Thursday, December 14, 2017

Rounding Up One Fantastic Year of Change It: Progress to Success and Preparing for the Next!

In 2017 we launched a three-year programme, Change It: Progress to Success, designed to help the women of Liverpool see their true potential, and turn that potential into success. As the year draws to a close, we’re reflecting on a wonderful 12 months and looking ahead to the next round kicking off in January.

Losing confidence at any stage in life is normal. Women tend to look after or prioritise those around them, so self-development doesn’t come naturally. However, here at The Women's Organisation, we believe that building confidence is the first step to making change.

Through Change It: Progress to Success, we’re seeing first-hand women taking the time to build a more positive outlook in life  . And the feedback has been great! Just look at what some of our participants have to say ..

“I’ve finally got my confidence back”

“It has helped in all aspects of life, including my family life, my career goals and my self-worth”

“I have more self-belief, confidence, motivation and determination in my career and future plans”

“I now know that we women DO matter”

“I can be someone”

You can also read the message previous participant Maureen has for the women of Liverpool here.

‘Change It: Progress to Success’ covers many topics including becoming more assertive and breaking negative thinking habits in order to develop a more positive outlook in all aspects of life. ‘Change It: Progress to Success’ enables you to identify the clear and practical steps to take in order to build a better world for yourself at work, at home and in relationships.

If you think that this programme could be for you, we have a new batch of programmes starting in various venues around the city, and you can book your place now!

Everton Children's Centre, 19th February, 9:15am – 12pm (5 sessions)

Granby Children's Centre, 23rd February, 1.00pm - 3.45pm (8 sessions)

Speke, The Reach at Parklands, 10th April, 9:15am - 12pm (5 sessions)

54 St James Street, 11th April, 10am - 3pm (4 sessions)

Picton Children's Centre, 20th April, 9:30am - 11:30am (8 sessions)

54 St James Street, 16th May, 10am - 3pm (4 sessions)

If you’d like to find out more about the programme or if you’d like to book your place, please contact our Engagement team on or 0151 706 8111.

The same contact details apply for organisations looking to make a referral!

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

🎈 21 Years of The Women’s Organisation | Launching Our Film! 🎈

2017 has marked 21 years of The Women’s Organisation. That’s 21 years of supporting women. 21 years of celebrating their successes. And 21 years of being inspired, every single day by the women we get to surround ourselves with…

And we’ve been making full use of our 21st birthday this year with celebrations, parties, and events throughout the year – Just so nobody forgets!

So far this year we’ve launched an art collaboration with and currently have an exhibition here at 54 St James Street. AND, we’ve been working on a book which is going to be launched in early Spring 2018.

And the last thing that we’ve got to share with you is something we’ve been waiting to launch for many months…Our very own film!

We were lucky enough to work with the incredible team over at Bad Bug Media to put together this short film about The Women’s Organisation. We got together our founders, our staff team, our friends and our clients and sat them down for a moment of reflection of what we have achieved over the past 21 years and the work that is still to come.

We are delighted to be able to launch this film!

Give it a watch!

We believe it encompasses everything about us. Our mission, our vision and most importantly, our values.

It was a real pleasure to work with the Bad Bug team who are a credit to their industry. They spent lots of time working closely with us to find out all about the organisation and created a fantastic piece of media that really illustrates what we are about, all in under 2 minutes.

So please…Give it a watch! Share it around and let us know what you think of it. 

Because this video is about all of us. 

For 21 years we have been working for the economic development of women and we know we’ve made a difference, but we also know our work is not over yet. That’s why we are continuing, we are persisting, and we are working hard every day. For women. Everywhere.

Because when a woman is empowered, women are empowered…

Thank you for 21 years, here’s to another 21 and more!

The Women’s Organisation

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Meet T'shana, Our New Trainee Receptionist!

We’ve breathed new, youthful life into our W.O office in the form of two new lovely Trainee Receptionists that keep us smiling all day, Sophie and T’shana! We love staff introductory blogs, as we get to find out loads of interesting things about our new members of the team (like when Ellie told us that she has a qualification in archery).

First off, we’ll be introducing you to T’shana – if you’ve popped into 54 St James Street recently you may have had the pleasure of meeting her. Have a little read below to find out more about T’shana and just how she ended up with us here at The Women’s Organisation. And be sure to say hello to her next time you’re here! 

T'shana and Sophie

What’s your full name and where are you from?

My name is T’shana Braithwaite and I am from Liverpool.

Tell me how you first found out about The Women’s Organisation and become part of our team?

I first came to hear about The Women’s Organisation through one of my tutors at college. I had been looking for a role which offered more progression and development than my then current role at McDonalds.

What kind of things have you done prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation?

Prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation, I completed numerous traineeships and employability programmes whilst working at a fast food restaurant. I also carried out a voluntary work placement at a sheltered scheme near me, as a way of helping the elderly and giving back to my community.


What has surprised you about working at The Women’s Organisation?

One of the things that surprised me about working at The Women’s Organisation is how welcoming the staff are and how quickly I have felt a part of the team. It’s also rather surprising how much I love coming to work every day!

What’s the best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation?

The best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation is the practical side of the role. For me, the thing I enjoy most is setting up for conferences and events held here at 54 St James St. It’s very hands on and it isn’t always easy, but still the best thing for me personally.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

No two days are the same working at the reception desk here at The Women’s Organisation. The job roles vary from setting up events to intensive filing! Some days can be extremely busy and others, not so much.

T'shana on Reception Duty

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

Maybe that I taught myself how to play the keyboard by ear and sometimes in my spare time I like to teach myself new songs.

What do you do when you aren’t working? 

Outside of work, I tend to spend most of my time shopping! When I am not shopping, I enjoy spending time with my boyfriend and my family. After all, family time is the best time!

Thanks T’shana – welcome to The W.O family, it’s great to have you here. 

Next up on the blog, we’ll be introducing you to Sophie – stay posted!  

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Meet Our New Trainee Business Adviser, Cynthia!

Cynthia joined The Women’s Organisation back in August as a Trainee Business Adviser. If you’ve visited us recently, you may have had the pleasure of meeting Cynthia, as she’s been working closely with our Business Advice Team. Although Cynthia is still relatively new to the office, she’s definitely a part of our W.O family and we’d like you to get to know her too. 

What’s your full name and where are you from?

Cynthia Elima Bosafola – Born in DR Congo – Grew up in London and now adopted scouser.

Tell me how you first found out about The Women’s Organisation and become part of our team?

I found out about the women’s org about 5 months ago, I wanted to start my own business and was looking for support and courses and found WO online and booked onto a course. About 3 months later, while I was working as an Intern at Launch22 there was a Future BOSS club event being hosted which I really enjoyed, which brought me back to WO, so whilst looking for a job, I went to look at what opportunities were at the organisation and found an opportunity as trainee business advisor and went for it and here I am. 

What kind of things have you done prior to coming to The Women’s Organisation?

I came up to Liverpool in 2009 to study Drama & English Literature and fell in love with Liverpool! After working in retail for 2 years I finally landed a job at the BBC in Salford as a Production Coordinator, working on such programmes as, Newsround, The one show & Songs of Praise. I worked at the BBC for 3 years and 1/2, although I miss the people I worked with I do not miss the 4-hour daily commute!  Other places I have worked are H&M, Liverpool airport & Chester races.

What has surprised you about working at The Women’s Organisation?

The office atmosphere- everyone is so friendly & welcoming and so supportive to each other. It’s chilled environment but everyone is still focused and getting the job done, but with a few tea trips and laugher along the way.

What’s the best thing about working at The Women’s Organisation?

The commitment to WO values and beliefs, in some places, people are either working for the money or just because it’s a job! Everyone whole heartedly believe in the vision of the women’s org and know that their job is vital to making this vision & mission a reality.

Could you describe one of your typical workdays?

I know it sounds clichΓ©, but every day is different, so this doesn’t happen every day but is a general outline.

As soon as I get in, I check my emails and calendar, see what meetings are ahead and what 1-2-1 I will be shadowing, I go ahead and start looking up what the client’s ideas are, such as a beautician, consultant or tutor. Gather information, workbooks that might be helpful for these clients, end up finding out a lot about different industries. Attend 1-21’s hears about all the woman's ideas, their history and where they want to get to! It great when you leave the end of that meeting and the client is so excited and confident about starting their business.

In between these meeting, I help the rest of business advisors with any and work or anything they need help with.  I also read up on a lot of business website, templates of business plans and blogs, so that I can be in the know of what’s going on in Liverpool! Occasionally might get asked to take an Usain bolt style photograph with my colleagues for a bid photo! All of that in a day’s work! Who says you can’t have fun in work!

The 'Dabbing Dance' photo Cynthia refers to! 

What might (someone) be surprised to know about you?

That I have a twin sister?? We are not identical! I wish we were, I would have got up to so much mischief when I was younger! I also have a fake dimple! It was caused by laughing so hard! Ask me and I’ll tell you the full story!

What do you do when you aren’t working? 

I love to work within my local community, I am involved in my local church in different ministries, such as community events, media & Kids club. I love to sew and bake, one after the other, sewing is hard work! I love spending time with my Godson, he has the cutest cheeks EVER! I love spending time with my boyfriend and family, I force them to watch Pitch perfect with me again and again (I’m on my 12th re-watch and counting). Accabelieve it!

Thanks Cynthia – we love having you here as part of the team! 😊 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

'Feel The Fear, And Do It Anyway!' Says Katie Bigelow of Little Sunshine Yoga

Knowsley based Katie Bigelow has some incredible words of wisdom for us all! Her tip for anyone starting a business (but we think it applies to all areas of our lives) is...

'Feel the fear, and do it anyway!'

Here's Katie's story...

Katie started working with children over 20 years ago in a number of settings such as schools, nurseries and educational environments.  At the age of 32 she decided to further her career and train to become a teacher. 

During her teaching degree she completed a children’s yoga course which allowed her to teach children’s yoga in the schools that she worked in on placement.  She had practiced mindfulness and yoga herself for many years and recognised the impact this had on well-being such as improved resilience, positivity, self-awareness, determination and focus. 

Some of Katie's young yogi's!
Once she qualified she went on another children’s yoga course which gave her the inspiration to focus on mental health support for children rather than education.  She then completed a mindfulness diploma.

With the help of The Women’s Organisation and Senior Business Adviser; Francine Taylor, she says she was given the confidence to leave her job and focus on her new business ‘Little Sunshine Mindfulness and Yoga’ which began in April 2017. 

Katie says ‘This is the best thing I have ever done as I am so passionate about how yoga and mindfulness can improve children's and adult’s well-being and mindset.  It really changed my life so the passion comes from the heart’. 

Katie has taught yoga in Calderstone’s Storybarn bringing yoga and literature together and is now teaching in a number of schools across Knowsley and Liverpool providing mindfulness strategies for children and teaching staff that calm the mind, reducing stress and anxiety.

A relaxing space to practice!
She says the benefits include improving children’s cognitive development, relationships with others, resilience, performance, self-esteem, concentration, determination and how to support their emotional intelligence. 

Not only does she work in schools but she also provides a 4-week mindfulness course from her home in North Liverpool which have become very popular, supporting people in her local area. 

Katie says; ‘The Women’s Organisation helped me to realise that everyone starting a business has a fear of failure but if you have a passion you just have to go for it regardless! Knowing that everyone feels the same way.’

‘My mottos is; Feel the fear and do it anyway!’

Little Sunshine!
Katie says it hasn’t been easy with being a mum to 2 children, training to be an adult yoga teacher, advertising and working it is hard but determination, passion and focus keeps you going.

‘The Women’s Organisation provided me with information, advice and training that were invaluable!’

For more information about ‘Little Sunshine Mindfulness and Yoga’ visit her website

And, if you’ve been inspired by Katie’s story and would like support to start your own business, then get in touch with us today! Email or ring us on 0151 706 8111

🍸 The Women's Organisation Helps Manchester Business Defiance Gin Launch & Grow! 🍸

Now, you might be thinking – aren’t you The Women’s Organisation? Don’t you only work with women?

BUT that isn’t the case! As part of our work in Manchester under our Excelerate Labs project we can support women AND men running businesses in the B2B (business to business) sector which enables organisations in the Greater Manchester area to innovate, diversify and grow creating new jobs.

Paul Sheerin and his business Defiance are one of the businesses that we’ve had the pleasure of working with this year, and this is their story…

Paul told us; ‘Defiance is a premium, distilled, small batch gin. Foraged across Lancashire, Yorkshire and Scotland…Our professional forager Alysia of Yorkshire Foragers, who works with the top restaurants across the country, sources and collects our wild botanicals. We use these fresh botanicals to give Defiance it’s truly unique flavour and characteristics.’

Paul started receiving support from ourselves after his wife Jo, who works at accountancy firm; KPMG, met CEO of The Women’s Organisation; Maggie O’Carroll and explained about the idea for a business that Paul had. Paul was then partnered up with one of our Manchester Business Advisers; Mike Marsden, and that’s where it all began!

‘I started working with Mike at the beginning of this year, when Defiance Gin was just in the concept stages. Since then we have been having regular meetings and it has been an absolutely brilliant process.’

Mike and Paul worked together on a number of different things, looking at laying down objectives and a timescale for the product and a business plan specific to Defiance Gin, as Paul owns another business wholesaling other gins. Paul says; ‘Mike made me say that it was important to have a business plan that was bespoke for Defiance Gin.’  

And, he had some great words to say about Mike; ‘I’ve really enjoyed working with Mike, it’s been terrific. I don’t say this about many people, but I actually looking forward to meeting up with Mike and having our meetings! He’s enthusiastic and knowledgeable and it’s been great to have a sounding board to bounce ideas off of.’

Defiance Gin launched last month and so far, things are going great for Paul, having already sold over 400 bottles! And it’s no wonder people love it so much, it sounds incredible!
Paul told us that; ’14 botanicals create Defiance Gin. We distil all of these ingredients separately to extract the best characteristics from each botanical.’ ­­– Their steep and boil method of distilling means that Defiance is an absolute treat for the taste buds!

‘It gives Defiance its wonderful and unique depth of flavour. An earthy backbone gives way to fresh citrus and wonderful notes of anise.’

And what are Paul’s plans for the future of Defiance Gin?

‘We’ve got big expectations for the future. I’m looking to export in Summer 2018 and continue expanding our national strategy here in the UK. Defiance can already be found in Michelin and 5 star restaurants and hotels across the country, so I’d like to continue working on that.’

To find out more about Defiance, and the incredible story behind their name, you can check out their website here! And check out their social media too

If you are in Greater Manchester and would like to find out if The Women’s Organisation can support you and your business, then get in touch with us today! Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

You can find out more information about our Excelerate Labs programme here.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Behind The Board | Meet Our Incredible Trustees | #TrusteesWeek

This week (13th- 17th November) is Trustee’s Week!

And as always we want to take the opportunity to thank the wonderful trustees of The Women’s Organisation for all the hard work they do to support us. And this year, we’re going to delve a little deeper and tell you all about some of our trustees.

We think Trustees Week sum up the importance of Trustees perfectly. Here’s what they have to say;

‘Trustees play a vital role in running charities, volunteering their time and working together to make important decisions about the charity’s work. Trustees Week is an annual event to showcase the great work that trustees do and highlight opportunities for people from all walks of life to get involved and make a difference.’

So, let's delve behind the board and find out about our trustees…

Gill Moglione

Gill Moglione is the chair of the charitable arm of The Women’s Organisation and a woman who has plenty of experience of working closely with women! An expert in the voluntary sector, she is now focussing her time on domestic abuse within Black, Asian, Minority and Ethnic and Refugee communities. Gill has a background of being a pioneering and persistent woman and we couldn’t be prouder that she’s the chair of our charitable arm. In her own words, she is; ‘Totally dedicated to women’s equality and progression both in and out of the workplace.’

Pat Shea Halson

Pat Shea Halson is the chair of the trading arm of The Women’s Organisation and an entrepreneur and business woman. She first became involved in The Women’s Organisation after undertaking one of our business courses which she loved so much that she joined the board of directors as part of her commitment to ensuring other women had similar opportunities to access our support. She has been running her own successful business for over 12 years; the Centre for Personal Development, and is a regular at 54 St James Street which is a lovely treat for us!

Mona Navin Mealey

Mona Navin Mealey is a qualified accountant and has over 25 years of experience in the private sector! Having someone with such extensive experience is such an honour for The Women’s Organisation, and Mona’s presence on the board has helped The Women’s Organisation immensely and she has undertaken lots of research which has continually helped us to develop, differentiate and grow.

Lynn Howes

Lynn Howes is currently the Business Development Manager at the Chartered Institute of Housing, but previously held the position of Business Development Director for Merseyside Special Investment Fund which was developed in 1996 in response to the fact that entrepreneurs were struggling to get the full financial support that they needed. Lynn’s years of experience working with entrepreneurs and businesses mean she is an absolute asset to our board!

Angela Foulton

Angela Foulton is a local entrepreneur with a particular focus on equality, diversity and social inclusion – values that exactly match ours! As well as being a trustee for The Women’s Organisation, Angela is also works closely with the Liverpool Dyslexic Project Steering Group and Liverpool Dyslexic Association, and she is keen to promote awareness of dyslexia.

Susan Oshikanlu

Sue is the Finance Manager for HEAT; the Health, Energy Advice Team and she is extensive experience of working within the charitable sector. Sue in her own words says; ‘I am acutely aware of the issues faced by women in local communities and am committed to ensuring that local services are in place to reverse this trend of social and economic exclusion’

Maya Mitter

Maya Mitter is currently a Development Manager for La Bomba and OLC Productions, but was previously a lecturer in Psychology and Essential and Core Skills Communication. Maya understands the different issues that women face at the different stages of their lives and works closely as a member of the board to ensure that women have the support and encouragement that they need to face these challenges. 

These incredible women are just a few of our board, and we are so grateful to have all of them! Trustees Week gives us the opportunity to celebrate their hard work they do all year round, so we'd like to take a moment to say thank you! Thank you to the trustees of The Women's Organisation - You're simply fantastic!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Caz’s Kitchen Cooks Up Recipe For Success At Merseyside Independent Business Awards

Cake baker extraordinaire Caroline Hill can now add the title ‘award-winning’ to her menu of business achievements.

Caz’s Kitchen, in Waterloo’s St John’s Road, received the very first Special Judges’ Award in the latest Merseyside Independent Business Awards, organised by Liverpool law firm Morecrofts.

Caz was nominated in both the Retailer of the Year and Community Impact categories, but was presented with the inaugural Judges’ Award after the panel declared it was “unanimously impressed” by her business model.

They said: “For the first time we are introducing the Judges’ Award, which is for one outstanding candidate in the room. Judges on both panels were so taken with one finalist’s entry that they wanted to ensure they are given special recognition. Of this finalist, judges said they showed exceptional social value, demonstrated a great background and an inspiring and delightful business.”

For Caz, it was recognition of years of hard graft to realise her business dream, helped more recently by specialist coaching from The Women’s Organisation, which has supported thousands of female entrepreneurs across Liverpool and Manchester.

Caz admitted: “The judges’ award was better than winning the awards we were nominated for. We’re still a bit gob-smacked. It is the first award we have won.”

Photo Credit: Mark McNulty
Being part of, and supporting, the local community is paramount to Caz, who said: “We’re very aware of our support locally, but to be recognised at one of the most prestigious events on Merseyside is fantastic. It’s also great recognition for our locality, which is really important to us.”

Caz’s Kitchen opened for business in 2014 and is more than just a cake shop.

She and her team create exquisite cakes, desserts, tartes, tortes, cheesecakes and puddings, but her extensive range is also one of the healthiest you will find.

Quality and ethics are paramount. She favours butter over margarine due to the associated palm oils and trans fats, she doesn’t over-sweeten or frost her cakes, and flavours come from in-house roasted nuts, Belgian couverture chocolate and fruits from her allotment.

Caz has also developed a range of special treats, her Happy Healthy Yum lines which are gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, refined sugar-free treats designed to fill you up and satisfy with slow-releasing energy, and are a great way of providing essential vitamins and minerals.

She began her career with a degree in Food Science & Nutrition and worked in product development for most of the major retailers.

Photo Credit - Matt Wilkinson Photography
However, she became disillusioned: “When I started in product development I was developing 10 products over six months. By the end I was juggling 200 products with a three-week turnaround from concept to launch.”

She was also unhappy with the process: “I was developing healthy-eating products and would take out fat and sugar, but then would have to put in E numbers to replace the functionality they represented. In my opinion it’s healthier to just have a bit of butter.”
So, 10 years ago she decided to set up her own coffee shop and deli.

She approached The Women’s Organisation who advised her on a business plan.

But finding the perfect premises proved elusive, so, she split her time working for a Liverpool restaurant, and baking for friends and clients at home until she found her ideal location in St John’s Road in 2014.

Recently she returned to The Women’s Organisation’s St James Street headquarters to hone her business skills even more.

“A couple of years into my business I thought, where do I go from here? I asked The Women’s Organisation if there was any support for people who are a few years in, and they put me on the growth programme, New Markets 2.”

She said the programme helped her “grow up, rather than grow” and look at improving some systems and procedures with specialist help through members of the Women’s Organisation.

“When you first start up you have to do everything yourself, I feel one of the reasons I’ve done so well is that I haven’t shied away from things I wasn’t good at or didn’t like. You have to make yourself an expert in all aspects of your business – I was concreting a floor in the shop a few weeks ago.

“I’m now three years in and can afford a bit more help – it’s the time to hand some things over to the professionals as they can do aspects of my business better and faster than I ever could.

“The Women’s Organisation have helped facilitate improvements to my accountancy systems and website. For example, we have just launched an online system where people can order cakes through our website.

"My focus now is to get back to what I am good at and what I enjoy – that’s what I believe will push my business forward.”

The shop has built up a strong customer base of regulars popping in for tea and a slice of cake and has become an established part of the community, illustrated by one testimonial Caz received which read: “For about 2-3 years I have been coming to your wonderful cake shop and been buying raw vegan goodies. However, this week I am being admitted to a mental health ward to help with my eating disorder recovery.

“Although this may not seem like a positive message, it truly is meant to be, I may not have been strong enough to beat the voices on my own, but your cakes were a large part of my own trial at recovering.

“Your shop has such a positive vibe towards food and loving yourself. I go in there and I feel safe and happy, and there are almost no food places I ever felt like that, but you have managed to create a safe space, and for that I couldn’t thank you enough.”

Caz is also keen to expand her wholesale operation on the back of the growing appetite for her products: “Healthy for me is about proper wholefoods that don’t come from a manufactured packet. If you want a treat, have a real homemade piece of cake, not a ‘chemical’ cake from the supermarkets,” she said.

And she admitted: “When we opened we were the first in Liverpool to do the raw/vegan cakes. I believe if I had opened a shop just selling the healthy cakes three years ago I don’t think people would have come.”

She said people’s tastes have slowly changed: “A lot of regulars would not normally have tried that sort of thing, but they have now added them to their favourites’ list. I do feel that we have positively impacted a lot of people by providing an alternative to a normal cake.
“We don’t make nearly as much margin on the healthy cakes, but I feel that is my good deed to our community and I can afford to have my business model work like that as they sit alongside our standard lines.”

Her best sellers are traditional cakes like Victoria Sponge, but people also love the variety in her seasonal range: “At the moment we’re making things like Sticky Toffee Apple cake and Chocolate Gingerbread – and we’re baking our Christmas cakes now, too, so they are super-matured for the festive season.”

Looking to the future, Caz said: “I just want to keep doing what we are doing.

“We are looking to take on a few more contracts, but slowly, slowly. It’s important to me to ensure great quality and customer service to our existing customer base first.

“People have offered to fund another shop, but I would rather do something well, than take on the world.”

So, if you would like to visit Caz and try some of her cakes, and believe us, they are INCREDIBLE, you can find all of Caz's details over on her website and by following the links below.

And if you've been inspired by Caz's story and would like to find out how we can help you start or grow your business, get in touch with us! Email us on or ring us on 0151 706 8111

Email -  
Address - 47 St John's Road, Waterloo, Liverpool, L22 9QB

University Graduate Ellie Ruddy Turned Her Hobby Into A Business Success!

Graduating university and entering the job market can be an incredibly scary process! 

With increased intensity on finding the perfect job and making a good wage, long and complex interview processes and just trying to stay afloat, it isn’t easy for graduates leaving university to figure out what they want to do and the best way to do it.

That is possibly why the number of recent graduates choosing to start their own businesses, rather than become employees, has nearly doubled over the past 12 months, according to new research conducted by PeoplePerHour

Speaking to 670,000 freelancers and small business owners, they found the number of graduates registering as businesses within a year of finishing university had risen by 97% with a 94% increase on recent female graduates.

And 23-year-old, Ellie Ruddy is just one of those graduates who is taking the leap, jumping from university life to that of a business owner!

Wirral based Ellie started her business; The Mixing Bowl just a few months ago after graduating from University, where she studied Food and Consumer Studies, in June 2016.

Ellie told us; ‘The Mixing Bowl provides celebration cakes for all occasions! But we specialise in buttercream cakes, brownies and dessert platters, using only the best quality ingredients.’

After graduating from University and beginning to look at graduate jobs Ellie soon realised that she didn’t want to go down the traditional graduate path; ‘I decided whilst I was still young that I was going to pursue my passion for baking and turn my hobby into a career.’

Baking was a hobby that Ellie had done for years, baking with her grandmother when she was little and continuing to bake throughout secondary schools where she revealed her entrepreneurial talents early, selling cupcakes to teachers and providing her school with raffle prizes!

She continued down the path of everything food related and went on to undertake her degree in Food and Consumer Studies at University continuing to expand her wealth of knowledge and her passion for food, baking and cookery.

After graduating and once she had decided that she would like to set up her own business, Ellie’s next step was to get in touch with The Women’s Organisation, and it was in fact her own Mum that told her all about the support we offer!

‘My Mum actually runs her own business and had worked with The Women’s Organisation herself, so she put me in contact with them and I went for an initial meeting with Senior Business Adviser; Claire Pedersen. We then had weekly meetings and I attended all of the courses such as Planning for Success, Basic Bookkeeping, Understanding Tax and National Insurance and Building a Social Media Strategy.’

‘Although nervous I was very excited to get up and running!’

Ellie admits that it wasn’t all easy going and the main barrier that she faced was the daunting prospect of starting a business straight after leaving university, and not having any prior knowledge of business processes or skills.

‘But weekly meetings with Claire, access to all courses as well as templates and documents that are needed for running your own business, was so helpful! Without The Women’s Organisation, I don’t think my idea would have been anymore than just that!’

And how is The Mixing Bowl doing now? Ellie says that business is going well!

‘I’ve just finished a busy summer season of events and food festivals, so now I’m turning my attention towards my Christmas range alongside completing cake orders and attending my regular farmers markets!’

Ellie took a massive leap of faith, and bucked the trend of finding a job, instead choosing to start her own business! And she’s enjoying every single part of it but says; ‘The best thing about running my own business is being a part of people’s special occasions and receiving great feedback afterwards – That always puts a smile on my face!’

‘I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved over the last 12 months! Being a young business owner has been nerve wracking, but many other business owners that I have met along the way have been supportive and given me advice about moving forward.’

And what are Ellie’s hopes and plans for the future of The Mixing Bowl?

‘I’m excited to continue to grow my business and explore the different directions I can take it in. A shop is definitely my next goal!’

We’ll watch this space Ellie!

If you’d like to find out more about The Mixing Bowl, you can do so using the contact details below.

Email -
Phone Number - 07805 804342

And if you’d like support starting your own business, like Ellie then get in touch with us today! Email or ring us on 0151 706 8111