Monday, June 30, 2014

FREE Legal, HR & Excel Advice from Experts

FREE Legal, HR & Excel Surgeries
Monday 14th July 2014 @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 14th July 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, marketing planning & other activity?

Expert in helping businesses get organised, Excel whizz Traci Williams from ExcelAce will be offering free excel advice surgeries on 14th July.  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!!

Are you taking on your first staff, or need some HR advice to support your existing team?
With over 20 years’ experience in human resources, HR expert Lorraine Cardwell has worked across a diverse range of sectors including telecoms, retail, manufacturing, financial services, further education, construction, logistics, facilities management, print and professional services. Lorraine set up Moonstone HR Consulting in 2008 and now works with businesses of all sizes, from SME’s to large organisations including well-known brands such as Halfords, Barratt Developments, Thomas Cook, Iceland Foods and Spirit Group.  Lorraine provides practical advice and expertise to employers on a wide range of HR issues, from handling disciplinary and grievance issues to designing and delivering management training programmes. 

Places are limited so priority will be given particularly, but not exclusively to:
•Members of The Women’s Organisation Business Club & Tenants of 54 St James Street
•And on a first come first served basis

For info contact 0151 706 8111 or email

How to spend nothing on promoting your business: PR, Networking & Advertising

When starting a business from scratch finance can be limited to begin with until sales are generated - however the problem is that without promoting your new product or service effectively, potential customers will not know that your business exists.

Here are the third in our series of suggestions for free/cost effective ways you could factor into your marketing plan to help reach your target customer:

1     Public Relations (PR)
Getting your business featured in a local newspaper or magazine is one of the cheapest and effective ways of informing people about your business. Simply read the business sections of each newspaper and the relevant trade magazines to find out which journalists write about businesses and entrepreneurs. The next step is to contact the journalist directly to see if they would be interested in your publicising your business story.  Try a call first to build relationship and follow up with an email.

2.      Networking
Business networking is about meeting other business people and finding ways to work together. The Women's Organisation offer networking through business club, but there are tons of fantastic events out there. Eventbrite is one of the best places to find events going on in your area, or join linkedin networking groups and check on facebook events for more ideas. 
Whenever you go network remember the golden rule is to listen first.  Listening to what the other person has to say may hi-light what they might be most interested in about your product or service. 

3.      Online Directories
Advertising in hard copy and online versions of local business directories such as Yellow Pages ( and Thomson ( is another free promotional method to add your basic details such as business name, type of business and contact number so that your target market can contact you.

Not all methods will work for every business, marketing can be a case of trial and error. One marketing effort that works for one business may not work for another, therefore it is advisable that you have some way of measuring the success of each promotional method. 

To receive free business start-up advice and guidance contact The Women’s Organisation on 0151 706 8111 or 

Government Ambassador for Women's Enterprise Lorely Burt MP Joins IFB2014

The Women’s Enterprise Policy Group UK, The Women’s Organisation and Downtown in Business invite women who are starting or running their own business to meet with Lorely Burt MP, recently named as the government lead for women’s enterprise, as part of the International Festival of Business 2014. 
Lorely Burt MP
'Women in Enterprise, Essential for our Economy?' aims to start a discussion on what can be done to support more women to start and grow their own business. At this interesting event women will have the chance to hear from a panel of experts and the opportunity to discuss their own thoughts on the challenges and benefits women face in trying to start and grow a business in the UK. This event is the ideal forum for women to directly contribute their ideas and suggestions but also get expert advice and support. The event will also serve as a great networking opportunity for women.    
Lorely Burt MP will be joined on the panel by business experts - Jackie Brierton, Managing Director and Policy Director of Women's Enterprise Scotland and Michael Burrow, Regional Director, Business Banking RBS/ Nat West North of England.
This event taking place on Friday 11th July 2pm-4.30pm at 54 St James Street in the Baltic Triangle will be chaired by Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Organisation and Chair of WEPG UK and sponsored by Natwest.
Booking is essential as places are limited places for this event

Business Barbie Revealed. Does it Really Represent Women Entrepreneurs?

Toy manufacturers Mattel this month have launched a new 'Entrepreneur Barbie' with the claim it is helping to raise aspirations of young girls with the toy.  But the release of the new 'pink and powerful' figure has refreshed the debate - what does a female entrepreneur look like? Do all women entrepreneurs have flowing hair and a penchant for pink? Are we all tech savvy and attached at the hip to the latest gadgets?

The doll retailing at $12.99 via Mattel comes in different ethnicities, hair colour and eye colour, but each choice features standard Barbie tiny waist size, pink power dress and are accessorised by a smartphone, clutchbag, tablet and necklace.

Having worked with women entrepreneurs since 1996, The Women's Organisation Ltd. have met with women from every walk of life pursuing a plethora of amazing business ideas. One thing we are very clear on, every woman is different (and actually not many of us like to wear pink). 

Women start their own business for a variety of reasons.  For some it is following a life long dream to be their own boss, others find themselves battling unemployment and decide to utilise their skills to create their own job, for some it is finding a career that can flexibly fit around the family, and others simply find self-employment the right fit for them. 

It has been hi-lighted by media that Mattel hoped that the toy would 'raise aspirations of young girls', but how much do a pink dress and gadgets show young women the hard work and commitment that women entrepreneurs put in every day to make their business dream a reality?

Sydney University body image expert Professor Jenny O'Dea told The Sydney Morning Herald the "new" barbie was the same old stereotype that we have have seen for decades.
"It's just the same, unattainable, physical, out of proportion body ideals put in a business suit with accessories and lipstick," Professor O'Dea said. "It really is laughable to suggest to young women that to be successful in a career these days you just need corporate clothes and high-tech IT gear."

In fact we couldn't help agreeing with Liz Tilatti in her Forbes Article "Why Entrepreneur Barbie Missed the Mark" where she confesses her experience of women entrepreneurs. 

Liz says "We don’t walk around wearing pearls nor heels nor formal dresses all the time. If you’re an entrepreneur starting a company, you’re usually dressed in what’s most comfortable to you – jeans, a more casual shirt and flats – mainly because you’re running around all day." reported "Mattel is also giving its newest Barbie a built-in social network, in the form of a partnership with 10 (human) entrepreneurswomen who serve as the doll's "Chief Inspirational Officers," or CIOs. The group includes the founders of Rent the Runway, One Kings Lane, and Girls Who Code. Together, the real-life women suggest the assumption that Barbie's shift-dress-y synergies will allow girls to better imagine themselves as entrepreneurs. As Reshma Saujani, the founder of Girls Who Code, explains“You can’t be what you can’t see.” 
Real life role models are something we very much endorse, in fact on this very blog you can read some of the inspirational stories of women who have come through our programmes. We would love to share some of these women's stories and images with Mattel.  Maybe then we would see an entrepreneur we could recognise.

What do you think of Entrepreneur Barbie?  

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Getting Involved with @IFB2014

Are you hearing lots about IFB2014 but have not yet got involved?  Wondering how you as a small business can link in and benefit from the International Festival of Business being in Liverpool during June and July?

Here are some handy hints for getting yourself right in the thick of things and maximising the IFB2014 opportunity.

1.  Visit the Website
The website for IFB is  and it holds all the information you need about utilising the Business Brokerage service, what's on, how to connect and what is happening in terms of business and culture

2. Sign up for IFB Business Club
Membership is FREE and it is so simple to sign up.  Membership will grant you free access to the IFB hub at Mann Island, access to the business brokerage service, delegate information and much more. Sign up here.

3. Attend Events
There's a plethora of business events going on, some carry a cost, but many are free to attend. Check out the IFB Calendar of events and find ones that will benefit you and your business. We have put together a handy guide of our top picks for women in business to help you zoom in on some International Festival of Business hi-lights that you may find useful.

4. Apply for 50% Discount
For some IFB events are eligible for those in the Liverpool City Region to apply for 50% refund on the cost of attendance.  Check your eligibility and apply here.

If you are looking for additional support to grow your business, The Women's Organisation may be able to assist through our Venture Accelerator Programme. Contact our team on to check eligibility and for more information. 

Monday, June 16, 2014

Top #IFB2014 Picks for Women

The International Festival of Business has kicked off in Liverpool, and there is a buzz about women in business building in the city. If you are looking through the event programme wondering which events to choose from, here are some of our hot picks for women in business.

From Good to Great - A Woman's Journey in Business Monday 16th June 1.30-4.30pm

Panel discussion with Edwina Dunn, co-creator of Tesco Club card, Penney Frohling of Ernst & Young, Karen Gallagher of MDI chaired by Pam Ball of Knowsley CVS.  Hosted by The Women's Organisation and Downtown Liverpool in partnership with What I See Project. FREE Event (Fully booked)

Women Inspiring the Economy - Women 1st Wednesday 18th June 9.00am-7.30pm

Whether you work in government, corporate or not-for-profit, this is an event that will challenge the way you view your career and inspire you to leap onto the next rung.  As the number of career opportunities for women grows in the UK, this event will shine a light on the women and businesses that are leading the way. You will be able to choose the most relevant talks, workshops and activities to best support your development.  Tickets from £129

Inspire Women's Conference - This Lady Loves Thursday 19th June 9.00am-5.00pm

Women inspiring women - Fabulous guest speakers and a wide range of exhibition stands focusing on women in business. Providing an opportunity to network with like-minded people, and a focus on female entrepreneurs. This full day event is geared towards female entrepreneurs and business women from all industries, and open to anyone who wishes to attend. Tickets from £55 

Global Convention of Visionary Women - Friday 11th July 9.00am-5.00pm

This one day convention will focus on empowering women globally to overcome the potential barriers they encounter, and contribute in strategic leadership roles towards the economic, social, and political development of their respective countries, and share good practice. This interesting event is hosted by Voice of Nationas CIC.  Tickets start at £45

Women in Enterprise -Essential for the Economy? Friday 11th July 2.00pm-4.30pm

A panel discussion with government ambassador for women's enterprise Lorely Burt MP.  This event is hosted by The Women's Organisation and Women's Enterprise Policy Group UK and sponsored by Natwest. Open to women thinking of starting a business, or those running their business who would like to discuss with our panel the real issues effecting women in business. FREE Event.

Unlocking Your Potential - Enterprising Women IFB2014 Thursday 24th July 9.30am-3.30pm

1 day conference including contributions from Councillor Hazel Williams - Chair of Mayoral Scrutiny Committee, Elaine Moore - Regional Chair of the Federation of Small Business Zi Lan Liao - Internationally renowned musician and Director of Pagoda Arts Sally Kah - Founder of Eighteen Forever Karen Bellion - Director and Founder of Othella LLP Hawa Sydique - Head of Enterprising Women Eileen Lennon - Enterprising Women's Business Director.

Tickets are £40 for EW Members & £50 for non-members.  Enterprising Women & Othella LLP are offering 2 free tickets to members of The Women's Organisation Business Club.  If you would like to take up the free tickets you must follow event organisers @ewnetwork @Othella_LLP on Twitter and tweet "@TheWomensOrg I am an Enterprising Women! Please pick me for 24th July @Othella_LLP offer  #WOBusinessClub".  

Liverpool Organisation Wins National Funding Award

The Women’s Organisation and their “Promoting Opportunities for Women in Enterprise and Regeneration” POWER project beat off stiff national competition to win £50K award to support their work helping women to start up their own business.  The Women’s Organisation is based at the International Centre for Enterprise Development at 54  St James Street  works with women from diverse communities and backgrounds, enabling, assisting and inspiring them to believe in their abilities, flourish in both new and existing businesses and in employment, and take a full and active part in their communities. We enable women to access the funding and facilities, experience and expertise that they need to succeed.

The Promoting Opportunities for Women in Enterprise and Regeneration (POWER) project aims to help to 300 women in the Liverpool area who are considering starting up their own business or enterprise, through an extensive enterprise awareness-raising programme, learning and skills development activities and financial support.  Taster sessions will allow women to explore if self-employment or community enterprise is the right option for them. Those who are interested in developing further will be offered confidence-building support, one-to-one business coaching and training including business planning, selling for success and social media. POWER will also offer a virtual business incubation tenancy. On-going support and advice will be available for up to three years.

Access to the Business Network Club will open up networking and support for women who have been through the POWER programme. It will provide opportunities for women to connect with and get support from established female entrepreneur role models.

POWER has drawn from the experience of US, Canadian and New Zealand projects successfully bringing women into business and will support potential female entrepreneurs who live in deprived communities in the Liverpool city region and are disadvantaged as a result of being unemployed, economically inactive, disabled or from a BME community.

 “It is another winner for Liverpool and the Women’s Organisation and the RBS Inspiring Women in Enterprise grant means that we’ll be able to support women who want to be involved with the programme and many of those  women come from the most poverty-stricken areas of Liverpool so it will have a hugely positive impact on their lives.” Maggie O’ Carroll, Chief Executive Officer, The Women’s Organisation and we would ask any woman thinking about starting their own business to give us a call  0151 706 8111 and we can provide all the help they need.  

Sefton Women Benefit from FREE Business Start Up Support

If you are a Sefton resident that has a business idea, you don’t have to go far to get support with The Women’s Organisation offering business advice appointments in your area.

You can meet with one of our business advisors at any of the following venues across Sefton:

·         Waterloo –  Costa Coffee, South Road
·         Bootle – Sefton@Work, Stanley Rd
·         Crosby – Crosby Library
            Southport – Cafe Nero, Chapel St or Southport Atkinson Library

Through a mixture of helpful workshops and one to one business advice sessions, The Women’s Organisation offer local women advice on a variety of topics relevant to their start-up journey. The workshops provide information on tax and national insurance, basic bookkeeping, selling online, social media and writing a business plan.

Understanding Tax & National Insurance - Informative half day session on Tax and National Insurance contributions for self-employment.

Building a Social Media Strategy – A half day workshop that provides a great overview of different marketing techniques and social media tools that can be used to promote your business online.

Basic Book Keeping - This lively and interactive half-day session will enhance your book keeping skills. Through simple techniques you will learn how to manage your business finances.

Selling Online: From Ebay to Etsy – This half day workshop provides an overview of the different online marketplaces available and the pros and cons of using each one.

Planning for Success - Open to women with a clear business idea this 2 day workshop 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.

£200 Start-up Grant Package – After you have started up your business with our support, you will become eligible for our grant package, which is made up of 2 choices from our list that total £200, including specialist training courses, £100 funding paid into your business bank account and 6 months free virtual office services

Access up to £10,000 in Start-up Loans - Our business advice team work in partnership with a number of local funding organisations and can support women to access additional finance to get started via business start-up loan schemes. 

If you would like to book in to see one of our business advisors or would like to know more, contact 0151 706 8111 / or visit

Throughout June and July to coincide with the International Festival of Business The Women's Organisation are holding #SummerStartUp drop in sessions across Sefton and wider Merseyside for women who would like to find out more before booking a business advice appointment.  To find your nearest venue visit 

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Be 'Serious About Your Health' with Natural Health Consultant Dalbinder Bains

After working in Lloyds bank in their SME division as a client manager and auditor for 16 years, South Liverpool resident Dalbinder Bains began to realise that her passions and long term future plans laid elsewhere when her mother fell ill. 
Photo: Jessica Lang Photography
She told The Women’s Organisation: ‘I was beginning to lose the enjoyment element in my work which made me start to look at my short and long-term future. I took my mum to visit a Naturopath and this lead me to want to know more about Natural Health. Whilst working full time I embarked on a Herbal Medicine degree, initially for pleasure, but then realised as I was becoming more immersed in the world of complementary medicine that it was a world that I was passionate about. I was especially interested in how I could really make a difference to people and their quality of life. I then thought why not study for a degree in nutrition and try to make a career out of it.’

10 years on, Medical Herbalist & Nutritional Therapist Dalbinder is an expert in her field, running a successful business, 'SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH' that offers a bespoke programme of support and guidance to people who have health issues or wish to maximise their health and wellbeing. This includes advice on herbal medicine, diet, lifestyle and supplements. She bases her programmes on evidence and science based medicine and keeps herself updated with continuing professional development, more recently teaching on degree level courses.

‘I feel privileged that I am working in an area that I am passionate about. I really wish to educate and empower people to see that often small simple changes can make a significant difference to wellbeing. There is so much misinformation out there and sometimes we all need support and guidance. I am focusing more and more on healthy ageing and how we can be the best we can be through our 50’s, 60’s and beyond. We do not have to accept that with ageing comes ill health.’

‘The service I offer is unique and I truly am an expert, having spent 8 years studying and 10 years practicing in this field. My guidance and programmes are aimed at my clients specific health aims and therefore bespoke. Not being affiliated to any 1 product company enables me to source the best healthcare plan including the best supplements and herbal remedies as appropriate for each client.’

After moving to Liverpool several years ago, the mother of one contacted The Women’s Organisation, formally Train 2000, for extra business support.

‘I think The Women’s Organisation is an incredible high quality resource for the local women in business. We are very lucky here in the Northwest. I have been on numerous courses and found them particularly helpful initially when my little boy was under 5 when subsidy was given for childcare. I continue to be involved with the organisation and often revisit them for further training. I also value the networking group.’

 ‘The recent courses I have been on have been about Facebook and Twitter and I have made numerous contacts at their business club /networking events, which aim to bring together and support local business women across Merseyside. All of their events have great attendance figures and guest speakers. The team are excellent and I would feel comfortable approaching them for any support.’

For Dalbinder, the key to success in business is having a clear focus. ‘Spend time on setting up a business plan and marketing strategy. Focus on what you want to achieve. Go to The Women’s Organisation straight away and look at all the advice out there because it is there.’

With the support of her family, friends, business network and newly acquired business coach, Dalbinder is feeling very positive about the future of her business.

‘With my son now being of an age that I have more time, I will be spending the next few years focusing on my business. I now have 2 part time staff allowing me to focus on my strengths and growth of my business SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR HEALTH.  And now with a business coach, I feel that there are lots of opportunities for me and I am thinking about taking my business to the next level.’

Are you serious about your health? Then visit or contact her directly on 07841 393775 / for more information on the services provided and how you can book an appointment. 

If you would like to turn your passion into a business, contact The Women’s Organisation to find out about free support is available for new and existing businesses in Merseyside. / 0151 706 8111 –

Portrait photo by Jessica Lang Photography 

By Beckie Kinsella

Morecrofts Announce Return of Merseyside Independent Business Awards

After its successful launch last October, The Merseyside Independent Business Awards is set to return with a black tie dinner at Liverpool’s most exclusive venue, Rum Warehouse at the Titanic Hotel.

The ceremony was launched by law firm Morecrofts to help mark their 200th anniversary year, last year, by celebrating the rich abundance of successful independent businesses in the Liverpool City Region. 

Managing partner at Morecrofts, Alison Lobb said: “We were astounded and delighted with the response from the awards last year, so much so that it was very quickly decided that the awards should return in 2014.

“There has already been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to ensure we succeed in marking the achievements of businesses who so often go under the radar. Small and micro businesses being led by risk takers and innovators, enterprising people who are doing so much for our local economy – those are the very people these awards are designed around.”

The Merseyside Independent Business of the Year 2014 will be awarded with an impressive twelve month business support package, that will include business services and advice that could help change the face of a local business in 2015.

The Merseyside Independent Business Awards were set up to acknowledge the importance of the independent business community in Merseyside and help to forge relationships and build a platform for independent businesses to thrive, imparting a legacy for future local entrepreneurs.
Event organisers are working with local stakeholders and experienced business leaders to ensure the campaign is a success.

Alison Lobb added: “We are calling out to all businesses of all shapes and sizes to be involved. The response last year was fantastic, but it was only the beginning. Merseyside Independent Business Awards 2014 is set to be bigger, better and will have more impact for the independent businesses in our region.”

Nominations open today (5th June 2014) and a panel of professional adjudicators has been identified to help define a shortlist. The campaign will culminate with the glittering awards dinner to be held on Thursday 2nd October.

For more information on the awards, please visit