Tuesday, August 30, 2016

MSB Marked Leaders In The field of International Child Abduction

MSB Solicitors, who operate across three offices in Allerton, Wavertree and Liverpool city centre, have been appointed to the International Child Abduction and Contact Panel by the Official Solicitors Office.

News comes following an intensive application process evidencing considerable experience and expertise in this area. MSB now join around just 40 other firms in the UK - predominantly London-based - and are the only firm in the North West including Merseyside, Greater Manchester, Lancashire, North Wales and Cheshire.

MSB have grown their expertise in the field of international child abduction significantly in recent years. Partner Emma Carey and family solicitor Emma Palmer are both Resolution-accredited specialists in this area, solicitor Eve McGowan is on the Law Society’s advanced specialist panel for child abduction, Kirsty Leather has completed a masters of law in International Law and Wendy Eves has developed an excellent reputation as a specialist, cross-border mediator.

MSB have a strong portfolio of international child abduction work. Family Partner Emma Carey says:

“It really is a very difficult process to even be considered for appointment to the International Child Abduction and Contact Panel and I couldn’t be more proud of the efforts of the team at MSB. We have been involved in a number of incoming cases of international child abduction in recent years, which in itself is a feat, as often cases are submitted to solicitors firms already appointed to the panel.

“I was first involved in an international child abduction case eight years ago and I have been resolution accredited for 6 years – this was an area of law I was interested to develop at MSB.

“I am lucky to be supported by a fantastic team who share my passion and their combined experience and commitment has been pivotal to us securing a place on the panel.”
MSB have spent a number of years taking steps to develop not only their experience, but their resources too - and to develop networks in London and across the country in order to carry out international child abduction work effectively.

Emma continues: 

“Often this type of work is very niche as it is an incredibly complexed. In many cases solicitors have to act quickly to put measures in place, whether that be to prevent children being removed from the country, or urgent action to establish the return of a child. It is very emotive, time-consuming work and it has taken us a long time to ensure that we are confident in this area of law and that we have an effective support network.

“Legal aid is available for all child abduction matters, in some cases automatically, regardless of a client’s income or capital. MSB prides itself on its very high success rate in obtaining legal aid for clients.”

MSB will be amongst just over 40 firms nationally who will work directly with the International Child Abduction Unit in the UK. Cases are allocated on a rota basis and are usually heard in the Royal Courts of Justice in London. 

The Legal Aid Agency in the UK will also be informed of MSBs appointment to the panel, which provides a green light in terms of MSB obtaining legal aid for international child abduction clients. 

MSB are a full service law firm and were established in 1988; now operating from three offices in Allerton, Wavertree and Liverpool city centre. 

For more information visit www.msbsolicitors.co.uk or call 0151 281 9040

54 St James Street Tenant of the Month - Ella Creative Academy

So, Tenant of the Month is back! Each month we will be publishing an interview with one of our lovely tenants in the building, asking them what they like about the building and finding out what their business is all about!

So far we have spoken to SirenDobson WelchBarretteA Quiet PlaceBold Online MarketingColor Consultancy and Know Services Limited and this month we caught up with our newest tenants in the building, Ella Creative Academy...

What do you do?

We are Ella Creative Academy and we are running make up and hair courses for all levels.

Ella Creative Academy is a newly-formed academy offering a number of courses specialising in hair and make-up design.

What did you do prior to setting up your own business?

Ruth and Victoria joined forces to launch Ella Creative Academy in September 2016, bringing together a wealth of experience spanning over 20 years and they’ve both worked with numerous high-profile clients during their careers.  Individually their careers are more than impressive, but together, at Ella Creative Academy, their partnership

Where have you been working from previously?

Ruth Marcella

Ruth is a highly creative make up and hair artist having studied fashion at the London College of Fashion.  Ruth is a leading North West hair and make-up artist and has worked with an impressive line-up of well-known companies including Sky TV, Puma, Liverpool Football Club, Everton Football Club, EMI Records and many more.

Ruth has also previously organised and led teams of make-up artists at large UK fashion catwalk shows.  In addition, Ruth also runs a successful hair and make-up freelance business as well as teaching media make-up in local education institutes.

Victoria Hills

Victoria has an impressive background.  Her career in the film industry spans over 17 years and she has worked with many celebrities including Robbie Williams and Texas, creating striking designs in their music videos.  Additionally, Victoria has worked with many high profile film directors including Ridley Scott and Tony Kaye on many commercials all around the world including British Airways, Virgin, L’Oreal, Audi, Bacardi and many more. 

What made you decide to move to 54 St James Street?

It’s ethos of helping women start up businesses appeals to both of us, Ruth has had Orchid Blush business here for years and this felt like the right place to grow her existing business and start a new one as well.

Victoria will start a video production company from here as well called Global rhythm productions that will also link into Ella creative academy for productions.

What is it that you like the most about 54 St James Street?

The staff are all so helpful and really in support of the ethos of the organization, it’s professional and creative and very well organized, its made us more productive and excited about our business and determined to work hard to enable it to be a success.

Friday, August 26, 2016

The Networking Event Of The Summer @ Seven Zero One Bar & Base

WOW! We are still feeling on top of the world after the amazing evening that we had on Tuesday at our Summer Social!

We were down at Hotel Campanile’s Seven Zero One Bar & Base and were joined by over 50 business woman to network and generally have a great time! Thank you so much to everyone who came down and joined us, it was a great success and lovely to see so many new and familiar faces.

Out on the terrace!
We kicked off the evening in style with some Lavender Prosecco and the networking got underway! Our Training Coordinator Bernie Cox introduced the evening and our Featured Businesses. We were lucky enough to be joined by two great businesses that brought along some of their products to sell on the evening.

Nicola Gleave, Founder of Wirral-based Worn By Us, an online shop that raises money for charity by selling the most desirable designer clothes worn and donated by celebrities joined us as a Featured Business and introduced herself to our Business Club women and gave us all the opportunity to take a sneak peek at some of the fantastic clothes that she has on offer! We think a few of our members even snatched some of these offers up!

Nicola and Kirsty of Worn By Us
Elaine Atherton, Sales Director of LiV for Beautiful Things was our second Featured Business of the evening, who brought along a selection of LiV products – an eclectic mixture of beautiful and luxurious home and gift products, and introduced her business to everyone!
Thank you to Nicola and Elaine for acting us our Featured Businesses on the evening – it was great to have you there and to see your lovely products.

Next we got our 60 Second Pitches underway. We heard from Lorraine Lewis of Know Services Ltd and Lin Boyd speaking about the newly launched Switch Onto Business Magazine Charity Awards as well as a few more of our fantastic business women.

And then it was time for the part of the evening that The WO Staff Team had been looking forward to all day…The food! The launch of Seven Zero One’s new yummy menu! We were treated to poppy sweet potato fries, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches and some pretty spectacular posh fish finger baps and so much more.

The spread! 
What could have been better? A room and a terrace full of favourite business women, some great networking, live music from the incredibly talented Victoria Sharpe, who we’d like to say a big thank you to! Wasn’t she brilliant? And some great food and drinks! Now we call that a Summer Social Success!

The amazing Victoria Sharpe
Thank you so much to everyone who joined us, and we hope you enjoyed the evening as much as did. Now…Let’s get planning for our next big Business Club Social event – Cheesey Festive Networking! But before that, we have our September event – The Science of Making Sales on Tuesday 23rdMore information here.

Maya Battle & Bernie Cox
As always we would like to thank Business Club’s Headline Sponsors Mitchell Charlesworth for helping to make this event possible. We’d also like to say a big thank you to Maya Battle and the team at Seven Zero One Bar & Base and Hotel Campanile – we had a great time working with you on this event and look forward to more exciting plans in the future.

Remember! If you were at the event you should have received an Industry Card for Seven Zero One Bar & Base entitling you to 20% off their yummy food and drink! What better reason to head back down there and sample more of their menu? We think we’ll be heading down to one of their SZO Unplugged nights which happen every Friday evening. Live music, great food and that gorgeous terrace! Find out more information here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Louise Fitzsimmons Dreams Have Come True Starting Her Business - White Wolf Yoga & Kitchen

 ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them’ – Walt Disney

Louise Fitzsimmons dream of opening her own Yoga Studio and Kitchen came about in 2013 when she was studying to be a Yoga Teacher in Rishikesh, India. But at that point, that’s all it was. A dream. Now 3 years on, Louise is the proud owner of White Wolf Yoga & Kitchen on Cook Street in Liverpool City Centre.

‘I live in Crosby and down on the beach there is a little Coast Guard’s building. When it shut down, I started thinking that if I won the lottery I would turn it into a Yoga Studio and Vegetarian and Vegan Kitchen. It was only me talking to myself in my head, but from there I started to think more and more about it…’

Prior to opening White Wolf, Louise admits that she had done a bit of everything! ‘I’d been an Air Hostess, English Tutor, Production Development Manager for a local Film Company and a Production Assistant for a national Events Company!’ but had always pursued Yoga as a hobby and that turned into a passion, and Louise found that the more that she practised, the more she wanted to share this passion with as many people as she could.

After completing 200 hours of Yoga Teacher Training over a year and a half in Liverpool, Louise still knew that she wanted to deepen her knowledge of Yoga and further her qualification. This mission took her to Rishikesh in India where she completed another 300 hours of training; ‘India was absolutely life changing, and I think it set me up and gave me the confidence and clarity to know that Yoga was what I wanted to do.’ 

‘I’ve always found that through doing lots of other jobs in the past that I need to be doing something that I’m really passionate about and because I have done lots of other different things when I took the Teacher Training courses, everyone would say ‘Oh Louise is doing this course to add to long list of everything else that she’s done’ and I was a bit like that to myself, but when I went to India, I knew right then, that was it.’

After returning from India, things stepped up to the next level, Louise had already been running a small class in the old Mello Mello on Slater Street, but from here expanded and began teaching in Camp and Furnace and later Frederik’s on Hope Street. It was during this time that White Wolf Yoga was born. ‘When I started working in Camp and Furnace, I got in touch with The Women’s Organisation to get some support and advice around the business side of things.’

‘The idea of starting a business was completely new to me and the prospect was quite daunting to begin with. I could visualise what I wanted to create but the practicalities of actually doing it were a bit scary!’

Louise worked with our Business Adviser Francine to put together a business plan for White Wolf Yoga, attend our training and workshops and also think about what Louise might want for the future of White Wolf. ‘The Women’s Organisation has been brilliant. Right from day one, I was given great advice and support with understanding the basics of business. Since then we have kept in touch as I have grown the business with their continued support.’

After teaching for a while, Louise began to think about creating a space that specialised in Yoga and Healthy Eating; ‘My aim was to create a peaceful sanctuary within the city centre – and that was the idea for White Wolf Yoga and Kitchen.’

Once she decided to chase the dream of opening this peaceful sanctuary, the first step was finding the right location. It took almost a year of searching but Louse finally found the perfect place – an old ballroom in the Victorian Property Exchange on Cook Street. ‘I got a feeling as soon as I walked through the doors that this was the one! We have renovated the space with love and care and I feel honoured to have White Wolf’s home in such a beautiful, historic building.’

White Wolf Yoga & Kitchen is indeed an incredible space, taking influence from Scandinavian design with clean lines, grey and blue colours and lots of natural light streaming through the large windows. Along with her best friend Becky, who manages the Kitchen side of the business, White Wolf opened back in April 2016.

The Studio now boasts a full programme of yoga, meditation and relaxation classes which are open to men and women of all levels, ages and abilities, and the Kitchen serves high-quality, nutrition-rich plant based food and drink.

Louise told us; ‘I love the variety of every day – from teaching different yoga and meditation classes to researching and creating new recipes for White Wolf Kitchen. Working with Beccy is brilliant; we have such a laugh and keep each other smiling. Opening the Studio and the Kitchen really is a dream come true for me in every way.’

So, as Walt Disney said; ‘All our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them,’ and we know that is exactly what Louise has done and will continue to do! And some advice that she has for anyone in a similar position and wanting to start their own business; ‘Listen to your heart and not the niggling doubter whispering in your head, you’ll need 100% commitment and faith in whatever you are doing and be able to keep positive and trust that things will work out.’

If you would like to find out more about White Wolf Yoga and Kitchen, you can do by following the links below! And if you’ve been inspired by Louise’s story of pursuing her dream and would like some support and advice on starting your business – get in touch with us! Email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8111.

0151 345 6023

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Hair Heals Charitable Campaign Launches In Liverpool

 A new charitable campaign has launched in Liverpool to help support those affected by baldness.

Claire N Seddon, a student at the University of Liverpool, also Founder of Hair Heals, has launched a unique nationwide charitable campaign. Their main objective is to raise awareness and offer emotional support to those experiencing hair loss.

Claire started the campaign after years of hosting the Liverpool Urban Hair Show which is an event dedicated to celebrating hairdressing and supporting local charities, during this time she realised that individuals without hair were being marginalised from getting involved in the event, and decided to start a project that ensured hair loss sufferers were also included. This led her to start the Hair Heals charitable campaign.

The campaign will also focus on public awareness of the effects of any form of hair loss, which includes Postpartum Hair Loss, Alopecia, Genetic Thinning, Trichotillomania, Male Pattern Baldness and hair loss caused by chemotherapy, injury or surgery.

Claire, who is currently being supported by The Women’s Organisation, will be launching the charity officially on January 20th 2017 at Siren. The launch will look to attract attendance from hair replenishment medical professionals, charity representatives, researchers, victims of hair loss and their families as well as the media and press.

Claire will be speaking about the project on BayTV on Tuesday’s 5:30pm news and also on BayTV’s programme; Shaun’s People on Wednesday at 6:30pm

Hair Heals is also the selected charitable organisation for the 3rd annual Liverpool Urban Hair, set for May 7th 2017 at Mountford Hall (University of Liverpool), profits raised from hairdressers entries will be donated in aid of Hair Heals. Hairdressers can apply for the competition by enquiring through the event website here.

If you would like to get in touch with Hair Heals, use the contact details below!
Contact Number: 0151 374 2103

Friday, August 12, 2016

Loraine Lewis Is In The KNOW With Her New Business Venture...

KNOW Services Ltd. is Loraine Lewis’s newly launched business – the KNOW stands for Knowledge, Intelligence (N), Organisation and Wisdom which Loraine believes without these four aspects, you cannot make an informed decision. With a business that sounds as intriguing as this, we were thrilled to be able to sit down with Loraine and find out all about KNOW Services Ltd. and how she got to where she is today…

‘KNOW Services Limited provides organisations with the knowledge and understanding to make informed decisions, achieved by working in partnership with our clients, providing outstanding bespoke Intelligence and Analytical products and guidance – Putting you in the KNOW to make informed decisions.’

With words like ‘Intelligence’ and ‘Analytical’, we’d be forgiven for thinking that Loraine sounded quite like a Spy or a previous employee of MI5, and frankly we weren’t too far off the mark! Loraine’s previous experience comes largely from within the Law Enforcement sector undertaking roles such as Senior Crime Analyst and as part of a Serious and Organised Crime Team, but launching her new business, KNOW, she is taking the skills and experience that she has garnered for the past 14 years and applying it to businesses who are looking to make those important, informed decisions to improve.

Throw in a 5 year stint on a paradise island; Turks and Caicos, and Loraine begins to sound like an exciting character from a thriller novel! When we got the chance to interview Loraine she had just moved back to England and was relocating to Merseyside (Where her wife, Amanda is originally from) after spending the last five years as a Senior Crime Analyst in The Royal Turks and Caicos Islands Police Force.

‘It’s a tiny little island that if you look at a map, you can’t even see it! And it’s beautiful, it’s only about 17 miles long and about 4 miles wide and has one of the best beaches in the world; Grace Bay. Initially I was there for 2 years, but this later was converted to a permanent post and I worked in many areas such as; Tactical, Strategic, Policy and Processes.’ But in December 2015 Loraine realised that it was time for a new challenge and returned to England.

Turks and Caicos
‘I identified a gap in the market for providing businesses access to Intelligence Analysts. KNOW Services Ltd would become an extra pair of hands in times of higher demand, or for those who did not need a full time Intelligence Analyst. I wanted to be able to provide the skills and the services that I have to small or more niche organisations. And within the first six months I successfully secured a contact to provide consultancy services in the establishment of a specialised Intelligence Unit for an International Organisation.’

Loraine’s business model works in three different strands…Firstly there is Consultancy where Loraine can work with organisations to implement specific procedures, ‘So a business could come to me to setup their own Intelligence Analysis unit, but they don’t know how to do it, and I would come in, establish the unit and show them how to run and maintain it.’ Secondly, Loraine can also fill in the gaps in organisations that already use analysis but don’t have the requirement for a full-time Intelligence Analyst, and thirdly for organisations that do use Intelligence Analysts and have a higher than normal demand that Loraine can assist with.

Specifically Loraine uses the National Intelligence Model (NIM) which comprises of 4 intelligence products and 10 analytical techniques, to problem solve for the organisations she will be working with. NIM was created by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in 2000 and is now widely used by organisations outside of Law Enforcement such as the NHS, BT and Trading Standards and is a model that can be picked up and applied to almost any business or situation, the way that Loraine is doing now.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Loraine must have trained and been a part of this world for her entire career, but in reality Loraine has been working in these sectors only for the past 14 years! ‘In 2001 I was made redundant from my previous role as a Project Manager and I went to a Job Fair. Here I got speaking to a woman who was explaining the role of an Intelligence Analyst. Because I am nosy and inquisitive, I knew that this was the role for me!’ 

Loraine then got a role within the Warwickshire Police Force working as a Communities Against Drugs Intelligence Analyst and from there she progressed and worked with; the West Midlands Counter Terrorism Unit and Police Force. After working from 2002 to 2010 in these two Law Enforcement Agencies, Loraine says; ‘I needed a change. I needed something different and I needed a challenge.’ And Turks and Caicos was exactly the change that Loraine was after…

Now back in England, Loraine’s next mission was to get KNOW Services Ltd. off the ground! So she began to look for support agencies to help her with this. ‘The Women’s Organisation was mentioned to me by Amanda’s cousin at first, but it wasn’t until I was looking for a Virtual Office (which 54 St James Street supplies) that I put two and two together. I walked into the building and just knew it was right for me! I was introduced to my Business Adviser, John Jones and we started from there!’

‘I also had the opportunity to attend the Planning for Success course with Bernie – who is amazing! I loved it because she told us that we would have doubts and that the doubts would come – and they did! However knowing that they are going to come makes it just a little bit easier!’

So KNOW Services was officially launched in January 2016 and Loraine is currently working on recruiting contracts and building her business network! And of course, becoming The Women’s Organisation’s new best friend, having attended lots of our courses as well as a few business lunches and events! We are delighted to have met Loraine, helped her with specific areas of her business start-up support and to have had an insight into such an interesting and intriguing business model!

If you would like to find out more information about Loraine and the services that she provides you can do so by getting in touch using the details below! And if Loraine’s story has inspired you and you would like support setting up your own business then email us on hello@thewo.org.uk or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Loraine Lewis – Director of KNOW Services Ltd.

Loraine.lewis@know-services.co.uk          Twitter - @KnowServices            


Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Think You know How To Network? Think Again!

We’ve all been told how important networking is, for meeting new clients, forming relationships and finding collaborations.  But networking isn’t easy and very few people are actually very good at networking! It’s tough to introduce yourself to strangers in a professional way that is going to memorable, it’s tough to ask the right questions which can lead to finding business or clients or connections and of course for some people following up is tough! The next day when you forget to send that email or make that phone call which would have continued the conversation with the hopeful contact!

All of these things mean that for some of us, we just opt out of networking. Say no to that event invitation and kid ourselves that we don’t need to network, but in reality we do! According to research from Great Business School ‘85% of business people say they build stronger, more meaningful business relationships during in-person business meetings and conferences.’
Networking at The Women's Organisation Business Club

There are plenty of reasons why networking is important, here’s just a few that our Business Advisor Huda Mamoun told us…

To pick up new ideas – The networking environment is often a place of learning, where a business owner can keep up to date with new industry developments, gather general or specific industry information, regulations and policies and find out what competitors are up to.

Time to work on the business, not in it – Networking is a really valuable way to expand your knowledge, learn from the success of others, attain new clients and tell others about your business. Getting stuck in the office ploughing away can leave us stagnating. Lifting your head up to look for new ideas and opportunities is the best way to keep your business growing.

Feeding positivity – Networking is a great way to meet with and talk to like-minded business owners who inspire and influence you and what you do, so it’s important to be surrounding yourself with people that help you to grow and thrive as a business owner. Business owners that use networking are usually people that are really positive with appropriate knowledge and experience to help other businesses with the problems or provide solutions.

Build real relationships – At a professional level, networking provides you with a great source of connections and really opens the door to talk to highly influential people that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to easily talk to or find. And on a personal level, networking helps to build relationships with potential friends. Many friendships form as a result of networking because (mostly) you are all like-minded business owners that want to grow your businesses.

So…What’s the solution? If you are not keen or confident in networking but understand how powerful it can be!

Here at The Women’s Organisation we think it’s take the leap, improve your networking skills and start benefiting from all the great things that networking has to offer. And we’ve got just the person and the course to help you do that!

Our Training Coordinator Bernie, doing what she does best - Networking!

Introducing Bernie’s ‘How to Network Effectively’ half-day course, now running monthly at The Women’s Organisation! On the course Bernie will look at developing a short pitch for your business with you, so you can readily explain eloquently what it is that you can offer, as well as delving into the relationship building aspect of networking in business.

By the end of the course you will have learnt why networking is so important, how to network effectively, the use of body language skills and how to successfully develop a pitch for your business.

So what are you waiting for? Want to learn how to network effectively? Then join Bernie for this course! It’s just £25 for the half day, so a bargain if you think about the sales you could make back by improving your networking skills!

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Being 'Unique' v's 'Too Niche' in Business. What is the Balance?

If you have come up with a business idea that you think is amazing, yet are scratching your head as to why no one else is doing it yet, you may start to pat yourself on the back for being an innovative genius, or start hearing alarm bells.

 Just today reading through different advice online for start-ups we read one article with the strong advice 'be unique' and another saying 'if you are researching and can't find anyone doing anything like what you are doing then there is probably a good reason'.  So how do you know which you have?  A great idea, or something no one is doing because there is simply no market for it!

Here are some tough questions to ask yourself about your business idea/product that might help you to decide:

  • What problem does my product or service solve? If there is no problem, then you are not offering a solution. If you can't answer this then chances are there is no market for what you are looking to offer. 
  • Who is my target customer? Is this a vast array of people, or people with very niche taste based in a very small area? Is there going to be a customer base big enough for you to build a business of size?
  • How much will it cost me to make/do? And how much will people pay for this? Do the figures add up? Don't gestimate. Research and be sure about these figures. 
  • How can I market this? You will need a smart marketing plan to reach the right customer. If you can't think of any logical way to market what you are doing then how will you make sales?
  • Is there opportunity for future growth? Is the service or product you are offering so specific that there is nowhere to go from here? If so is the market for that large enough to sustain your business for a long time? 

That being said, with every business even if you aren't re-writing history with your product or service, it is essential to understand what makes you unique.  How can there be a hair salon and chip shop on every corner?  Because each offers something different, no matter how small.  One chip shop may really specialise in quality fish and chips, while the other offers a wide range of choice of cuisines.  Each will appeal to someone different.  So what is your cherry on the top?  What is it you will specialise in, be the best at, offer that makes you the best option?  Knowing that is knowing how to stand out from the crowd. 

Define your 'unique selling point' early as this will help you to understand how to price yourself, who your customer is, and how to market what you do. 

In summary, the best way to look at it is to understand what makes you different and unique, but try to avoid the obscure if you are looking to make a living from your business idea.

For more advice on starting a business and the opportunity to sit down with a business adviser who you can bounce your ideas off, find out more about the Enterprise Hub Project funded by ERDf (European Regional Development Fund) to support Liverpool City Region residents to start a business.  You can contact the Enterprise hub team on 0151 706 8113 or enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk 

Friday, August 5, 2016

Jenn Appleton Changed Her Life By Deciding To Make Her Own Rules And Start A Business

Everyone knows that starting your own business isn’t the easy option, but sometimes things happen in your life that forces   you to make a change, to reconsider your choices and jump into the unknown. This is exactly what happened to Jenn Appleton, and she hasn’t looked back since…

Back in 2014, Jenn Appleton was heavily pregnant and due to give birth in two weeks. It was at this point that her husband, Dave found a lump on his arm which was discovered to be a type of Cancer; Sarcoma. ‘It was such a massive shock, my little girl was only five days old and my husband was in the hospital having the tumour removed’ thankfully now Dave is well again but it was this incident that began to send waves through their lives and became the catalyst for changing everything. ‘It was a massive turning point for us and it made us think that we need to do the things that make us happy.’

‘We realised that life isn’t about how much money you can make, it isn’t about keeping up with what everyone thinks you should be doing. It’s about being happy.’

So at the start of 2015 Jenn and Dave decided that their New Year’s Resolution would be to make up their own rules…From there Dave made the decision to retrain in his career, becoming a Smart Meter Engineer and Jenn’s life began to change as well. ‘I had a conversation with a woman that I went to school with and asked her about her job as she had been an Architect. She told me that she wasn’t doing that anymore and said that she worked for Kumon. I had heard about Kumon but it was when she said that it might be right up my street that I decided to find out more.’

Kumon, created by Toru Kumon is a supplementary learning organisation that provides programmes in mathematics and English and has become franchised. But it’s the story behind Kumon that we just thought was fantastic…

‘In 1954 in Japan a young student by the name of Takeshi scored poorly in a maths test. His mother asked her husband, Toru Kumon, to take a closer look at their son’s school textbooks. Being a high school maths teacher, Toru Kumon thought that Takeshi’s textbooks did not give children enough practice to be confident in each topic. Toru decided to help his son by handwriting worksheets for him to practice. This was the start of the Kumon Method.

By the time Takeshi was in year 8, he had studied his father’s daily hand-written worksheets for four years and could solve differential and integral calculus problems. Friends and neighbours noticed Takeshi’s achievements and asked Mr Kumon to help their own children learn with this method. It was this local word of mouth that the Kumon Method began to spread. In 1958 the Kumon Institute of Education was established in Osaka, Japan. In its first year of operation, Kumon attracted 300 students through recommendations by parents whose children had studied the Kumon Method.

The first Kumon franchise in Tokyo opened in 1962, Kumon franchises were soon opened in the USA, Brazil, Germany, Philippines, UK, Australia, New Zealand, India and many more. Today there are more than 4 million children of all ages and abilities studying with Kumon in 49 countries.’

It didn’t take long for Jenn to make her decision! She made the enquiries and was accepted into the Kumon programme in October 2015 and opened her Kumon business at the end of January 2016. ‘It’s been such a quick turnaround, so many unexpected things have happened in such a short space of time but I wouldn’t change any of it. We’ve turned things into positives and that’s very much what we’re about.’

Now Jenn has her Kumon Study Centre in Woolton and runs two sessions each week. She also still works with a local Advisory Centre where she teaches personal development qualifications to vulnerable young people in secondary schools to improve their confidence, motivation and behaviour. On top of this she has her little girl! So as you can imagine – Jenn is one very busy woman! And finding a balance has been something that she has found tough; ‘I find it difficult to balance running the business, being a mum, a wife, a daughter and a friend and still working in my other job has been tough. But luckily I have a great support network, without which I don’t think any of this would be possible.’

Jenn has also accessed support from The Women’s Organisation and has been working with Business Advisor; Jo Mountfort. ‘Jo has been amazing, I have really enjoyed our meetings as they have not only helped me with the practicalities of opening a business also helped me to order my thoughts and set goals.’

The pair met over a number of months and worked on putting together a business plan with Jo suggesting other avenues that Jenn hadn’t previously considered. As well as this, Jenn has been attending training courses at The Women’s Organisation including Facebook for Business and Basic Bookkeeping and most recently was invited to be a guest speaker at our Enterprise Start-Up Conference where she told her business start-up story to a number of individuals who were considering self-employment.

It’s clear to see that even though there is plenty going on in Jenn’s life, she really enjoys running her own business and specifically running her own business doing what she loves best – helping others. Much like her work with the advisory service, Kumon is a rewarding experience for Jenn. ‘My greatest achievements are the small ones that I see each time I work with the children. The pride that they feel in themselves makes all my hard work so worth it, it’s just one of the reasons I adore my business.’ 

And aside from that, like so many women that we speak to who have started their own businesses, it’s the autonomy that Jenn now has, it’s that she can make her own decisions and do exactly as she intended to do when she made her New Year’s Resolution – make her own rules…

If you've been inspired by Jenn's story and would like to find out if The Women's Organisation can help you start your own business, get in touch with us by emailing hello@thewo.org.uk or ringing us on 0151 706 8111

If you would like to find out more about Jenn's Kumon Study Centre you can by using the contact details below!

Jenn Appleton - Woolton Study Centre
Phone Number - 0151 374 2484

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Being the Business Owner is "Freedom to Use Your Voice" Says Proud of Liverpool Val

Passion for the community and wise words from her parents still ringing in her ears are what is driving 70 year old Liverpudlian Val Price to reject retirement in favour of setting up a CIC, Proud of Liverpool.

Val Price Proud of Liverpool
Val Price, Proud of Liverpool CIC
Listening to Val’s journey of what brought her to this point is fascinating. Sharing with warmth about her humble beginnings in Old Swan Val told us “I had a good life as a kid, but we didn’t have two ha’pennies to rub together. What I do remember though is that mum always made me aware that although she didn’t have money to give she would say that time is important, and you can always give time, so that’s what I’m doing. I’m giving my time to this.”

Proud of Liverpool is building to its first event on Friday 9th September 2016 10am-4pm at The Florrie on Mill Street. From 10am-4pm there will be a jobs fair where a competition will launch for people to enter about what they consider is great about L8, also encouraging people to share their memories of L8.  Then the evening brings the Fashion of the world together with fashion of the 40’s by an L8 establishment – Bijou & Vintage, and throughout the evening music and entertainment. On Saturday 10th September Proud of Liverpool will move on to Prince’s Park in L8 for a further celebration event including food of the world market stalls and entertainment 12-4pm.

Val explained these events are just a starting point of giving the L8 community things to continue to feel a pride in their community, building on the amazing initiatives happening in the area.  Proud of Liverpool aims to recruit volunteers who currently live in L8 to start a pilot project of mapping services and amenities in the area, but with an in depth community level knowledge about them.  From here the organisation can become a central point of contact for those moving into the community, as well as those already living there helping them to understand what is there and how to utilise it.

Val says
“One of the biggest problems in these communities is that we don’t know enough of what’s out there. What is a major concern is the people who need help and support who are unaware, suffering from loneliness and poverty, and are not accessing these services.   The events we are organising is to share the knowledge of what is great in L8, helping to find connections, bringing everything together. From there I hope our volunteers can start visiting organisations and really understand what is there.  Enabling us to establish by 2018 (ten years from when Liverpool became the European Capital of Culture a central office where we can offer people new to the area a walk into and find out everything they need to know. Acting as a signpost to the many people and organisations available and providing people with a real welcome to their neighbourhood and the community.”

Having recently discovered that a large number of people living in Toxteth are living below the poverty line, and those in Kirkdale have a life expectancy of 12 years less than in other areas of Liverpool, Val has been impassioned to focus on areas of deprivation in Liverpool to see why that is.  Starting with the L8 pilot Val is planning to move into different neighbourhoods. The aim is to “map out what IS there, and then be able to see what ISN’T.  That way start to identify what is different about Kirkdale that accounts for that 12 years less, and from there make recommendations and work with the community to work on what needs to happen to change that community.”  Val emphasised that it is a key focus of the project to link in and collaborate with the amazing people who are already working hard to make that difference in these neighbourhoods.   Throughout Liverpool what is encouraging, Val says, is “the community really making moves to improve their neighbourhoods and every day hearing of new initiatives being taken by the people who live in them.   No longer are they prepared to accept the Status Quo and personal efforts by groups are on the increase to make that difference…because everyone can do that!”

In looking to establish Proud of Liverpool Val worked with The Women’s Organisation through the Enterprise Hub Programme to develop an action plan and understand the practicalities of establishing a Community Interest Company. Reflecting on the support received Val said “It’s been brilliant! Meeting Janine regularly and talking things through is just great. I’ve asked questions I wouldn’t have known where else to ask.  I’ve had help with things like developing a safe guarding policy, looking over my public liability insurance to check I have everything I need. It’s been a great help.  I just love coming to The Women’s Organisation building at 54 St James Street anyway as it’s a great place to come and have coffee with people, and for me with my wonky knees I never have to worry about parking here.”

Val is passionate about developing the work of Proud of Liverpool to have a real impact on what she calls ‘the donut’.  Describing Liverpool Val says “Over the years in Liverpool the City Centre has changed for the better, but we have forgotten the areas surrounding that, the ‘donut’ that you have to drive through in order to reach that uplifting city centre.  It’s those areas that we need to focus on.”

Beyond her passion for the community Val says that being her own boss is “freedom to use your voice”.  Having worked in a number of professions over the years including 20 years at United Biscuits, working in personnel, managing a sports and social club, working in hotels, cleaning firms and retail – Val is happy to no longer have to think of ‘company policy’ before speaking her mind. If she can see something needs to change or isn’t right, she is free to speak out.

The starting point of Proud of Liverpool Val says is having “empathy and understanding”. She says “I’ve been through difficult times, I’ve lived in these places. I can empathise with these communities and that’s what we need.  I just want to remind them of things about their area that they can be proud of, and help to bring more things that give pride to those areas.”

If you would like to find out more about Proud of Liverpool you can write to Val Price at 54 St James Street, Liverpool, L1 0AB, or visit her facebook page.  Also contact Val for details of the L8 competition, the event and how you can be involved, or join the events free on 9th & 10th September.

And if like Val you have a passion that you would like to turn into a business, please contact Enterprise Hub to find out more about the free support available to those living in the Liverpool City Region on 0151 706 8113 or Enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk.  Enterprise Hub is part funded by European Regional Development Fund.