Thursday, July 28, 2016

Liverpool Loves Business Returns & This Year Welcomes Enterprise Hub

Thursday 4th August sees the return of Liverpool Loves Business festival, a free one day conference for the local business community to soak in expert advice on how to create a business you will love.

This year joining the bill will be our own Jo Austin representing the recently launched Liverpool City Region Enterprise Hub, the central gateway for business start-up support. 

Jo said "I'm excited to join the festival this year.  There is a great line up of Entrepreneurs and experts contributing on the day and I'm looking forward to hearing from them as well as inspiring those who come along about how they can create a business they will love". 

Liverpool Loves will run for 3 days in total from 4th-6th August with a different focus each day including Business, Culture, Food and Well Being. Visit the Liverpool Loves Website for a full festival run down.

The business conference will round off with 'The Bigger Pitcher' an opportunity for local businesses to compete for up to £5,000 in prize money. Tickets to the 'Liverpool Loves Business' conference on 4th August are available FREE! Below is the programme for the day. Tickets can be booked via eventbrite.  The first 100 people arriving in the morning will even be treated to a free breakfast, so don't be tardy for the party. See you there!

To find out more about the support available to men and women in Liverpool City Region through Enterprise Hub, contact our team on 0151 706 8113 or 

Friday, July 22, 2016

Digital Giants Apple Teams Up With The Women’s Organisation Business Club!

We have a special announcement to make; we’ve been making some exciting new friends recently! We are delighted to announce that the masters of the technological world, Apple will be working in partnership with The Women’s Organisation Business Club!

So if you’re a member of The Women’s Organisation Business Club then you can look forward to lots of interactions with Apple over the coming months as we will be introducing interesting ways in which our members can access the great support and services that Apple have to offer for businesses!

Moving forward, the Liverpool ONE Apple Store will be developing a working relationship with The Women’s Organisation Business Club over the coming months. This will be kicking off with Business Club Members being able to meet the Apple Store team at Thursday’s Summer Speed Networking event!

So if you’re coming along to Business Club on Thursday (28th July) then we invite you to bring along your iPads or iPhones and pick the digital minds of the Apple Store team! From Phone Photography to Power Your Workday with iPad, there are always tonnes of great workshops happening down at the Apple Store, so we are looking forward to our Business Club Members being able to access some of the incredible knowledge that this team obviously have!

As well as the fantastic lot from the Apple Store, we also have a few special tricks up our sleeves for Thursday... 

The session is going to be almost purely dedicated to making key business connections through speedy networking sessions, with The WO Business Club team on hand to help make the introductions that you need!

We will also be scattering a handful of some key experts around the room to make the night even more valuable for you! 

We will be joined by Finance and Insurance experts Louise Casey and Carrie Arnold from Business Club’s Headline Sponsors, Mitchell Charlesworth, Web Extraordinaire Sue Flannery of Cyberfrog Design Ltd. and our own WO Business Advisers. This superstar team will be stationed around the room and will be on hand to give free advice and support if you have any burning questions or ideas that you want to bounce off of them!  

So! What are you waiting for? An audience with Apple and a great selection of business and web experts as well as assistance meeting the businesses that you want and need! Come along to our Summer Speed Networking evening on Thursday 28th July, 6-8:30pm at 54 St James Street with £5 tickets for Business Club Members!

Remember even if you're not a Member of Business Club you are more than welcome to attend and can purchase a Non Member ticket for £10 or if you would like to join Business Club then email for more details. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016

9 Expert Tips To Help Get Your Invoices Paid In Full And On Time

Jenny Esau
For any business, from start-ups to established, getting your invoices paid in full and on time should be extremely high up on the priority list. Encouraging customers to pay on time will not only keep your cash flow flowing in the right direction, but it will also reduce your business’ risk to bad debt. So here we have compiled nine top tips that you can use to encourage timely payment:

Credit risk management can save you a lot of time and money

Having processes in place for credit risk management will reduce your business’ risk to bad debt. Budding entrepreneurs often don’t think about the financial risk of starting a new business, rather they focus a great deal on sales without thinking about their customer’s ability to pay when payment is due. Credit risk procedures can include:

· Credit application forms

· Credit checks

· Monitoring

· Trade references

Carrying out these methods of due diligence with a prospective customer can mean the difference between getting paid quickly and having a debt eating away at your time and money because you weren’t aware of your customer’s poor credit rating.

Make sure your terms and conditions are suitable

Terms and conditions are essential to any business; depending on whose terms and conditions have been accepted you need to ensure that they are suitable for your business. If you are under your customer’s terms and conditions, make sure you read them thoroughly and negotiate on any points that you don’t agree with before accepting. If you customer is under your terms and conditions ensure that you have appropriate clauses in them for non-payment of invoices (such as late payment legislation), as well as receiving adequate acceptance from them (this can include verbal, written or conduct).

Check and double check invoices

Invoicing can lead to some of the most common excuses for delayed payment in the book: ‘I haven’t received the invoice’, ‘it has been sent to the wrong person’, ‘the price is wrong’, ‘the order number is wrong’ and many many more. Mistakes with invoicing will lead to delays with your customers’ payment, so ensuring that mistakes are kept to a minimum will greatly help you to get paid in a timely manner. It is a good idea to ask whoever sends your invoices to copy you into the email, that way, should your customer state they haven’t received the invoice, you can confirm that they did indeed receive it by forwarding the initial email, subsequently you are not obliged to give them any further time for payment.

Organisation is vital

Organisation with regards to credit control can apply to a number of different things. You should organise when you will chase particular customers, and how you will chase them (i.e. by email, phone or letter). Organise customer accounts into customer types, for example, key accounts, high risk and low risk customers; then apply s collection strategy appropriate to each customer type.

Ensure you are consistent and persistent

Waiting until cash flow is tight to chase for payments or giving your customer weeks upon weeks of time to get back to you will obviously not help you to get paid quickly and on time. Consistently chasing your invoices when they fall due will help your customers to fall into a pattern of payment, and eventually your customer will hopefully understand when you expect payment without prompting. The same goes for following up with a customer, let them know when you will call back for an update on payment, and stick to your word; this will spur your customer on to find a quicker answer or resolution.

Remember that credit control is a customer facing role

Your credit controllers should be friendly, polite and persistent, as well as able to form good business relationships with customers. If you think about it, credit controllers are the people encouraging customers to pay, therefore having great customer service skills is essential to the role, people will be less influenced by people they dislike.

Work with sales not against them

I have been introduced many times as the ‘anti-sales manager’ when entering a business as their new credit manager. It is a very common misconception that credit controllers work against sales to get payment in. Sales and credit control should work hand in hand to ensure that all credit management procedures are put into place at the outset, so that the order to cash process will run smoothly and payment will be received at the correct time.

Use the leverage available to you to encourage payment

The leverage you can use to encourage payment from your customer should be outlined in your terms and conditions. These can include:

· Adding interest onto late payment

· Withholding goods or services for non-payment (also known as a credit stop or credit hold policy)

· Withholding goods or services when the account exceeds a pre-determined credit limit

If you are worried about actually adding interest, or putting your customer on credit hold, usually just a polite warning that this will happen within a specified number of days if payment is not received, is enough to spur customers to pay.

Thank your customer

It may sound simple, but thanking your customer once they have made payment can go a long way with regards to your customer relationship, as it shows their prompt payment has not gone unnoticed.

Thanks to our guest blogger Jenny Esau, the Managing Director of Credit Management Group UK; delivering effective B2B credit management solutions for businesses in a range of industries to improve cash flow, reduce risk to bad debt and protect profits. Their services include: outsourced collections, credit management consultancy, training, toolkit and low cost support.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

New 'Change It' Programme Starting NEXT WEEK Supporting Women with a Mental Health Condition

Following the successful pilot project of 'change it' run by The Women's Organisation earlier this year, we are pleased to announce we have our next 8 week programme starting on Tuesday 26th July 10am-2pm. 'Change it' offers women living in Liverpool who have a diagnosed mental health condition opportunity to meet weekly with women in a similar situation to them, and to work together towards positive change. Guided by experienced Training Coordinator Bernie Cox, the women will be supported to develop new tools for building a more positive future and opportunity to start to think about future goals. 

Photography by Jess Lang Photography

We asked some of the women who took part in the last 'change it' programme what they will be taking away. Here is what they told us:

“I’m taking away self-belief in my own ability. I feel what I embark on I can achieve. I’m hopeful for the future.”

“It highlighted what I have actually done. I’ve got a book now with all of my achievements in. I can look and say ‘I’ve done that, and I’ve done that’.”

“Last week we were talking about ‘why wait’. It made me think yes, why wait? So I’m definitely going to go to college or something. You tend to think that while you are in recovery, oh I’ll just wait until…, but why? Why just sit at home? I might as well do things now.”

During the 8 week programme women will look at:

  • Positive Thinking and Learning about Yourself

Developing positive thinking skills and how to think effectively

Identifying positive achievements in our lives

Identifying our beliefs and values and how this impacts on our relationships and decisions

Completing a ‘learning styles’ questionnaire to understand what type of learner we are and how this can affect us

  • Breaking negative thinking habits

How to Become a More Assertive You

Understanding the difference between assertive, passive and aggressive behaviours.

Learning how to say no in a positive way

Building your communication skills

  • Managing Change

Understanding the impact of transition

Learning about where you are in your transition curve

  • How to Present Yourself with Confidence

Accepting compliments

Understanding how to avoid self-sabotage

  • Building an Effective Employability Toolkit

Setting achievable goals

Understanding the difference between skills and qualities

Completing a skills audit and developing a personal profile

  • Understanding How to Get the Job You Want

Understanding the process of job applications and requirements of employers

Learning how to present yourself with confidence at interview

If you are working with women you feel may benefit from joining this programme, or are a woman with a mental health condition who is ready to make a positive change and would like to find out more, please contact Bernie Cox on 0151 706 8111 or

Introducing Our Newest Trustee – Jayne Croft of Brabners

We are delighted to introduce you to the newest member of The Women’s Organisation’s board of directors – Jayne Croft, a solicitor with Brabners LLP.

The Women’s Organisation’s charity and trading arms are both led by voluntary boards of trustees and directors who are drawn from the private, public and social economy sectors. We have always placed a strong emphasis on attracting and retaining a diverse board of trustees with the values, qualifications, skills and experience to set the organisations strategic direction and to oversee the effective stewardship of its resources and activities.

We sat down with the newest member of The WO’s board of directors, Jayne, to find out all about her, her work and how she became involved with The Women’s Organisation.

Our newest Trustee - Jayne Croft
Jayne Croft is a Corporate Solicitor at Brabners, a specialist commercial law firm who advise on all aspects of Corporate Law, and are a Top 100 law firm. Jayne has been with Brabners for nearly a year. Prior to this Jayne studied at Liverpool John Moores University, completing both a law degree and a masters before starting working as a paralegal at a legal aid firm.

‘From there I moved into litigation and it was then that I began training to be a solicitor. As well as my training I took my legal practice course as an evening class, and then qualified as a solicitor at Brabners.’

‘At Brabners, the work that I do is quite varied. I’m on the corporate side of things so this means I mostly deal with mergers and acquisitions (buying and selling businesses), raising funding for investment, setting up companies and giving advice on governance and incorporations.’

But this hasn’t always been Jayne’s career path, despite always having an interest in law. She told us; ‘I’ve always been interested in this topic - Ever since I was about 10 or 11, I was interested in the way that they law can be used to help people.’

Before qualifying as a solicitor, Jayne worked towards opening her own business. After graduating from her undergraduate degree in 2009 she found herself beginning her career in the middle of the credit crunch: ‘Any hope of getting a job was already small, and then it went from small to non-existent. It was then that I decided to do my masters and also looked into self-employment.’

The Women's Organisation Board Members; Jayne Croft, Sue Oshikanlu, Pat Shea-Halson, Gill Moglione and CEO Maggie O'Carroll
‘At that point I wasn’t sure if staying in law was the right things to do, because the corporate and commercial sides of law really hit rock bottom alongside the recession. Lots of firms were closing or had stopped taking on people, so looking into self-employment seemed like a good idea. I found the Enterprise Fellowship Scheme at Liverpool John Moores University over the summer before I was due to start studying for my masters, applied and got a place.’

Jayne worked through the Enterprise Fellowship Scheme on her business idea but it sadly fell through as she struggled find the right premises. ‘To be honest, I spent the next year regretting not doing it, but then I fell back into law and realised that law was what I wanted to do. To try and study for a masters and open a business at the same time would have been really hard, so it probably worked out for the best, but at the time, that realisation was difficult.’

Business acumen must be in Jayne’s blood - not only is it something that she uses in her role at Brabners now, but it’s something that she grew up with - Jayne’s parents were both self-employed. ‘They had a market stall and then started manufacturing before going into retail. I remember my childhood was getting dragged from one market to another so it’s always seemed very normal to me, what with accountants and wholesalers coming round to the house all the time!’

How did Jayne end up becoming our newest board member? Jayne told us that she had been watching the organisation for a while and has always been interested in working with us. She said; ‘I always like to have some things going on outside of my work, and to try to do as much as I can for charities too.  Previously I was on the board of governors’ at The Liverpool Women’s Hospital, so I’ve always tried to have that dimension to me, and subconsciously it’s always leaned towards places that promote equality, but I have a real interest in enterprise so this seemed like a natural move.’

Jayne met our CEO Maggie O’Carroll at the end of last year at a Roscoe Lecture on Eleanor Rathbone and started speaking to Maggie about opportunities within The Women’s Organisation board; ‘I said that I wanted to get involved and help out in any way that I could and that’s how it all came about.’

‘Because of the job that I do, I think that there is probably a lot that I can bring to the table. As well as this, I’ve got experience of being on boards previously, and have also been a service user so can relate to what people want and need from an organisation which I think is important.’

 We are delighted to welcome Jayne Croft to the board of The Women’s Organisation and know that she is going to be a fantastic addition to a great team of board members. Thank you Jayne for taking the time to speak to us, and welcome to the family! 

Friday, July 15, 2016

The Women's Organisation hosts first Successful Enterprise Hub Start-up Conference with Startup Direct

This week The Women's Organisation opened the doors of 54 St. James Street to local men and women who were thinking of starting a business, to celebrate the launch of the new Enterprise Hub programme for Liverpool City Region.  The Enterprise Hub Start-up conference run in partnership between The Women's Organisation and Startup Direct gave attendees opportunity to hear from business owners who have recently been through the process of starting a business themselves, and chance to reflect on the practicalities of self-employment. 

The conference starting with 20 minutes to network and get to know each other, with conference host Jo Austin encouraging the attendees "the first thing to learn is business is to take every opportunity to promote who you are and what you do". One guest said "it’s great to be able to network so easily". 

Nick Bell from event sponsors Startup Direct, told us about Startup Direct’s loan scheme for businesses. Startup Direct is a delivery partner of the Governments Start Up Loans Scheme that provides up to £25,000 in start-up funding for entrepreneurs wanting to start a business. Nick gave some great examples of how Startup loans can be used to finance big or small start up projects, and are a great option for those who may have struggled in the past to access finance through more traditional routes. 

Next we heard from Tom Rogers who left his secure teaching role-as a history teacher, to set up his own business, in his words, in the pursuit of "freedom". Tom set up Rogers History, a business which uses the internet to tutor teachers and students. Tom gave an interesting, animated speech sharing the realities of needing to adapt his business idea to suit the market place and preparing to build it slowly and methodicly. 

Nick Bell from Startup Direct pictured with Tom Rogers

Following a quick break to stretch our legs and grab another pastry we heard from another business owner, Jenn Appleton. Jenn is the owner and an instructor at Kumon Woolton, which is part of a franchise that provides study programmes for maths and English, in order to build children’s confidence and inspire a passion for learning. Jenn went on to tell us how life changing experiences forced her to take action and remember how life’s too short so she must seize the opportunity to do something she loves. Jenn received support from The Women's Organisation to start her business earlier this year and raved saying it is the best thing she has ever done. A guest said that it was good "hearing the experiences of other business start ups".

Jenn Appleton from Kumon Woolton
Once Jenn’s inspiring talk had concluded, all the guests introduced themselves to the group, showing bravery, which is needed to be self-employed. There was a range of different backgrounds, but there was an underlying theme of an education background showing through, perhaps highlighting the stress that the teaching industry is under at present and the urge many teachers feel to look for a change in career.

Those attending were led in a dicussion by Jo Austin from The Women's Organisation to think about the pros and cons of being self-employed. Some examples of cons were that you need to be self-disciplined and flexible. However on the other side of the argument there were ideas mentioned such as having higher aspiration and more freedom to experiment with ideas. There were positives thoughts on the pros and cons exercise with one attendee saying "it was a good exercise to make more aware of what you’re buying into".

The conference received great feedback with attendees saying "it was very informative", "inspiring" and "useful for someone looking for a starting point". Many of the attendees are going to continue to pursue their dream of owning their own successful business with support from the Enterprise Hub programme following the event.

If you have an idea for a business then contact Enterprise Hub to find out about the free advice and support available to men and women in the Liverpool City Region on 0151 706 8113 or

We'd like to say a massive thank you to Nick and Startup Direct for sponsoring the event and helping to make it possible. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Thought Leader #5 | Lesley Dixon | Chief Executive PSS

The Women’s Organisation Thought Leader Series is back with our fifth reflection. We have previously spoken to Hana Awwad of Chocolate Envelope Designs, Jennie Riding from Ancorra Environmental Services Ltd, Lisa Pearson from the Hampson Hughes Group and Maggie Mullan, Principal at Maggie Mullan Architects Ltd. This time we asked CEO of PSS Lesley Dixon to share her thoughts with us following her award success earlier this year. Here is what Lesley told us.

Lesley Dixon Chief Executive PSS

"I was asked to write this having won the Chief Executive’s award in the Women in Business Awards. These awards are about women excelling in leadership positions across the city. Right now it is difficult to ignore the issue of women leaders. As things stand our next Prime Minister will be a woman and there is a challenge from a woman to lead the opposition; although given the recent pace of events that could all change by the time I finish writing this!

Those of you know that know PSS will probably know us as a major provider of services in the health and social care area, both in this city and across a number of regions in the UK – but there’s so much more to the organisation. Not only have ideas such as Citizens Advice Bureau and Legal Aid come from PSS; it also has a rich story to tell on women in leadership roles.

PSS was founded by Eleanor Rathbone. And Eleanor Rathbone was Chair of PSS for a number of years. From its inception in 1919 PSS has had a paid senior staff member; our first General Secretary was a woman called Dorothy Keeling. To have two women at the helm back at that point in time was pretty radical. And PSS’ focus on women didn’t stop there. Our founder Eleanor Rathbone campaigned for and oversaw the introduction of what was known as family allowance – an amount of money paid weekly to the mother as opposed to the father. PSS also supported women in the face of powerful opposition – on one occasion from the Catholic Church. Many years ago PSS was giving family planning advice to married women. PSS had agreed not to advise Catholic women, but the Catholic Church wanted PSS to stop this activity in its entirety. But we didn’t, because we didn’t think this was the right thing to do. There followed a stand-off with the church, but PSS didn’t back down. A number of volunteers stopped giving their time, but they were more than compensated for by new people who saw that PSS was doing what it believed to be right.

And our focus on women continues as we approach our centenary. We have services that work with women offenders as well as victims of domestic violence. And today our Leadership Team of four is filled with women – and purely and simply because they are the best people for the job.

So whilst the media is concentrating on issues such as hem length and kitten heels – its attitude to women being seen for what it is – organisations like PSS are full of women doing amazing things!"

The Women’s Organisation would like to say a massive thank you to Lesley for being part of our Thought Leader series and for sharing with us her reflections.

To find out more about the amazing work of PSS please visit

Forgotten Age Beauty Are Changing Society's Perceptions Of The 60+ Age Group

Two women, Liz and Sara are changing the face of the beauty industry as you know it with their business Forgotten Age Beauty (FAB) – Here at The Women’s Organisation we wanted to find out more!

Liz and Sara told us; ‘We are spearheading a drive to encourage women in the 60 plus age group to be more confident in themselves and to let society know that their skills are vital to the ever changing face of the UK. This group have become an invisible age and their skills are being neglected. With our knowledge and understanding in the hair and beauty industry, we want women to come forward with their images or self-worth issues that may be holding them back and know and believe that they are forever age beauties.’

FAB runs via Consultations with taster sessions for £10. Prior to this Liz and Sara both owned hair and beauty salons so have years of experience within the industry, but it was when they began to take a step back from working full time that they realised they wanted to continue making women feel good about themselves, and that’s how they came to form FAB!

Liz & Sara
To get the business started, Liz and Sara had a number of meetings and discussions together as their first step, to make sure they were decided and clear on their aims and objectives. After this they began to speak to their friends and families to get some feedback on their ideas. 

Liz and Sara said; ‘Deciding on our business name was the third step and as we were aiming our business idea at a forgotten age of mature women, who all have an individual beauty, we decided our name would be Forgotten Age Beauty (FAB), we felt exhilarated and excited once we had decided on our name, and ideas starting coming together.’

On top of the work they were undertaking themselves to progress their business, Liz and Sara also got in touch with The Women’s Organisation to receive support and guidance and were paired up with our Business Adviser; Yan Miao. ‘Yan became our mentor and advised us as well as booking us onto different courses that would help us and our business. The advice from Yan helped us to focus on surrounding issues related to our business, and particularly our website. The advice that we have been given by The Women’s Organisation has been invaluable as it’s created a networking forum and a support mechanism.’

So how is their business getting on now? Liz and Sara told us; ‘Our business is evolving. We are still in the early stages, but we want to encourage all mature women to use their skills, through making them feel confident so we can all contribute to the changing face of the UK future. We do totally believe that we can help women through our own experiences and expertise, and are delighted that women are approaching us who would like advice and help to build their confidence.’

And what advice would they offer to a woman who was looking to start up her own business ‘Love what you do first, don’t take no for an answer. You have to believe in yourself. And make sure you contact The Women’s Organisation for support, guidance and mentoring.’

It was great to hear about Liz and Sara’s new business venture and we wish them all the best of luck for the future with it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Saudi Arabian Incubation Centre Visits 54 St James Street

This blog has been written for us by a great new member of our team; Sam Millne, who is joining us this week for work experience…
On 12th July 2016, four young Saudi Arabian women, led by Barry Wheatley, came to us at The Women’s Organisation in 54 St James Street Liverpool to learn about how we do things at The Women’s Organisation and what they can take from this and transfer it into their way of life.

They are employed by the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) who has a programme called Badir (which means ‘Let’s get on with it’). They are working as part of an initiative that is trying to diversify the Saudi Arabian economy through development of non-oil technology industries. This has the objective of building a knowledge based economy in Saudi Arabia.

During the visit we took them to a conference room and told them about the work we do at, here, at The Women’s Organisation. They had many questions to ask us and they also shared what they have been doing, with us. Their incubator facility hosts many different types of businesses including one which has created a forum where tourists can talk about the time they has in the desert and they had created a breakdown service. They offer incubators such as and information and technology incubator or a biotechnology incubator.

After the conference took place, we gave them a tour of our wonderful building. They were guided round by Sam Millne, Sabah Shams and Jo Mountfort. One of the women named Deema said ‘the building’s fantastic’  and commenting on Sabah Sham’s role in The Women’s Organisation she said ‘having a Muslim role model is fascinating’. Sarah –another one of the women- went on to say that she ‘can feel the team working spirit’ only highlighting our team’s positive mental attitude.

The tour took them to the fourth floor where they were greeted with the delights of the view from our terraced balcony. Shahad said she was ‘surprised at how beautiful and welcoming Liverpool is’.
At the end of the visit Sarah said ‘she was amazed how there’s something designed for women in business’ and Barry Wheatley complemented us by saying ‘I think what you’re doing here is brilliant’

Overall the visit was a huge success and there were many lessons to be learnt for both parties. We are going to keep contact with the women from Badir and hopefully learn more from each other going forward.

The WO’s Business Club Members Are Stealing The Show...

We just love hearing about fantastic business women doing well, but this news is even more special because it has come from our Business Club Members!

Our Business Club Launch in September 2015!
We relaunched The Women’s Organisation nearly a whole year ago and we’re delighted to say it’s gone from strength to strength. Now with a different format of a yearly membership and exclusive benefits we have amassed over 200 members within a year! At the core of our Business Club are three key values; Connection, Sharing and Supporting, and that’s what our members have been great at all along!

Today we want to extend our congratulations to a few particular members of Business Club who have been nominated for awards! It’s great to see our members being applauded for the work that they do and we’ve got all our fingers and toes crossed for them winning!

We want to say congrats to…

Anna Jenkins of Silky Bouquets Ltd who has been nominated for Retail Business of the Year at the EVA Awards!

Anna told us; ‘I am extremely flattered to be named as a finalist in the EVA's, it is such a prestigious award, and am excited for the finals. I am passionate about women in business and hope the EVA's can help encourage others to see what's possible, we can do anything we put our minds too and I am delighted to be recognised for what we have achieved so far with Silky Bouquets Ltd.’

Angela Preston of AP Coaching who has been nominated for the Solo Business of the Year at the EVA Awards

Angela told us; ‘To be nominated is an honour, to make it to the finals is just unbelievable, so for anyone who dares to dream please believe dreams do come true, mine did! Thank you and everyone at The Women’s Organisation for all the support and help you have given me over the last 12 months, your guidance and Business Club has played a huge part in my continued growth as a business. ‘

And congratulations to Yvonne Bennett of Wedding Planners Guild UK Ltd who has been nominated for the Small Business of the Year Awards at the EVA’s 

And also Sefton Park Palmhouse who have been nominated for the Cultural Destination of the Year Award in the Liverpool Hospitality and Lifestyle Awards from Downtown in Business. 

Janet Pell, Acting Interim Director of Sefton Park Palm House told us; 'Sefton Park Palm House are delighted to be nominated for one of these new awards, recognising Liverpool's venues as some of the most exciting and unique outside of London! It's great timing as we are currently working on our new business plan, and aiming to extend and improve our offer even more.' 

You can vote for Sefton Park Palmhouse and the other award categories here!

Here at Business Club we are delighted to have been a part of member’s journeys over the last year and look forward to many more years supporting women in business through our networking, events and benefits of Business Club

If you would like to find out more about Business Club, become a member and begin networking with a fantastic group of women – then get in touch and we can tell you more.

Email or ring us on 0151 706 8111 – There is also more information about Business Club on our website!

Thursday, July 7, 2016

At The Age of 23, Knowsley Based Emma Tinsley Launches Into Self Employment With Allure Beauty!

Back at the start of the year we were approached by a young woman, Emma Tinsley from Knowsley who was considering entering into self-employment. Sometimes when we meet women from across Merseyside, you just know straight away that being self-employed is the right choice for them!

Emma is a lone parent with two young children and had been working as a beauty therapist since 2012. But after being made redundant in December of last year, she began to explore her different options.

The Women’s Organisation were able to help Emma through our Skills & Opportunities Fund, and paired her up with our Business Adviser, Jo Mountfort who began working with Emma to launch her new business – becoming a Mobile Beautician.

Emma attended a series of 1-2-1 business adviser sessions with Jo, during which they talked about how to plan for business and paid special attention to looking at financial viability and support around this when Emma became self-employed. As Emma is a lone parent, it was really important for Emma to work out if she could still support her family when she launched her business. Jo was able to help with this by introducing Emma to some key contacts, although Emma already had a good existing client base and was confident she would be able to use her Social Media skills to expand this.

Emma told us; ‘Jo really helped me by sending me on the accounting and bookkeeping course, where I learnt how to keep my own books and all of the legal requirements I needed to know in order to start my business.’

Now Emma has been running Allure Beauty since May 2016 and she says the business is going really well! She’s often fully booked and spends her time zipping around making her clients feel fantastic with her extensive expertise in the beauty industry! We’re delighted that Emma has been able to launch her business and hope that it continues to grow and grow!

Emma told us; ‘The Women’s Organisation has been amazing! Jo really helped me to set up my own business and made the process as easy and stress free as it could be! She was always there to answer all of my questions, no matter how big or small they were. She made me feel confident to start up on my own and now, just a few months on I am earning a great salary and doing my own hours to fit around my children. I couldn’t have done it without The Women’s Organisation.’

Thank you Emma for those kind words! We think it’s great how Emma has launched into self-employment and can use it as an opportunity to work around her children and her life. If you’ve been inspired by Emma’s story and would like some support and advice about self-employment then get in touch with us! Ring us on 0151 706 8111 or email

The Skills and Opportunities Fund is one of the many ways that the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is contributing to the communities they live and work in. In 2015, they committed £2.5M to fund projects in charities, social enterprises, community groups, state-funded schools and colleges across the UK and Ireland, and they have allocated a further £2.5m to be spit across two round in 2016.

The Women's Organisation are Proud to be Part of New Enterprise Hub

Thousands of budding entrepreneurs are set to benefit from a new European-funded Enterprise Hub that is aiming to help fledgling businesses get off the ground across the Liverpool City Region.

Maggie O'Carroll, Julia Sweeney & Elaine Bowker

With a mission to support more than 6000 people who are considering setting up their own enterprises and, in the process, help 1,200 businesses to start-up, the Liverpool City Region Enterprise Hub officially launched on 30th June at The City of Liverpool College.

The Hub will provide support to residents of Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Wirral and Halton over the next three years. Business start-up services on offer via the Hub will be delivered by a network of ten experienced enterprise partners, of which The Women's Organisation are the managing agent with the City of Liverpool College lead Enterprise Hub as the accountable body.

Around 200 influencers from the Liverpool City Region joined the Enterprise Hub partners to launch the project, including some of the region’s leading accountants and legal advisers, who specialise in start-up advice, along with local councillors and support services.   Keynote speaker at the event Julia Sweeney, Director, European Programmes & Local Growth Delivery DCLG emphasised the importance of investing in enterprise to sustain our economny.  CEO of The Women's Organisation Maggie O'Carroll declared the Liverpool City Region "Open for Business". 

Enterprise Hub which will be part funded by European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and will draw together expertise of 10 delivery partners along with  5 local strategic partners who will be supporting the programme’s engagement strategy, ensuring Enterprise Hub delivery teams are connecting with diverse communities.  

Elaine Bowker, Principal and Chief Executive of The City of Liverpool College said, “Start-up businesses are an essential economic driver for the region and a vibrant entrepreneurial sector is a key indicator of a healthy regional economy. We have long supported future entrepreneurs at The City of Liverpool College, delivering a range of business course that equip students with the skills required to run successful enterprises of their own. We already work in partnership with The Women’s Organisation to offer student enterprise services, where students with business ideas can access support and advice to set up their own companies. Leading the Enterprise Hub programme was, therefore, an obvious choice for us and we are hugely excited about the potential it has to help bring thousands of innovative business plans to fruition. By linking our students to the programmewe will channel a pipeline of Further Education graduates into the Enterprise Hub, ensuring that this valuable source of entrepreneurial talent is not missed.”

 CEO of The Women’s Organisation Maggie O’Carroll said:
“We are thrilled to be helping to steer forward this exciting new enterprise initiative for Liverpool City Region. The creation of new businesses is vital to keep our local and national economy afloat. We hope Enterprise Hub evidences how investment in enterprise services can reduce unemployment, raise aspirations and give people a chance to pursue their dream of business ownership with expert and strategic support. The Enterprise Hub partnership brings together organisations with a variety of expertise ensuring that those interested in getting advice can link with experts who can offer them quality services.  We urge anyone who has an idea for a business to get in touch and let Enterprise Hub guide you to getting started.”

Enterprise Hub will offer support to:

• Understand the process of starting a business

• Complete a business plan 

• Research a business idea 

• Create a marketing plan 

• Develop financial forecasts 

• Raise finance

Anyone interested in taking up support from Enterprise Hub should contact 0151 706 8113