Monday, January 29, 2018

'I Kind Of Always Knew This Is What I Wanted To Do But In A Very Different Way And On A Bigger Scale' - Lucia Krivosudska

Lucia Krivosudska's long work commute on the London tube, from East to West London, got her thinking. Twelve years living in the capital, working in retail management, but was it really what she wanted to do? 

She had taught children to dance in children’s centres in her home country and knew this is what she wanted to do - “but in a very different way and on a bigger scale”. 

Whilst living in London, Lucia started to do her research and soon concluded that children’s centres had a similar set-up, they all seemed to be doing the same thing. She wanted to give parents what they wanted, but felt she could offer something more than what was already out there. 

Fast forward some time and Lucia’s plans were put on hold when she had her first baby. This gave her the opportunity to start writing up potential activity plans for what she hoped would be her future business. She believes she was spurred on by the creative environment she lives in; her partner designs cartoon characters! 

When her baby was 5 months old, the family decided to move to Liverpool. Here, she began to visit children’s centres, this time as a parent herself. She still felt her business idea could offer something more. 

It was at one of her play centre visits that she first learnt about The Women's Organisation . Coincidentally, Lucia is a Liverpool Mutual Homes tenant, who are a strategic partner of Enterprise Hub, which The Women's Organisation delivers on! 

After feeling satisfied with her research, Lucia took the plunge and booked a meeting with a business adviser. She was assigned to Business Adviser, John Jones, who helped to book her on to relevant workshops and training courses.

She said: “I realised the set up of my business idea would be a challenge due to funding, it would cost a lot to set up. After considering my options, I realised that I couldn’t keep on waiting, it’s better to get things moving slowly than not moving at all.”

Encouraged by the advice she received, Lucia decided to set up Bumbleland, a children’s entertainment business, initially on a small scale with the intention to grow.

She said: “Our aim is become a well-known children’s organisation or club, with various creative activities under one roof. We want to be the place where every child’s story begins.”

Being your own boss, is a big plus point for Lucia, but finally becoming a business owner means a great deal more. She added: “For me, it’s about personal fulfilment. Owning and running your own business can be more satisfying than working for someone else.”

Lucia says the biggest barrier she has faced is the financial aspect. She admits that she has had to keep earning from other work. Now a mum-of-two, she has to make sure she can provide for her family whilst still getting funds to develop her business further. She is in the process of applying for a start-up loan.

How does she cope? She says it’s all about planning and prioritising – “Just keep moving, bit by bit, but moving”.

Lucia was helped by The Women’s Organisation, who can help women with advice and workshops, to enable them to start their own business. If you are a woman and would like more information on setting up a business, you can contact them on / 0151 706 8111.

To learn more about Bumbleland, you can visit their Facebook page here. Or email

Cath & Liz Realised That If They Wanted Massive Business Growth, They'd Have To Change Their Approach

Cath Kerr and Dr Liz Royle

have over 40 years experience between them in psychological trauma, which is rare in their field. With a PhD and a Masters under their belts, these two women were well equipped to make their specialist knowledge a business venture.

Cath Kerr
Dr Liz Royle

Both Cath and Liz shared a desire to set up their own business, meeting for the first time at a CPD (Continuing Professional Development) group for trauma, they realised the possibilities and that two heads would certainly be better than one.

They set up KRTS International in 2010, offering one-to-one advice on dealing with trauma to individuals. Although going well, the business needed to grow and both women wanted to help more people. They decided to completely change their business model in 2016.

The women said: “We took a major leap of faith by stopping providing one to one services and then putting all our resources into working directly with businesses and creating further online products.”

Under the umbrella of KRTS International, the women have launched various e-health programmes offering psychological and wellbeing solutions for organisations to employ in their workforce. For example, KRTS Power to Recover can help a work organisation to strategically prepare for and respond to workplace trauma.

The women are preparing to launch a new programme which will have an accompanying app called KRTS Power to Lose Weight. The idea is being supported by Liverpool John Moores University, and aims to help people lose weight by addressing the mindset of losing weight, rather than the traditional approach of restricting your diet.

With a well-established business in place, getting business advice may not have seemed so essential. However, Cath and Liz knew about the work of The Women’s Organisation. The women booked to see senior business adviser Claire Pederson, who was able to advise them on growing their business and support them under the growth programme; New Markets 2. 

They said: “We have had some amazing support from The Women’s Organisation, including a revamped business plan, financial advice, general advice and they have put us in touch with new projects such as LJMU, which has helped us move one of our projects on considerably.

“Besides all of this, they have always been as passionate as we are about what we do, and they believe in our ability.”

The women say getting amazing feedback, makes the work they do all the more worthwhile. They are driven by their passion for their subject and only work with people who share their values and vision – “We live by the motto if you love what you do, you will never have to work a day in your life”.

Their business is so specialist, that they’ve had to branch out to international markets. Fortunately, the women are in a prime position to grow their business, seeing as what they offer is applicable to such a wide range of organisations, across the world.

KRTS now have large clients on board and with their new weight loss programme in the pipeline, more growth seems likely.

Cath and Liz received growth advice through; 'Women's Growth Accelerator' New Markets 2 Programme, which is aimed at women who are running a business focussing on business to business activity in the Liverpool City Region (Liverpool, Sefton, Wirral, St Helens, Knowsley and Halton) area who are ready to take their business to the next level, expanding their team and significantly increasing turnover. For more information contact us on or 0151 706 8111

If you'd like to know more about Cath and Liz's business, you can visit their website or contact them on

Hazel’s Motto Is ‘If You Can Imagine It, You Can Achieve It, If You Believe It, You Can Become It’

Hazel Langdon with her Argentine tango diploma

Setting up her own business hasn’t been easy, but Hazel Langdon says she finds it easier than when she was juggling a high-flying career with being a single mum.

Hazel has managed to turn her life-long love of dance into her career. She has set up Dance Unlimited, which offers dance lessons in Ballroom, Latin, Disco and Northern Soul. She spotted that no one was offering this type of dance in her area and since then it has gone from strength to strength.

Before taking the leap from employee to business owner, Hazel worked in HR and Consultancy Management. She reduced her hours to part-time so she could train to be a dance teacher. No doubt, difficult at the start, but well worth the effort.

Hazel said: “The business is going extremely well, better than I could have imagined at this stage. My Facebook posts are being viewed by up to 850 people and a recent video I posted was seen (and clicked on) by nearly 500 people!”

The Women’s Organisation were Hazel's first port of call. In her former job, she had rented out space within the building they're based in, 54 St James Street. All it took was a phone call and through Enterprise Hub, a business one-to-one meeting was set up.

She commented: “I just needed some current and relevant advice on how to set up. I felt excited and nervous at the same time but once I’d discussed my plans with my business adviser, I felt so much more confident.

“I received wonderful support from The Women’s Organisation, from the person who answered my initial telephone call to Yan Miao, my business adviser and of course the fantastic tutors on all of the courses I’ve been able to attend.”

The biggest barrier for Hazel, was feeling daunted by social media. Through advice and help, she’s turned this around.

Sharing her own story and tips on going it alone, Hazel advised other would-be business starters to know their product inside out.

She added: “Make sure you know your market, don’t be afraid and seek advice from professionals. Also, you will need a lot of energy so make sure you’re resilient enough to see it through from beginning to end.”

The best thing about being your own boss? - "The satisfaction of knowing that I am the one benefiting from all my hard work and enthusiasm and having the freedom to decide what, when, where and how things are done." 

And Hazel's business is going from strength to strength as she is now introducing new genres of dance including Sequence and Latino! 

Hazel was helped by The Women's Organisation! We want to make the prospect of starting your own business accessible to everyone. If you have a business idea, you can contact us on 0151 706 8111 or email

If you would like more information on Hazel's dance classes check out her Facebook page here or send an email to

Monday, January 8, 2018

Manchester Businesses? Excelerate Labs Is Here To Help!

Is your business registered in Greater Manchester?
Are you looking to grow your business?

Do you sell to other companies?

If the answer is yes, then read on...

We believe in nurturing our businesses and giving them the support they need to develop.

That is why the Women's Organisation Growth programme ‘Excelerate Labs' offers a comprehensive range of business support to help companies to grow and thrive.

Set in the context of the fast-growing Greater Manchester region, we are here to help businesses by improving their systems, developing their people and helping to create great leaders and managers.  

We at The Women's Organisation along with Manchester as a city region is committed to entrepreneurship.

Manchester has for centuries been at the heart of shaping the UK’s economy. Since the days of the Industrial Revolution, Manchester has played a pivotal role in developing how the world does business. The ten metropolitan boroughs of Greater Manchester – Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford, and Wigan – represent the most significant city region economy outside London.

As the UK’s second-largest economy, Manchester is an important economic engine driving the country’s growth and prosperity and has a GVA of £59.6 billion. Since 2010, the city has seen an overall increase in employment of 68,154 jobs, which makes it the seventh best for growing employment in the UK.
Today, Greater Manchester’s economic growth is driven by its diverse industry base, which has specialisms in business, finance & professional services, manufacturing, health innovation and creative, digital and technology.  
Manchester’s business strengths have helped it to develop a strong reputation as a competitive place to do business. It is anticipated that the levels of job creation in Manchester could outpace that of cities such as Berlin, Tokyo, and Paris between 2015 and 2020.*(* Beyond the City 2015, Oxford Economics)

Everywhere around the city development is taking place delivering new office blocks and homes. The north-west is now home to major broadcasters such as the BBC and ITV at MediaCityUK in Salford Quays. Additionally, Greater Manchester Internalisation Strategy (GMIS) has plotted a course for success by 2035 centred around eight critical priorities including being the global gateway for the UK and the North and becoming a magnet for foreign direct investment in key growth sectors. Upgraded transport, affordability and a digitally skilled workforce are helping to bolster this strategy.
Helping your business grow

Whether you are an SME, global company, trading charity or a location consultant, our team will work with you to build your strategy and business case for growth, find the investment routes, source the ideal property, recruit the right staff and introduce you to networks on the ground to help your business grow.

Through ERDF funding, The Women Organisation has been providing support to Companies with steady incremental to dynamic high growth strategies that have created and safeguarded jobs for the last few years.

At the beginning of  2017, we have been rolling out a new business growth programme called Excelerate Labs. With partners including DownTown In Business and The Princes Trust, we are already creating more new jobs for Companies we support; as well as further increasing their GVA (Gross Added Value) 

Excelerate Labs offers support for Greater Manchester SMEs across a range of sectors including manufacturing, digital, creative and technology, food, education, low biomedical carbon, and environment.

Our Excelerate Labs impartial specialists, Mike Marsden and Ameena Ahmed, have a reputation for understanding diverse business needs and helping to remove barriers for companies looking to grow. 

All of our services are tailored to your business and will save you time, money and effort. Some of the areas covered are:

Business Plans
Bank Loan Applications
Developing a strategy
Grant Searches/ Applying for tenders
Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)
Social Media Training
Sales Training
Develop Marketing Strategies
Recruiting the right staff
Relocation Plans
Brainstorming idea generation to grow your business

So are you driven to take your Company and team to the next level?

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Catherine’s Story: ‘How Change It Changed My Life’

In 2017 we launched Change It: Progress to Success for the women of Liverpool. This confidence-building programme has a mission to help women develop their confidence, feel more positive about what they can achieve and begin building the future they want.

As we enter 2018, we’re preparing for the next round kicking off in January (more info here!).

Now, let us introduce you to previous participant, Catherine, to find out how ‘Change It’ changed her life ..

“For a long time I lied to people. Whenever somebody would ask what I did for a living I’d pretend I was in paid work. I was too ashamed to tell the truth that I was unemployed and losing the hope of ever finding full time work. I had seen how people on benefits were portrayed on television programmes like Benefit’s Street as idle, crude and dysfunctional and was afraid that people would stereotype me the same way.


I was made redundant at the end of 2014. Although I felt disappointed to leave a job I loved I wasn’t unduly worried about my future prospects. I had good qualifications and several years of work experience under my belt. I imagined I would have few problems finding a fulfilling full time job and I immediately set to work looking for roles that matched my experience and interests. In the meantime, I kept myself busy volunteering at a mental health charity and used some of my redundancy pay out to study an English MA with the Open University.

I started 2015 full of optimism. As the New Year’s fireworks set off as I remember feeling really happy, I still had a good chunk of redundancy money left, was making good progress with my studies and had secured a couple of job interviews. By March my new year’s optimism began to wear thin, I still hadn’t managed to find any work and my redundancy money was dwindling fast. I applied for Job Seeker’s allowance the following month, I was entitled to benefits but found the whole process demeaning and felt like a failure.

As the year progressed things seemed to get worse, I was victim of a crime, my grandmother died and a relationship I was in broke down. It wasn’t long before depression set it, I began to lose hair and spent hours in bed unable to face leaving the house. Thankfully a friend pestered me to see a doctor. The doctor was really good and put me in touch with a counsellor, I was also temporarily put on a Health Related Benefits programme.

Within time I became stronger. The counselling gave me fresh hope and I felt able to look for work again. Within the next few months I came off sickness benefits and sent off what must have been hundreds of application forms. I would spend hours honing my personal statement and seek advice on how best to sell myself to prospective employers. Most of my applications forms went unanswered and I was rejected for roles at the few interviews I had managed to secure. With each set back, my hopes of finding work began to diminish, I became increasingly frustrated and there were times when I felt like giving up.

A work advisor told me about a course at Liverpool’s Women’s Organisation called Change It, which claimed to ‘help women overcome barriers to change‘. I applied but I felt cynical at any claims it could inspire my confidence. A week later I started the four-week Change it Course. The course was in a bright, glass building minutes away from Liverpool’s China town. I was a little nervous but walking in the room I received a warm welcome from the course coordinator, Jenny. 

The course examined the way we as women thought about ourselves. I came to recognise that I had developed very negative thought patterns about myself. I believed that I was a failure and unworthy of any employer’s attention. I also believed that my needs were not as important as other people’s leading to a lack of assertiveness. Having recognised these negative thoughts we worked on how I, and the other women in the room, could adapt the way we thought about ourselves. How could we transform such negative thoughts to a more healthy and positive thought process?

Slowly, through group exercises and the support from other women on the course, I began to change the way I thought. I could feel myself grow in confidence and learned more about myself than I could imagine. The course offered a safe environment where we were all able to be candid about our lives. It was the first time I’d been honest to a group of strangers about my unemployment status knowing I would not be judged.

Having completed the course I feel more confident and assertive. I have been able to say no, when appropriate, to things that I didn’t need or want to do. A couple of weeks ago I went for a job in Liverpool which involved a group exercise. In the past I’ve felt drowned out during group exercises, too timid to stand out, however, this time things were different. The Change It course had taught me that I, as well as others matter, and I confidently spoke and even collaboratively led in a group exercise. Later in the day I got the news I had longed to hear, I had got the job. The employer also mentioned that she was impressed by the confident and inclusive way I approached the group task.

I feel that without Change It’s help I would not have felt so confident on the day. I honestly believe that Change It has given me the tools to Change my life.”

Thanks to Catherine for sharing her inspiring story!

For more info on the next dates and venues for Change It: Progress to Success, click here.

To book your place or to speak to a member of our Engagement Team, contact us on 0151 706 8111 or