Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Change Makers: How to Influence for Good

As Anita Roddick so aptly said it, “If you think you're too small to have an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito.”

From the films we watch, the articles we read, the people we speak to or the places we go – we are all influenced by someone or something every day. Likewise, whether you consider yourself a leader or not, what we do as individuals – either at home, in the workplace or in the community – impacts others.

Throughout June, The Women’s Organisation have been asking women and businesses, ‘how can you influence for good?’

Whether it’s making small changes in our own lives, implementing policies in the workplace or speaking out on social media about wider issues that mean something to us, we all have the power to make change. So how can we use that impact for good?

Since 1996, our organisation has promoted women’s personal and economic development, locally, nationally and internationally. During this time, we have engaged with over 60,000 women across the Liverpool City Region, supporting them to truly believe in what they can achieve.

In 23 years, we’ve built a diverse community of women who utilise our services, collaborate with the organisation, interact with us across social media or visit our flagship facility for women, 54 St James Street.

Having recently reached the milestone of 20,000 followers on Twitter, our platform has evolved into a safe space to share ideas around women’s issues. This month, we asked “how can women empower other women in the workplace?” which created a thread of inspiring ideas that we wanted to share:

Tomorrow’s Women Wirral: “Be a womanhood! In unity is strength, so share your life experiences, your skills, your hobbies & interests and support one another. Give each other a voice. Listen, talk, learn!”

Lisa Pearson: “Be willing to share your experience & life hacks with each other (both personal & professional). Let’s be honest - life is a minefield sometimes, it’s always good to know someone has been there, done that & survived!”

Anna B Sexton: “Make space for those who might not he offered it, learn when my voice isn't needed, run women only events, share and celebrate other women's success, acknowledge all women across the spectrum that is.”

Rachael O’Byrne: “If you’re in a meeting and a woman, let’s call her Sarah, makes a point and then a man makes exactly the same point afterwards, respond to the man saying; “yes a good/ interesting point you and Sarah have just made.”

Zoe Yak: “Understand that class makes it even harder to be a woman in business. We need empower but ensure we’re doing extra to empower women from working class backgrounds, single mothers and those without a university education who might have been taught to “stay in their lane”.”

Mandy Sinclair: “Don't be afraid to be vulnerable and be honest. Give your time to other women and share your real experiences. It's ok to say it’s hard, and that you sometimes struggle and have confidence issues. Owning up to that and sharing how you overcome that is really valuable.”

Andrea Heslop: “I believe it’s taking other like-minded women with you to share the opportunities don’t get there then shut everyone else out. Empower them. Surround yourself with positive liked minded women in your network.”

Francesca G.E Manca: “Support each other. Compliment and praise other women for their success. Help those at the start of their career to grow and shine. And never, NEVER stay silent when witnessing any kind from bullying, mobbing, prevarication, or any other threatening or demeaning behaviour.”

Marie Hall: “Encourage women to use their voice and be voice their ideas. See, connect and engage with other women from the trainees to women on the Board. Be present, speak up and be proud yourself so that other women see you doing this and feel safe to do the same. Make imperfection ok.”

Influencing others for good when it comes to women in the workplace means a lot to us. This month, take some time to raise conversation with others on the issues that matter to you – whether it’s gender equality, climate change, politics, human rights or something else.

From posting a tweet to a chat with a colleague in the staff room, your voice has the power to #InfluenceForGood.

Did you enjoy this content? Why not take a read of 9 ways to implement gender equality into your organisation.

Get involved in the #InfluenceForGood conversation on our Twitter!

Monday, June 24, 2019

'Just Get Started!' - Social Media Experts Share Tips and Stories on Boosting Online Followers!

It’s reported that 3.2 billion people use social media, making it clear to see that if you want to get your voice heard, you should probably be online. With that in mind, we rounded up some of Merseyside’s most savvy social media users to come and share their tips on how to get ahead and start building a following online at our event 'Building Your Social Media Influence'

Hosted by The Women's Organisations Training Co-ordinator, Bernie Cox, our panellists included; Head of Communications at Sefton Council, Nicky Speed, Producer and presenter, Ben Osu and Founder of multi award winning blog 'Mini Travellers', Karen Beddow. With the room full of people ready to start conquering the world of online communication, we eased our panellists in with the question on everyone’s mind.

“Do I have to be on every social media platform to reach my audience?”

In short, the answer was no with all panellists in agreement that it's more important to focus on finding out what social media platform is going to work for you and your business, from here you will be able to find where your audience are. For anyone unsure about what platforms to try first, Karen had a top tip

“Even if you don’t know if you’ll use that platform, I would still go on to register your username. If you decide to use it in the future, you will have an official username that everyone can recognise you by”

Successfully campaigning to bring the MOBO awards to Liverpool in 2010 and again in 2012, Ben shared some of his insights on how to make a campaign work.

“I worked tirelessly, constantly calling promotors” 

He spoke about social media playing a key element in his campaign

 “Social media can really compliment the work you’re doing. When I started campaigning, I used Facebook groups to get an audience together. At the end of the day, it’s all about engaging content. Once you got that in place, the audience will start to build itself”

At the heart of the Sefton Borough, Nicky spoke about how the community spirit influences her marketing team at Sefton Council. “Our biggest strategy for promoting our key messages is engagement. You need to be listening to what your audience wants. We work with different partners and organisations, so we like to share other people’s content and get involved in the conversation online”

The main message to come out of the night, JUST GET STARTED! Social media can take practice, but don’t be afraid to get it wrong!

A massive THANK YOU to everyone who attended our event and our guest panelists! a special thank you to Hala Saeed for taking photos of the event!

Feedback included:

“Really interesting, informative and funny! I have noted somethings I’m going to look at when I get home”

“Really informative! Picked up some great ideas & tips. I’ve been alerted to some things I was unaware of!”

“Fantastic, informative and well-chosen mix of speakers. Can’t wait for the next one!”

If you enjoyed Building Your Social Media Influence, we have TWO more networking events throughout summer. Join us on 17th July, 6-8:30pm for some Summer Collective, and on 21st of August, 6-8:30pm for Speak Out to Stand Out

Alternatively, contact us on 01517068111 or for more information.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

LCR 4.0 set to generate £31m GVA and 955 jobs over next three years

LCR 4.0, a part ERDF funded business support programme for the manufacturing sector, has created 80 new jobs and added £2.6m GVA to date. These figures were revealed at its Technology Showcase event which took place at Sci-Tech Daresbury last week. 

It is now predicted that LCR 4.0 enabled SMEs will go on to add an additional 955 jobs and £31.1m GVA to the local economy in the next three years.

Working collaboratively with local businesses, the project has given almost 300 SMEs the tools and resources to explore the opportunities and challenges of Industry 4.0 technologies, such as big data, systems integration, Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality (AR) and 3D printing. In using this advanced technology, SMEs can increase productivity, reduce costs and pioneer first-of-its-kind innovations.

The Technology Showcase event was a celebration of the success and impact of the LCR 4.0 programme, as well as a platform to highlight the additional support and funding available to SMEs across the North West.

Event attendees were welcomed by Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram as he praised LCR 4.0, its partners and the SMEs it works with for their contribution in positioning Liverpool City Region as a global leader in advanced manufacturing.

“There is a truly entrepreneurial spirit running through Liverpool City Region,” Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram said. “Because of this, the region can become, and in my opinion is becoming, a manufacturing global hotspot. Programmes like LCR 4.0 are making that possible, establishing innovative and dynamic manufacturing communities across the six boroughs.”

Several LCR 4.0 enabled SMEs took to the stage to give real life examples of advanced manufacturing in situ and there were several thought leadership talks from businesses including CNC Robotics which spoke about the ethics of robotics.

A recent survey by LCR 4.0 found that 82 per cent of SMEs say the programme changed their understanding of Industry 4.0, while over two thirds of businesses said it helped them to bring a product to market quicker. Innovative capacity was also enhanced in 82 per cent of respondents and three quarters were encouraged to be more ambitious as a result of the project.

Commenting on the survey results, Dr Andy Levers, technical director at the Virtual Engineering Centre (VEC) and technical lead for LCR 4.0, said: “These figures are real testament to the impact of the LCR 4.0 programme to date and that, if a business starts to operate in a more innovative way, they will generate better results quicker.”

SMEs are now being encouraged to get involved with Made Smarter UK – a new £20 million initiative set to engage with 3,000 manufacturers across the North West to embed advanced digital technology across the sector. With this new programme, it is thought the region’s manufacturing sector could generate a 25% increase in productivity and add £115m to the North West economy. 

“We’re well on our way to fulfil our potential as a hub of advanced manufacturing,” Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram continued. “What we need now is to collaborate and embrace new techniques and processes which will drive growth. The £20m Made Smarter initiative will follow in LCR 4.0’s footsteps and offer hundreds of SME manufacturers the chance to do just that, backed by a programme of guidance, advice and grants.”

The LCR 4.0 project, which is due to come to close later this year, has been delivered by partners University of Liverpool’s VEC, Liverpool John Moores University, Sensor City, STFC Hartree Centre and the Liverpool City Region LEP.

In 2018, the LCR 4.0 programme was hailed as an ‘exemplar project’ in the Made Smarter report and featured in the Top 100 European Digital Champions list by the Financial Times.

Event SME case studies:

- Quanovo:
- Glow New Media:
- CNC Robotics:
- Pulse Systems:
- EV Range:

For more information or interview opportunities, please contact:
Amy Cantrill at Active Profile on 0151 556 7050 or email

Monday, June 10, 2019

Adviser Tips: Why SEO is an Essential Part of Business Growth strategy

Your business may have a fantastic website with embedded video, all the plugins to make it super impressive, but if no one can find it then it isn't worth the time or money you invested.  Even if you are looking to outsource SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) it is important to understand the basics so you know if you are ticking the neccessary boxes. Search Engine Optimisation is essentially getting sites like Google to find your website and decide that it deserves a place high up in the search results.  Here are some key essentials to get you started:

Image result for Google search

On Page SEO
On page SEO is all the things you do to your website that have an impact on your search engine ranking. 

  • Keywords - You must put yourself in the shoes of someone searching on Google for a business like yours. What words or phrases might they type in?  These are your 'keywords'.  In order for Google to choose your website as a response to a search you must have those words or phrases on your web page.  Better yet at them as headings and sub headings to show Google that is what the page is about.  
  • Metatags and Alt Tags - In the background of every page you will have space for a meta tag and description, and every time you add an image it will ask you if you want to add Alt text. Ignore these at your peril! Meta tags and descriptions are quick ways to let Google know what your page is about - another place you can add keywords.  Adding Alt Text to your image adds to this as by simply labelling images what they are e.g. 'New Kitchen Liverpool' you are straight away reinforcing your keywords and given yourself the opportunity to be ranked in image searches too. 

Off Page SEO
There are lots of things you can do off your website that can support SEO. 
  • Link Building - Having other quality websites link to yours is a great signal to Google and other search engines to say that your site is quality.  You can start link building by adding your business with weblink to online directories, but you can also try the cheeky ask and pursuing guest blog opportunities or PR is another way to get others to link back to your site
  • Social Signals - Social Signals’ or ‘Social Shares’ refer to webpages overall collective shares, likes and social media activity seen by search engines.  If your social media presence is doing well and clearly connects to your website this can really help. 
Investing in SEO is one quick way yo reach new customers.  Above are some starter tips, but it is a complex beast, so worth getting some advice or further training.

If you are a business based in Greater Manchester and looking to explore SEO or other methods of growing your business then get in touch with our Excelerate Labs team.

Excelerate Labs is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and free to access.  Contact us on 0161 327 0967 or to find out more.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Enterprise Hub: Wirral Chamber help AJ & Friends get their business off the ground

Our Enterprise Hub partners at Wirral Chamber have been working with Beverley Williams to launch AJ & Friends - a domiciliary care provider for children with additional needs. Following her experiences with her own son, AJ, Beverley founded AJ & Friends out of the need for high quality support for families like her own. Working with business advisor Paul Rittenberg, Beverley got to grips with the practicalities of accountancy, bookkeeping and business planning, as well as core skills around marketing and social media.

Watch what happened when Paul caught up with Beverley about her business start-up journey...

Or you can watch the video on YouTube, here.

For more information about the support available from Enterprise Hub please contact 0151 706 8113 or

Wednesday, June 5, 2019

Businesses asked to Give an Hour to inspire young people

Liverpool City Region Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) has launched a new campaign to encourage businesses to make a difference to the futures of young people in Liverpool City Region. 

The Give an Hour campaign calls for employers and employees to offer an hour of their time to help young people prepare for the fast-changing world of work.

The initiative- run jointly by Liverpool City Region LEP and The Careers & Enterprise Company - highlights that in as little as one hour, organisations can help to transform a young person’s future by bringing to life different career opportunities and providing insight about the skills young people need to be work-ready and successful in the workplace.

Sally Beevers, Careers Hub Lead at the Liverpool City Region LEP said: “This is a great opportunity for local business to help support our young people to establish their career path, prepare them for the world of work and raise their aspirations. Having local businesses directly involved in careers education lessons brings local job opportunities to life and exposes career options they may have not otherwise considered.”

Sally added: “I would encourage all employers and employees in the City Region to support this campaign - you could be the person who changes the life of a young person, just by showing them what is possible.” 

The Give an Hour campaign emphasises the importance of tapping into the career opportunities, skills and knowledge of businesses. Activities can include interview practice, mentoring or working with a teacher to bring a lesson to life.

Evidence shows that regular and meaningful engagement with employers while at school can significantly increase young people’s employment prospects and future earnings.*

Claudia Harris, Chief Executive of The Careers & Enterprise Company, said: “We know that hardworking small business really want to support young people in their local community but finding the time can be difficult. 

There are many ways to make a difference to a young person’s future – and with as little as one hour these dynamic small firms can help a young person discover more about the world of work and open up career paths they didn’t even know existed.” 

Employers of all shapes and sizes are encouraged to visit to find out more and register to support a school or college in their area.

Natasha Whips Up Gluten-Free Goodness for Liverpool with The Gildergreen

Having lived a gluten-free lifestyle for five years, Natasha wanted to use her passion for baking to show people that eating gluten-free doesn’t have to compromise on taste and quality. 

Natasha inherited a love for baking cakes through her mum and grandparents, but a change in diet meant that she had to rethink how she prepared food and the ingredients she so often used: “I started to research the science behind gluten and what steps you had to take to recreate the properties. I experimented with my own flour mixes and eventually started to make delicious cakes again.”

Feeling unhappy in her office job and with the support of her family, Natasha decided that setting up a business was now or never.

The business-planning process made Natasha feel slightly overwhelmed, but after contacting The Women’s Organisation, Business Adviser Jo Mountfort helped to simplify the process and break it down into small tasks: “I started to feel really excited, motivated and believed that I really could do this.”

Jo helped Natasha to streamline her idea through regular meetings and access to training and courses: “Enterprise Hub has provided me with countless resources, spreadsheets and tools. Jo has been incredibly helpful, I come out of every meeting feeling empowered”.

Used to working in an office environment, Natasha considered herself a hard-worker and good at time-managing but worried about being the only person responsible for her own success – would she be as motivated under her own leadership?

But motivated, she was.

The Gildergreen is a gluten free bakery that sells fresh handmade cakes online and to local businesses. All cakes are made to order and catered to the customers vision, what Natasha believes is more special and unique than supermarket-bought treats.

Natasha told us it’s early days, but she is slowly and surely building up her social media presence and building the Gildergreen brand. She has several regular stockists including a space at Woolton Farmers Market and the university square farmers market who are keeping her busy. Natasha has most recently launched an online cake subscription service, sending out monthly letterbox-friendly selection of bakes alongside tea sourced from The Liverpool Tea Warehouse.

Now running her own business, Natasha is proud of the journey she’s taken to reach today and is relishing having the freedom to make her own decisions and work at her own pace.

And what does the future hold for Natasha? As the gluten-free industry continues to develop with variety, Natasha hopes to fly the flag for gluten-free treats across Merseyside and beyond.

She said: “I hope to have stalls at festivals and markets throughout the summer. Do come and have a taste of the Gildergreen bakes – even if you aren’t gluten free, you may be surprised!”

Natasha added: “The support from The Women’s Organisation has been invaluable and I don’t know what I would have done without it!”

If you'd like to try out Natasha's desserts, head to here website:

If you'd like to contact Natasha directly, email:

You can also keep up with everything Gildergreen through Facebook or Instagram!

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

From corporate to conscious: how Enterprise Hub helped Laurie Stewart leave behind her corporate roots and develop a conscious fashion platform

Leaving behind a ten-year career working with some of the fashion industry’s biggest brands, Laurie Stewart hasn’t looked back. Now focusing on her new online platform for conscious fashion with business partner Eva Makin, this conscious pair needed help to grow their new venture.

Having recently completed Enterprise Hub’s business growth programme, we 
caught up with co-founder Laurie to find out where Mindless Mag’s journey began 
and how things are going so far…

Laurie Stewart, Co-Founder of Mindless Mag

Head over to the Enterprise Hub blog to read the full story by clicking here