Friday, December 3, 2010

Train 2000 renamed 'The Women's Organisation'

As we head towards 2011 we would like to let you know that Train 2000 has changed its name to The Women’s Organisation.

We feel it captures what we do, who we are and everything that we stand for.

We also believe it is a perfect fit for our identity, values and ethos – as we continue to encourage and champion women’s economic development; influence policy and perception and pioneer new ideas.

As we move forward our continuing commitment centres around having a positive impact on women’s lives and we look forward to working with you as The Women’s Organisation.

To find out more or to get a copy of our new flyer email or call our usual number 0151 236 6601.

And, watch this space for our brand new website coming soon.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Stockport businesswoman launches new events company

ON November 28 this year mum-of-two and founder of RDA Events Anna Stocks will host ‘Mothers Instinct’ in Manchester – the latest of her hugely successful events which she has single-handedly pulled together.

“I am just so passionate about what I do” said 29-year-old Anna, who started the events business up earlier this year, “I love organising events, promoting them, getting people on board and turning an event into a real success.”

Stockport resident Anna, who also works as a part-time customer services manager got the idea to start up her own event management company when the recession hit.

She explained: “I pick a theme such as mothers instinct which is my forthcoming event and the entire event will be themed around everything for mums, babies and toddlers. I have got some leading companies coming along such as baby premier, kids unlimited, run of the mill, family magazine, Gulliver’s World and many more.

“Other event organisers charge a huge amount to exhibitors but I charge just a minimum fee to entice them along. And, because there is a recession and companies don’t want to pay huge amounts to exhibit they are happy to pay a smaller fee and it is an excellent way for them to promote their products. Although the price is very reasonable we never compromise the quality of the event or the amount of marketing undertaken.

“Visitors to the event can also enter free of charge. Mothers Instinct promises to be fantastic; I have got all areas covered; nurseries, photography, baby clothes, children’s entertainment, beauty; everything that could possibly be wanted by mums with young babies and toddlers.”

Anna has a degree in fashion marketing and has worked in the retail sector for more than ten years now – and is able to use these skills in her new venture.

And, for the New Year Anna is already planning her New Year New You event. Later in the year Anna will also be bringing Mothers Instinct to Liverpool in March and to the Wirral during June.

She added: “I have got so many ideas for future events, I am really driven and am thoroughly enjoying the challenges and opportunities that running my own business brings.”

Anna, who has two children aged three and six, says that running her own business allows her greater flexibility around being a mum. Once she had decided to become self-employed Anna set to by looking on the internet to see what business support would be available to her.

“I couldn’t believe it when I came across Train 2000” she added, “I didn’t know that there was organisation that provided free business advice to women, so when I saw it on the internet I made an appointment and went along to meet with an adviser.

“Mike was extremely helpful, he gave me lots of support and was extremely enthusiastic about my business idea and helping me to push my business forward.”

Anna received help and advice under Train 2000’s business support programme where she received one to one advice from a business adviser as well as help with putting her business plan together.

“I know it sounds a cliché but I really couldn’t have done with without Train 2000” said Anna.

Mothers Instinct takes place on Sunday November 28 at the Waterside Hotel, Didsbury in Manchester. Anyone who is interested is in finding out more should call Anna on 07791 070 457 or email

To find out more about RDA Events visit

And, if like Anna you are a woman from the Stockport area and area and are keen to start up your own business please call Train 2000 on 0161 833 8800 or visit

Friday, October 8, 2010

Liverpool businesswoman launches unique furniture collection

UPHOLSTERER and designer Kirsty Hull loves nothing more than to re-upholster and restore vintage chairs transforming them into something truly special – with this in mind she decided to start up her own business.

“I offer a bespoke service” said Kirsty, who recently founded Kirsty Hall Ltd, “all of my chairs are upholstered using traditional methods and materials, with tied springs and hand embroidered covers. This includes my ‘collection’ of repeatable designs and my ‘vintage’ collection of one off restorations.

“I also offer a full re-upholstery service and due to the traditional way I work, I can alter designs and fabrics to suit the needs of the customer.”

Kirsty has put a lot of time and dedication into developing her collection of handcrafted furniture and uses her unique creativity and craftsmanship combined with traditional methods of upholstery to produce her work.

“I am really pleased with the work I have produced so far,” added Kirsty, “I know I am producing unique pieces that will last a lifetime and I am delighted that I will be exhibiting at the Liverpool Design Festival this year, where I one of my vintage chairs is being offered as a prize to visitors. This will be a fantastic opportunity to gain further exposure for my work.”

Prior to starting up her own business 28-year-old Kirsty was working as a recruitment consultant and with bosses urging her to go for promotion she knew it was now or never to start up her own business.

Kirsty said: “I was working long hours in recruitment, but earning a good living from doing so. It reached the point where I was expected to further my career and as much as I enjoyed my job my heart wasn’t really in it, I knew I wanted to return to something more creative.

“I left my job, which was a big gamble, not knowing what my income would be. As soon as I decided I wanted to start the business I knew I had to do it ASAP, before I lost my nerve! I still can’t believe I took the risk but am so glad I did.”

Back in 2004 Kirsty graduated from the Glasgow School Art and went on to train in traditional upholstery with AMUSF, the Association of Masters of Upholsterers. It was always her intention to use the skills she had learned along with her natural creativity and it was this that spurred her on to start up her own business.

“I absolutely love what I do now” says Kirsty, “and I have been very lucky to have a supportive partner and family. I feel fulfilled now that I am doing something I really wanted to do and already I have been asked to complete some really interesting pieces of work including re-upholstering and restoring a 200 year old day bed.

“It’s amazing to be able to take an old piece of furniture and completely transform it so that it fits in with contemporary design. I live in a very modern apartment but have a vintage dinning table and odd, oak and mahogany chairs all upholstered in different vibrant fabrics, the contrast with the contemporary building looks fantastic.

“My work is quite unusual and it is starting to get noticed, I’m hoping that more people will hear about what I do through word of mouth and showing at exhibitions like Liverpool Design Festival.”

Once she had decided to start up her own business Kirsty came along to Train 2000 after finding the organisation online. Kirsty accessed free help and advice under the business start up programme.

She said: “Train 2000 was fantastic, I came away £500 better off after receiving the Liverpool Vision grant. Huda, my adviser was extremely helpful and she looked at all areas of my business plan with me.

“I also attended a number of the one day courses on offer and they proved to be very useful. It’s daunting striking out on your own but the support offered by these courses can really improve your knowledge and confidence, filling in the gaps around tax, accounting, PR etc. and making your ideas achievable.”

To find out more about the unique, creative work of Kirsty Hull you can visit her website at or email

And, if you’re a woman in the Merseyside area and are interested in starting up your own business call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Anfield businesswoman launches 'Off Your Cake'

FORMER Bank worker Rhonda Carney had always wanted to start up her own business and at 47-years-old she decided ‘it was now or never’ and that’s when she set up Off Your Cake.

Now, the Anfield resident has opened up her very own bespoke cake shop on County Road offering delicious and original cakes which she lovingly creates and designs herself.

"I have always wanted to work for myself" said Rhonda, "I have always had a flair for making cakes but it has only ever really been a hobby. It got to the point in my career where I thought if I am really going to do this, I need to do it now and that’s exactly what I did."

She added: “My instinct was to hand in my notice at the bank and live the dream.”
Rhonda, who is mum to her four children, opened the shop up in July and she says that already business is doing extremely well.

She said: “I will design something completely unique for my customers or they can chose from an extensive one off range.

"I specialise in caricatures, so if a bride and groom give me a photograph I will do a caricature of them on their wedding cake.

Rhonda continued: “It’s great to be given artistic licence and to let my imagination run wild. I have been asked for all kinds of designs including a giant fish, the statue of liberty, toy story cake and many more.

“My flavours are extensive too. I pride myself on the home baked cake, everything is prepared fresh on my premises.”

Prior to starting up the business Rhonda worked as a Customer Relations Manager at Barclays Bank. She gave up her job in March this year then came along to Train 2000 where she received help and support in starting her business up, under the business start-up programme.

"The support I received from Train 2000 really did help me" said Rhonda, "it was really useful to have some one to sit down with to put my business plan together and to know that I always had somewhere to turn to if there were any questions I needed answering."

Rhonda also received a business start up grant from local enterprise initiative Step Clever which supports residents in six wards across South Sefton and North Liverpool.

She added: "I was so pleased to receive a start up grant from Step Clever. It really helped with my initial business start up costs and made a massive difference to me."

"I love working for myself" said Rhonda, "I really enjoy what I do now and I look forward to going to work. Being self-employed is definitely a challenge as you have to run all aspects of the business, but I will never look back."

To find out more about Rhonda’s cakes you can either drop into Off Your Cake at 180 County Road, Walton or visit her website at

And, if like Rhonda, you are interested in starting up your own business then please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Business is booming for female plasterer Stephanie

WHEN single mum Stephanie Kilshaw was made redundant last December the search for a new job became almost impossible – so after four months of unemployment she decided it was time to take a new approach.

And that’s when she took the decision to start up her own business – as a plasterer.
“I had always worked in an office environment within Human Resources” said 34-year-old Stephanie, “but when I was made unemployed and couldn’t find a new job I decided to turn my hand to plastering and set up my business The Pink Plasterer.

“I love plastering and have plastered for friends and family in the past, so I decided to give it a go. I went along to the DIY School in Stockport which supports women doing careers like; plastering, tiling and decorating and I gained the qualifications I needed to run alongside my experience.”

Then Stephanie came along to Train 2000 where she received free help and advice under the business start-up programme, which included one-to-one support in putting her business plan together and the opportunity to attend a series of one day workshops.

“I honestly could not have done this without Train 2000” said Stephanie, who is from West Derby, “It felt very daunting going into a male dominated area as a plaster and I didn’t know if I was doing the right thing. But the staff at Train 2000, were so encouraging and made me believe in myself and that I could make it work.

“I had never done a business plan before and the help I got was just brilliant. I have been on a couple of courses including the tax and national insurances ones and they have made me feel so much more confident about the financial side of running my business. Train 2000 was fantastic and I would certainly recommend it to other women.”

And, since starting up the business Stephanie has literally been inundated with work and is currently working a six-day week to keep up with demand. She has even taken on a labourer and plans to increase her workforce over the forthcoming months.

She said: “The fact that I am a woman is really working in my favour. A lot of my customers are the over 60’s who say they feel happier having a woman in the house and they think I will be tidier than a man! A lot of builders are also using me to do their plastering because they believe women are more meticulous.”

Stephanie says that when she first started up the business a lot of her friends were amused by the fact that she was a female plasterer and that men in particular would joke about her line of work – but she says that once they had seen her plastering they joked no more!

Stephanie, who is mum to her four-year-old daughter Meg, added: “I absolutely love what I do, being self-employed is great and I can’t ever see myself working for anyone else again. And, being a mum, it means that I can manage my work around my little girl.”

Over the next three years Stephanie has plans to develop a Merseyside-wide women’s DIY service and is looking to take on women in other areas such as painting and decorating, tiling and much more.

“I really think there is a call for this kind of service” said Stephanie, “I have seen how popular my plastering work is and the response I get to adverts because I say I am a female plasterer is astounding. I definitely plan to build the business up further – and although it was hard at the time, I’m now glad I was made redundant otherwise I may never have had the chance to do what I’m doing now. Every day I look forward to going to work and I really love what I do.”

If you would like to speak to Stephanie or to get a quote for some plastering work please call her on 07861 702 463 or email

And, if you’re a woman from the Merseyside or Greater Manchester area and are interested in starting up your own business please call Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601 or visit

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Recruitment success for Stockport businesswoman

WHEN the firm Lyndsey Meredith was working for underwent a huge restructure it was just a matter of time before she took the steps to become her own boss and now she says ‘there is no going back.’

At 26-years-old the Sociology graduate, who now runs her own recruitment consultancy, Meredith Consultancy Services is delighted with her new venture which she officially launched on 1st June, making substantial profits in just her first month.

“I am very focussed and keen to do well” said Lyndsey, who formally worked as a branch manager for Reed, “already I am in-undated with clients looking for work and have got a lot of businesses on my books.”

Having worked in Stockport since graduating from Manchester University Lyndsey has already built up good contacts in the area which she says is helping immensely with her new business.

She now offers her recruitment consultancy services throughout Stockport, Cheshire and the North West, across numerous sectors such as HR, accounts, administration, IT and many more.

She said; “Previously I worked as a branch manager and was managing a team of seven. Now that I run my own business I get to do all aspects of the job including management and recruitment. I am thoroughly enjoying being my own boss and can’t ever imagine returning to employment again.”

After leaving Reed following a restructure of the organisation, Lyndsey moved on to work for a small recruitment agency in Salford Quays – but left in April this year to start up her own business.

“It’s been a busy few months” said Lyndsey, “I left my job in April and then got married in May and went on my honeymoon. Since then I have been doing everything to make a success of my business including advertising, cold calling, sales and the hard work has really paid off.”

Prior to starting up her business Lyndsey came along to Train 2000 after a former colleague, who had also become self-employed, recommended the organisation to her.

Lyndsey received free help and advice from Train 2000 under the business start-up programme.

“Train 2000 really was a great help to me” said Lyndsey, “although I had previously put together business plans in my jobs, I had a lot of questions about the financial side of running my own business and my adviser really helped me with this.

“I also went on the Tax and NI course which Train 2000 runs and this really did teach me a lot.”

Lyndsey says it is nice to know that there is always somewhere to turn if she needs a question answering and she has also attended a number of networking events with Train 2000.

Lyndsey has great plans to move her business forward and by the end of the year hopes to take on two new members of staff.

If you would like to find out more about Meredith Consultancy Services please email Lyndsey at or visit her website at

And, if you are interested in finding out more about the free business support services being offered to women in the Stockport area please visit

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Business Success For Stockport Mums

FOR friends Christine Bradshaw and Lynda Roberts opening up their own business is about much more than going to work – because the two mums have a real passion for what they do.

“It’s a pleasure coming into work, we love what we do and it’s fantastic being our own bosses,” said Christine who along with business partner Lynda opened up Sophie Rose Interiors in their hometown of Reddish, Stockport, earlier this year.

“We have both got children and have been friends for years. I was looking to do something new and Lynda had previously run her own business, so we decided to join forces and give it a go” added Christine.

Sophie Rose Interiors, which is based in the heart of reddish sells vintage products, as well as a range of made to measure curtains – and the business partners buy and restore old furniture which they then sell on.

Prior to starting up the business Christine, aged 46, was unemployed after leaving her job as a teaching assistant, whilst 49-year-old Lynda had ran her own business before. Now the partners have combined their skills and experiences for their new venture, with Lynda undertaking a lot of the work in the shop whilst Christine is responsible for all other aspects of the business including administration, marketing, finance and much m ore.

After deciding they wanted to become their own bosses Christine and Lynda came along to women’s enterprise agency Train 2000 where they received free help and support under the ISUS (Intensive Start-up Support) funded programme.

As well as attending a business planning course Christine and Lynda worked on a one-to-one basis with their adviser Mike. “The support we received from Train 2000 was excellent” said Christine, “It was very useful to have some one who could help us along the way, in putting our business plan together. It was nice to have somewhere to turn for any questions or queries we had and we would definitely recommend other women to access the services offered through Train 2000.”

They first heard about the organisation when Christine searched on the internet for somewhere in the area they could turn to for the business advice they were looking for.

“We have both lived in Reddish all our lives” said Christine, “and we are delighted that we have been able to open up a shop here, as we are very optimistic that it will make a difference to the area. We are both very passionate about the town and are keen to make a positive contribution to it.”

To find out more about Sophie Rose Interiors call into the shop on Gorton Road in Reddish or if you want to speak to Christine or Lynda about their range of products and service give them a call on 0161 222 1017.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Where There's A Will There's A Way for Southport Businesswoman

WHERE there’s a will there’s a way – that’s the attitude Corrine Sankey adopted when she took early retirement and was looking for something new in her life.

“I had been working in the Court Service as a Legal Adviser for six years” said Corrine, “and due to cutbacks they were looking for people to take early retirement, which I opted for. But there was no way I was ready to retire so I started thinking about what I’d like to do”

That’s when Corrine, who is a qualified solicitor, decided to start up her own will writing business Where There’s a Will, which offers a variety of will writing services including Will Drafting, Appointment of Executors, Trustees & Guardians, Document Storage,Residential/Nursing Home Care, Advising the Elderly, Lasting powers of Attorney, and Video wills to support the written will, as well as much more.

She said: “Once I had made my decision I set to work quickly. I knew if I was going to set up a will writing business I had to do it properly as making a will is a huge responsibility”.

Corrine became a member of the Institute of Professional Will Writers (IPW) and passed a number of exams to become fully qualified in this area.

Corrine believes passionately the Will Writing industry should be regulated, she said “there is a growth of DIY, internet and unqualified Will Writers, offering a service which leave many people misled into thinking their will is sound when it is not. Getting it wrong could bequeath a potential nightmare for bereaved and grief stricken friends and relatives to deal with.”

Corrine, who is based in Southport, received free help and support through women’s enterprise organisation Train 2000 as part of the ISUS (Intensive Start-Up Support) programme. She worked on a one-to-one basis with an adviser to put together her business plan. “Train 2000 was great” she added “everyone I came into contact with was extremely helpful and supportive. My adviser Rhian was always willing to help and it was so nice knowing there would always be some one at the end of the phone to support me when I needed it.”

Corrine also attended Train 2000’s Business Planning course as well as the PR workshop and is hoping to undertake further courses in the future.

Despite only launching the business this March, Corrine has already gained several clients and has received very positive feedback. She is now about to launch a marketing campaign to make people aware of her business. She continued: “It’s so important for people to do a will or to update an old one if their circumstances have changed but where my service differs to that of going to have a will made at a solicitors, is that I will go out to clients’ homes to write the will and I offer a very personal and flexible service; my rates are also extremely competitive.”

She also believes that being a woman is a massive advantage to her business. She said: “Anything in the legal sector is very male dominated and a lot of people, particularly women, feel more comfortable talking to another woman, particularly when I am going into their homes.”

Corrine, who is married and has two sons aged 18 and 22, says that her family has been extremely supportive. “My boys are so interested in what I’m doing” added Corrine “and they are always looking for ways to help me develop my business.

“I am thoroughly enjoying being my own boss and am so glad this was the path I chose”.

To find out more about Corrine’s will writing service visit her website at or email
Alternatively you can contact her on 07824631077 or 01704 213979

And to find out more about Train 2000 and the FREE services offered to women throughout the Merseyside and Greater Manchester areas visit or call 0151 236 6601.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Stockport Grandmother 'Illustrates' How to Succeed in Business

AFTER nine years of being unable to work due to poor health Rose Lloyd decided it was time for change and that’s when she enrolled on a Visual Art & Design course at Stockport College.

Now, the 57-year-old grandmother has put her newly acquired skills to full use and has started up in business as a freelance illustrator.

“From a very young age I was interested in art” said Rose, “but my parents were of the opinion that you couldn’t make any money doing art, so it was something I never pursued.

“I worked for some time doing technical drawings but this never enabled me to use the creativity that I wanted to. I hadn’t been able to work for almost ten years because of a severe back problem I have, but I knew that I needed to have something more in my life so I took up painting. I enrolled on a foundation course and then decided to continue on to do my degree.”

Since setting up in business Rose has already completed work for Manchester’s BBC Philharmonic and has had her illustrations in the Nursing Standard, the Radio Times and the Times Educational Supplement.

She continued: “It’s a great feeling to see my work in publications, I am so proud of what I have achieved and I really feel as though my life has changed for the better.”

Rose came along to Train 2000 for help and support in starting up her business. She accessed free support through the ISUS (Intensive Start-Up Support) programme and worked on a one-to-one basis with an adviser to develop her marketing and business plans. All services provided through Train 2000 are offered free to women throughout the Merseyside and Greater Manchester areas.

Train 2000 was very good” said Rose, “I worked with an adviser who made me really think about some of the areas I hadn’t even considered such as tax and keeping financial records; they’re the thing people don’t really like to think about.”

Rose, who has grown up daughters and young grandchildren, has her own studio at Vernon Mill in Stockport which provides her with the space to create her illustrations.

She added: “It’s great to be able to work after so many years of being unable to. Because of the nature of my business I can manage it round my back pain.

“This is the best thing I have done for years and it has really helped to improve my self esteem.”

To find out more about the work undertaken by Rose visit or email

And, if you would like to find out more about the FREE services offered by Train 2000 to women in the Merseyside and Greater Manchester areas please visit or call 0151 236 6601.

Monday, March 29, 2010

An 'Eventful' Career Change for Local Business Woman

WHEN professional businesswoman and mum-of-three Cathryn O’Grady took redundancy from her job in November 2008 she set her sights on something she had been ‘threatening to do for years’ and started up her own business.

As an Events & Communications Specialist, since becoming self-employed, Cathryn has already organised a number of high profile events across the region and is confident of her ability to succeed as an entrepreneur.

“With more than 15 years experience in the industry I knew I could make it on my own” said Cathryn, “it was just difficult taking the plunge and actually making that first step.”

But 40-year-old Cathryn, who has three year old twin boys and a one year old baby boy, knew it was the right decision to make.

She said: “When I was working in Manchester I was travelling up and down the M6 and doing 12 hour days, and seeing my kids only to put them to bed. As a working mum it is extremely difficult to get the balance right, but now that I work for myself all that has changed and it is so much more flexible.”

Cathryn worked for the most part of her career for Trinity Mirror starting off in newspaper sales before working her way up to Regional Head of Sponsorship, Events & Exhibitions, where she organised and developed a number of large scale corporate and consumer events. She later moved on to work for an events agency in Manchester as Operations Director.

And, having built up a good name and reputation for herself Cathryn found the transition of being employed to becoming self employed far easier than she thought it would be.

“Luckily for me” continued Cathryn, “I had built up a great deal of contacts over the years and this made it much easier when setting out on my own. I got work straight away off my own reputation and have already organised events for a number of prestigious companies and charities across the region.

“All of this work has given me a fantastic start to the business and has also triggered a number of collaborations with contacts I have established over the years, which will enable me to secure work that wouldn’t have been open to me on my own due to having only just set up in business.”

Cathryn, who now lives in Burscough, has set up her business in the North Liverpool area and as well as receiving help and advice from women’s enterprise agency Train 2000, she has also benefited from the Stepclever programme. Cathryn received a grant from Stepclever which she used to help fund office equipment and also to develop a strong brand for her business, as well as stationery, a website and a marketing campaign which will allow her to compete for tenders on a larger scale both inside and outside of the region.

She said: “The support I have received from both Train 2000 and Stepclever has been excellent and being awarded the Stepclever grant has really helped me in these initial stages.”

As a confident entrepreneur, Cathryn undertakes a great deal of networking and socialising and is always looking for opportunities to meet new contacts and develop business relationships. But, she recognises that as a woman in business this can be extremely daunting.

“There are so many barriers that women face when they become self-employed” said Cathryn, “and for many women I think the biggest barrier is confidence. I consider myself to be an extremely confident person, but even now when I go to a networking event I can still feel a little uneasy about it and can see how for some women this would be completely daunting, it is always easier to go with other people first.”

Cathryn believes that other barriers faced by women include accessing financial support and managing a family round having a career.

“Despite the barriers” continued Cathryn, “there are so many positives about becoming self-employed and I would certainly urge any other women who are thinking about it, to have a go.”

It is early days for Cathryn’s business but already she has big plans for the future. She said “I am making more and more contacts all the time and am really getting my name about. I plan to continue to work collaboratively but am also very keen to develop more of my own projects, so watch this space.”

“I have massive plans for the future, but for now I am thoroughly enjoying my work and am so glad I took the decision to become self-employed.”

If you need support with project or events management and would like to find out more about the work undertaken by Cathryn O’Grady please contact her on 07918174176 or email

And if you are a woman from the Stockport or Merseyside area who is interested in starting up your own business please contact Train 2000 on 0151 236 6601.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Train 2000 Plays Host to Researcher Dr Isolde Anderson

"I have felt very welcomed and for sure want to come back" said Dr Isolde Anderson following her research visit with Train 2000.

Isolde whose research interests include organisational culture and leadership has been visiting Liverpool Hope University from Hope College in Michigan in the US. She came to Train 2000 to learn more about how the organisation operates, and to see what the "personality" of the company was.

Isolde commented:
"I have always performed cultural analysis on organisation I was a part of, so I was interested to be an 'outsider' looking in."

When asked what her impression of Train 2000 was Isolde said
"Without giving away too much of my reserch at this point, I would say Train 2000 is an organisation that empowers women - not only by the services offered, but through the way those services are delivered in supportive and consistant way."

During Dr. Anderson's final day with Train 2000 on Wednesday 24th March 2010 we asked her what she would take away from her experience.
"I think it would have to be the importance of feminism, whether you idetify it as 'the F word' or not. Women are powerful and can be empowered with the right support."

Referring to how the staff team works together Isolde said
"There is a real female way of caring for one another shown here - not in an unprofessional way, it's through sharing."

Train 2000 look forward to the final report from Dr Anderson's research which she referred to as "uncooked porridge" at this point. Her hopes were that her "notes will become insights to share and use once cooked".

Thursday, March 11, 2010

WICED President Leads the Way for Women's Economic Development

"We will make the rest of the world sit up and take notice of what women can, should and will achieve" said Councillor Flo Clucas OBE as she was inaugurated as the first President of WICED (the Women's International Centre for Economic Development in Liverpool).

The presentation of the presidential broach and offical inauguration took place on International women's day in conjunction with WICED's annual lecture - "Developing Women's Entrepreneurial Talent" presented by Professor Colette Henry.

Chair of the board for WICED Alison Price commented that she was "proud and delighted" to inaugurate Councillor Flo Clucas and praised her for her continued support and hard work on women's enterprise.

Held at the Novas Contemporary Urban Centre the lecture was attended by local council members, leading local enterprise initiatives, representatives from the Universities, and female entrepreneurs.

Following on from Councillor Clucas' moving speech where she told the attendees
"As women we are making a statement about what we want other women to be able to do"
Professor Henry gave an insight into ways to help women to overcome the barriers that prevent them from making their dreams a reality.

Making it clear that she believes in empowering women to believe in their own ability, Professor Henry also added that it is essential to
"give women a realistic picture of their journey to where they want to be. It won't be easy, but with the right support they CAN do it".

To keep informed of the developments with WICED follow this link. And to see more photographs from the event check out our flickr album.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Stockport Woman Sets a Business Trend

AFTER being on maternity leave with her second child Stockport mum and fashion designer Tracey Shahlavi decided she no longer wanted to return to work – but instead set her sights on becoming her own boss.

And, in September 2009 she did just this, when she opened up Serenity Co a fashion design consultancy.

“This is something I have always wanted to do” said Tracey, who has worked in the fashion industry for more than ten years, “when I went back to work after having my first child it was very difficult leaving her and I didn’t want to do it again, so becoming a mum for the second time gave me that final push I needed.”

Since launching Serenity Co Tracey has secured her first client and business is building all the time.

Having originally undertaken a Fine Arts Degree at the Cumbria College of Art & Design in Carlisle Tracey went on to train as a fashion designer and since then she has been involved in designing high street fashion collections for retailers such as Top Shop and Debenhams.

As well as working on a consultancy or freelance basis designing fashion collections for other companies Tracey is also looking at developing her own range of bridal products and is currently in talks with three factories in China who will work on the manufacturing side of the business with her.

“I am really enjoying working for myself” said Tracey, “Not only do I get to spend more time with my children who are aged one and four, and save a great deal on childcare costs, but I also feel that it is very rewarding working for myself.

“Self-employment really is the ideal solution for me as in the fashion industry you have to work very long hours but now I can plan my work round family life.”

Tracey recently designed some clothing for an outlet based in the Trafford Centre and said it was a great feeling to see her designs in the window. She added: “It was a really good feeling and it meant so much more because I am working for myself and not somebody else. When you make your own money you really feel proud of your achievements.”

After taking the decision to become her own boss Tracey made contact with women’s enterprise agency Train 2000 which has been contracted through Stockport Council with Stockport Boost to deliver business support that is specific to the needs of women.

Since then Tracey has worked on a one-to-one basis with a business adviser to develop her business plan and launch Serenity Co – services which have been delivered free of charge to Tracey under the Intensive Start-Up Support (ISUS) contract.

“The support I received from Train 2000 was fantastic” said Tracey, “I worked with my adviser Mike Marsden to develop a comprehensive business plan which really gave me the confidence to move forward. I had never done anything like this before but Train 2000 really supported me through this process so that it didn’t seem to daunting.

“I also accessed a marketing workshop through Train 2000 which gave me ideas about how to promote my business and the best way to use the internet and develop my own website. It’s really good to know that there is an organisation there who can offer me the advice and support I need.”

To find out more about Serenity Co visit or contact Tracey on 0161 486 0551, and for more information on the free business support you can receive from Train 2000 click here.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Singing Our Socks Off Success!

Mersey business woman Su Grainger celebrated the latest chapter of business success with close friends, colleagues and other local businesses last week when she opened her fantastic new training space.

Founder of 'Singing Our Socks Off', singing groups open to all abilities, Su has now developed her own rehearsal space thanks to Stepclever funding. Although Su will still run her groups across the county at various community venues, this exciting new office space will provide a regular venue where Su will offer one to one singing and speech training, as well as group rehearsals.

Based in Studio 11 of the St Mary's Complex in Waverly Street in Bootle, Singing Our Socks Off joins a whole host of other creative businesses taking advantage of this creative hub housed in the former primary school.

Those who attended the opening were treated to a performance from some of Su's students who joined together in African song in the communal hall at the Studios, an additional space that the incubated businesses have shared use of.

Train 2000's Enterprise Manager Jackie Williams (pictured with Su), who supported Su in the initial stages of setting up her business attended the event and commented:
"It's fantastic to see Su's business go from strength to strength. She is an inspiration to other business women, and testament that sheer determination does pay off."

For more information on the support available through Train 2000 and Stepclever for business start up and development, call our team on 0151 236 6601 or visit our website.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Toxteth Woman is Liverpool Vision's 1000th Business Start

A WOMAN who sells colourful and unusual African clothing and accessories has become the 1000th person to receive a business start up grant from Liverpool Vision.

Olusola Akinya, who lives in Toxteth has now opened a shop, ‘Dress Sense Couture’, in Kensington following financial support and advice from the city’s economic development company and its enterprise partner, Train 2000.

Olusola, a 22-year-old mother of three, initially had no idea that the clothes that her mother sent to her from Nigeria and that she wore to church were causing such a stir.

But such was the level of interest from people asking where they could buy similar garments that she decided to start her own business.

Olusola said: “My mother sells clothes back in Nigeria and she sent me some to wear and people here really seemed to like them and it was then I realised there was possible a genuine market for them.

“Now I’m providing customers with genuine African clothing and accessories at affordable prices as well as high quality hair and beauty products.

“Many of my lines are not currently available in this country which means it’s not just people in Liverpool that are buying them, but also from London, Birmingham and Manchester.

“Now if all goes to plan I hope to open an Afro Caribbean beauty parlour and employ hairdressers from different ethnicities.”

The Liverpool Vision Start Up Fund has been created to encourage and stimulate new business starts across the city. The Start Up Fund provides up to £500 as a grant to support start up costs and is available to new businesses in the process of starting up within the Liverpool City Council boundaries, especially those under-represented in business such as women, ethnic minorities and those with disabilities.

Chris Heyes, Business Start Up manager at Liverpool Vision, said: “One thousand business start ups is another significant milestone for us and is a testament to our continuing effort to support and stimulate enterprise in the city as well as a reflection of the enterprise culture that exists in the city.

“Olusola is an excellent example of how you can turn a good business idea into reality and we wish her every success with her venture.”

Olusula also received support from women’s enterprise organisation, Train 2000 as well as funding from the Prince’s Trust.

She added: “The support I’ve received from Liverpool Vision and from Train 2000 has been excellent not only in terms of funding but also in developing my business plan and being given a range of contacts to help my get my idea off the ground.”

For more information on the support that Train 2000 can offer and how to access funding for Business Start Up call our team on 0151 236 6601.