ‘owning your own business is a journey that you have to work hard on.’

If you’d like to treat a little one to their own personalised letters this Christmas, or would just like to find out more, visit Kate’s Personalised Letters on Facebook or email her directly

And if you have a hobby or interest you’d like to turn into a business, you can contact The Women’s Organisation for free business advice on 0151 706 8111 /

By Beckie Kinsella

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ruth Marcella Brings Out The Beauty of Business With Orchid Blush

Starting in 2009, Ruth Marcella wanted to give clients the celebrity experience and since then her business has gone from strength to strength. Now with over 40 fully qualified and highly experienced freelance make-up artists and hair stylists, Orchid Blush is one of the leading providers of make-up and hair services in the North West.

Photo by VGGVART

Before becoming self-employed, Ruth studied Fashion Promotion then moved to the North West to start a family. She was working full time in merchandising when the idea of setting up a business came to her. ‘I wanted more flexibility as a mum, self-employment just made sense.’
The move into self-employment was quite an organic process for the mother of 3. Very few problems were encountered, ‘everything seemed to naturally fall into place.’ Originally a stylist, she later moved to make-up, as she realised that is what she was more passionate about.
‘I always enjoyed doing make up so I did a short course and went from there.’
Ruth looked for any business start-up support available and came across Train 2000, now The Women’s Organisation. She attended a range of courses including business planning, bookkeeping and understanding tax & national insurance to help her get Orchid Blush up and running.

Orchid Blush provides a mobile service for all occasions that will travel to any location in the North West. They also have a professional media team who specialise in commercial events such as television, red carpet and photo-shoots.

The business has attracted a number of high profile clients, including EMI Records, Sky 1, Kellogs, Honda, Channel 4, Peroni and Microsoft. Despite this, she still finds it surreal when a big client calls her up.

Ruth recently attended a series of EBEL master classes run by The Women’s Organisation, including ‘Using Linked in for business’ and ‘Marketing planning’. Although she has a background in marketing, she still found the courses very helpful and informative. She explained: ‘You have to appreciate the opportunities given to you on your journey, like courses and networking opportunities.’
For her, the best thing about being self-employed is that she enjoys her job. ‘I never dread going to work. I get to be creative and find the beauty on someone’s face, instead of putting a look on them. I really enjoy finding their look and seeing their reaction when they see how beautiful they are. I love giving people confidence, especially for special events like weddings.’

Another perk of being self-employed is having her own identity. ‘I feel fortunate to be able to be at home with my children, but then go to work and have an identity away from being a mother.’
Currently, Orchid Blush covers the whole of the North West but Ruth aims to expand the business in the future and break into the Midlands. With the business going strong and continuing to attract high profile clients, she hopes this will be sooner rather than later.

To see the amazing work Ruth and her team do, visit or contact them at  
You can also find Orchid Blush on Twitter: @OrchidBlush

And if like Ruth the flexibility and control of self-employment appeals to you, contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or for free business start-up advice and support.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Our Manchester Office @Ada_House Remembers Ada Lovelace

The Women's Organisation's office in Manchester on the edge of the Northern Quarter is fondly known as Ada House.  Prior to merging with The Women's Organisation, Ada House was home to Women's Electronic Village Hall, specialising in training for ICT skills. 

Ada House is located at 77 Thompson Street, M4 5FY and features office space, meeting and training rooms.  The Women's Organisation are proud that majority of tenants based at Ada House are third sector organisations.

You may have visited Ada House, and even held an event there, but did you know who it was named after?  We wanted to hi-light the reasons for the name that was kept post-merge as 'Ada House' commemorates a remarkable woman. 

Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace (10 December 1815 – 27 November 1852)

Augusta Ada Byron now commonly known as Ada Lovelace was born December 10, 1815 the daughter of the illustrious poet, Lord Byron. Five weeks after Ada was born Lady Byron asked for a separation from Lord Byron, and was awarded sole custody of Ada who she brought up to be a mathematician and scientist. Lady Byron was terrified that Ada might end up being a poet like her father. Despite Lady Byron's programming Ada did not sublimate her poetical inclinations. She hoped to be "an analyst and a metaphysician". In her 30's she wrote her mother, if you can't give me poetry, can't you give me "poetical science?" Her understanding of mathematics was laced with imagination, and described in metaphors.

As a young adult, her mathematical talents led her to an ongoing working relationship and friendship with fellow British mathematician Charles Babbage, and in particular Babbage's work on the analytical engine. Between 1842 and 1843, she translated an article by Italian military engineer Luigi Menabrea on the engine, which she supplemented with an elaborate set of notes of her own, simply called Notes. These notes contain what is considered to be the first computer program—that is, an algorithm encoded for processing by a machine. Lovelace's notes are important in the early history of computers. She also developed a vision on the capability of computers to go beyond mere calculating or number-crunching while others, including Babbage himself, focused only on those capabilities
Ada Lovelace died at the age of thirty-six, on 27 November 1852 from uterine cancer . In 1953, over one hundred years after her death, Ada's notes on Babbage's Analytical Engine were republished. The engine has now been recognized as an early model for a computer and Ada's notes as a description of a computer and software.

"Ada Lovelace Day" is an annual event celebrated in mid-October whose goal is to "...raise the profile of women in science, technology, engineering and maths."

Could you spare an hour or two for charity? Marie Curie @MCCC_Merseyside need your help!

Marie Curie Hospice in Liverpool are looking for volunteers to stand and collect for an hour or two (more if they wish!) on Friday 13th December.  They have a the license all day so they are open to flexible times for volunteering.

All money raised will be used to support local Marie Curie Nurses care for terminally ill patients in Merseyside.  If you are interested, you can call Colette on 0151 801 1405 or email

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

"The Economic Empowerment of Women Is a Business Issue"

This weekend published an article written by Adele Gulfo, stating that 'while most people still see the economic empowerment of women as an equality issue' it is in fact 'a business issue.'

The article states:

"According to a recent paper by Deloitte, economic studies show that corporations with women on boards and in senior leadership positions have a higher return on equity. In Europe, these returns have been estimated at more than 10 percent higher. There's a business case to be made for the results women bring to the table -- but to really see more women in leadership positions, we need CEOs and business leaders to understand that greater diversity at the most senior levels of business will help them gain a competitive advantage.
Why? Because diversity allows for better decision-making and less group-think. Diverse teams also produce more innovative solutions and products, deal more effectively with risk, and better relate with their customer base. Remember that almost 80 percent of consumer decisions are influenced by women. Up to this point, the conversation on this topic has largely been about fairness and goodwill. That needs to change. We must better articulate the superior business results that flow from leadership diversity if we are to generate a greater impetus for change."
The article then goes on to offer advice to women who are looking to get ahead in the business world, including: 
"My advice to women seeking to get ahead in business is to learn to speak up and become their own advocate... Women need to learn how to better challenge and influence authority while enhancing their persuasion skills."
"Developing your network and expressing your goals is also critical, as many leadership positions and project management appointments come from internal recommendations."
Read the full Huffington Post article here: 

Friday, November 1, 2013

Business Psychologist and Coach Sarah Connell Proves That A Positive Attitude Can Be Life Changing

Sarah Connell is a Business Psychologist and Coach. In 2013 she founded MindingMe Psychologists with the support of The Women's Organisation.

After finishing her degree in Psychology, Sarah Connell was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) at the age of 22, a neurological condition affecting the nervous system.

Before receiving the news, Sarah was considering doing a Masters degree and despite having doubts she decided that the condition was not going to get in her way. The following year she moved to Liverpool and completed her Master of Science (MSc) in Occupational Psychology.

At first her symptoms were limited, making it possible for her to take a full time consultancy job in Manchester. Unfortunately over the 5 years her symptoms progressed and although her employer was very supportive, Sarah began to question how much longer she could continue in full time employment.

‘My symptoms were getting worse and I was starting to feel anxious about the future. Would I be able to continue working in a full time job? One of the things it is important to ensure with MS is that you manage your symptoms by following a healthy lifestyle, which includes getting enough rest… I was finding it harder and that’s when I started to think about starting my own business.’

It was the flexibility that self-employment allows that appealed to her the most and although the idea was daunting, her friends and family were very supportive of the idea. However, she felt that she didn’t know where to start and needed more help.

By chance, the Liverpool resident came across a leaflet in LEAF on Bold Street about the services The Women’s Organisation can offer to women in Merseyside wanting to start up their own business.

‘It was scary at the start… It took me a long time to accept myself as a business woman. I felt like I needed to make more connections so contacted The Women’s Organisation. I thought that it looked exactly like the kind of thing I was looking for… They provided me with a business advisor who gave me lots of helpful advice. I also attended a number of helpful workshops about Tax and NI, marketing using a social media strategy etc.’

She continued: ‘At first I didn’t understand why a business plan was necessary but it helped to give me a structure, recognise and articulate my strengths and weaknesses and gave me a sense of being a proper business.’

Although Sarah considered her MS as a weakness at the start, she now feels that it has helped give her a different outlook on life…

‘Having a condition like MS is scary but I have overcome big barriers myself and that gives me the confidence to work with others doing the same thing. I am passionate about this and want to help other people to get the most out of their lives’

It was that confidence and optimism that allowed her to open MindingMe Psychologists as a Business Psychologist & Coach. Her unique selling point is that she has over 10 years’ experience working with high profile clients from the private, public and voluntary sectors, including NHS and Macmillan.

Sarah understands the psychology of coaching from a cognitive-behavioural perspective and applies a range of advanced coaching techniques to business, health, performance and life coaching. MindingMe offers clients an objective, supportive and non-judgemental way to help them overcome challenges and achieve their goals, which is completely tailored to the individual’s needs.

‘I work with people to help them reach their potential. I can help to improve their self-awareness, identify when their thinking is impacting on their performance and their ability to move forward in their lives, offering suggestions and strategies to help challenge any negative or unhelpful thinking.’

The most common issues MindingMe deal with include confidence building, overcoming procrastination, dealing with anxiety and stress, clarifying where people are going in their lives and their career.

The main message Sarah aims to get across is that ‘we are sometimes faced with big challenges in life that can feel overwhelming, but we don’t have to let them take over. We can take steps that will allow us to move forward in a positive way. People have the answers within themselves; I’m here to hold up a mirror to help find them.’

With these beliefs, MindingMe is currently going strong with a steady stream of clients and a very impressive 100% return rate. The long term aim is to grow the business further by opening up her own office and employing staff to help more people across Liverpool and the North West of England.

Sarah is a great example of what people can do when they work to keep a positive outlook and are open to the opportunities that arise from both positive and negative situations.

If you are looking to change an aspect of your life that you’re unhappy with, or would just like to find out more, you can visit or contact Sarah directly at or 07784 574 482.

And if you feel it's the right time to move forward with that idea you've had for a while, there is free support available from The Women's Organisation. Call 0151 706 8111 or email for more information.

By Beckie Kinsella

Historic Women @54StJamesStreet Home of @TheWomensOrgLiv: Margaret Simey

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 inspiring 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 Development (WICED).

Photography by Deena Kay

'Simey Suite', a stylish board room found on our third floor, is named after the inspirational Margaret Simey. Available to hire from £15 per hour, the room boasts chic boardroom furnishings, integrated IT including free wifi and a large flatcreen TV perfect for smaller training sessions or meetings. 

Margaret Simey (1906 – 2004)

Margaret Bayne Todd was born in Glasgow and was a political and social campaigner but is usually more associated with Liverpool, settling here in the 1920's and becoming the first woman to achieve a degree in sociology. She married Tom Simey, a political scientist at Liverpool University; he was later awarded a life peerage by Harold Wilson, but she did not use the title "Lady Simey". They had one son.  Serving as a magistrate in Liverpool, Margaret was awarded an honorary doctorate of the University of Liverpool for her services to the community and in 2002 was offered the honor of Freeman of the City of Liverpool, but declined.