Thursday, June 25, 2020

‘Chancellor, we’re not in this together’, female enterprise experts say

Business and academic leaders are urging Rishi Sunak to give women’s enterprise a voice and a seat at the policy table.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has laid out a suite of policies to support small businesses which have so far fallen through the cracks in Coronavirus support schemes, promising they “have not been forgotten”, but now business and academic leaders have come together to call for more urgent action to support women’s enterprise.

Campaigners say there are still a host of female entrepreneurs and women-led businesses which have been overlooked and forgotten in these schemes and that there is an urgent need to put gender-aware policies in place.

The Women’s Enterprise Policy Group, which represents leading experts from business support and academia across the UK, is now urging the Chancellor to give women a voice and a role in shaping policy responses to these urgent and challenging problems.

Today (24 March), the Women’s Enterprise Policy Group has urgently made two assessments.

Firstly, policy has completely forgotten many women by:

  1. Excluding the mass of women who entered self-employment in recent years, and the many who trade part-time alongside a job, from the Self-employment Income Support Scheme.  
  2. Excluding most women from the Future Fund by making it dependent on securing private investment when we know women struggle to gain angel and venture capital due to investor bias.  
  3. Excluding home-based businesses (so most women-owned businesses) out of the main Covid19 grants scheme, so they have no compensation for businesses losses.
  4. Ignoring evidence that women are reluctant to borrow (and trade in sectors with low profits where borrowing is unwise) when designing the Bounce Back Loans and Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme.
  5. Failing to compensate business directors for their dividend income even when they are precluded from trading due to school and nursery closures.

Secondly, the crisis is far from over: it is still unfolding and - for many women-led businesses - will go on for months, because:

  1. Social distancing is more difficult in the sectors women tend to trade in, so getting back to profitable trading is a long and uncertain haul.
  2. School and nursery provision will be absent, part-time and difficult to coordinate for months and months to come.
  3. Fathers and employers are relying primarily on mothers to pick up the extra work of homeschooling and women who are ‘their own boss’ or trade from home find this pressure hard to resist.  
  4. Single mothers cannot share their childcare with family and friends.

Julia Rouse, Co-Chair of the WEPG and Professor of Entrepreneurship
at Manchester Metropolitan University

Professor Julia Rouse, Co-Chair of the WEPG, Professor of Entrepreneurship at Manchester Metropolitan University and Head of the Sylvia Pankhurst Gender Research Centre, says: “There is an urgent need for women’s enterprise to be at the policy table. Developing gender responsive policy for women requires our expertise: we can help analyse how Covid19 is impacting women-led businesses, monitor policy impact and help shape and implement policies that work for women.

“The peak of the crisis for women-led businesses may come just before Christmas as the Self-employment Income Support Scheme and the Job Retention Scheme close. We are haunted by an image of a devastating pre-Christmas period for households and families across the UK. An economic disaster could ravage local communities and could be offset if women are given more of a voice. We urge the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to bring The Women’s Enterprise Policy Group to the policy-making table.

“Now is the time to put gender-aware policies in place. Now is the time to develop gender responsive policies to avoid the serious risk of economic devastation in communities across the UK for generations to come. And now is the time to make sure women-led business are not forgotten and we are, indeed, “in this together”.

The Women’s Enterprise Policy Group represents leading experts from business support and academia across the UK.

Members of the Women’s Enterprise Policy Group include:

Co-chair Prof. Julia Rouse, Manchester Metropolitan University,
Co-chair Maggie O’Carroll, The Women’s Organisation,
Professor Susan Marlow, University of Birmingham,
Dr Lorna Treanor, University of Nottingham,
Dr Nicola Patterson, University of Newcastle,
Helen Burkinshaw, The Women’s Organisation,
Dinah Bennett, ICE,
Carolyn Currie, Chief Executive Women’s Enterprise Scotland,
Anne Meikle, Policy Officer Women’s Enterprise Scotland,
Christine Atkinson, University of South Wales,
Prof Haya Al Dajani, Mohammed Bin Salman College of Business and Entrepreneurship (MBSC) Saudi Arabia,
Prof Dilani Jayawarna, University of Liverpool,
Jackie Brierton, CEO GrowBiz,
Roseann Kelly, Women in Business NI,
Pheona Matovu, Radiant and Brighter CIC

Change It: Renew Programme

Has the Coronavirus crisis impacted your confidence or wellbeing? Our support for women in the Liverpool City Region is here to help…

We’re excited to announce our ‘Change It: Renew’ programme of support to help women across the Liverpool City Region to improve their resilience, coping mechanisms and mental wellbeing.

We understand that the Coronavirus pandemic has presented unprecedented challenges for women – many of whom have found themselves bearing the brunt of the crisis, both at work and at home.

We know that women are more likely to hold roles as frontline or key workers or to work in industries like travel and hospitality which have been the hardest hit financially.

Closer to home, we also know many women find themselves as primary caregivers for children, elderly relatives, or others in their local community. On top of this, recent lockdown measures have added yet more pressure on the most vulnerable in our communities.

It’s safe to say, we’re all in need of some support.

That’s why we are excited to bring you an extended programme of personal development support and services to help you recover and grow at this time.

‘Change It: Renew’ aims to create a safe, inclusive space for women to gather, connect and support each other through the current crisis and beyond.

We’re inviting women from right across the Liverpool City Region to access services and resources to help you improve your resilience, coping mechanisms and mental wellbeing.

Through the programme you can benefit from peer to peer support, connectivity, and online networks, so that you have appropriate support to help you address any problem areas, rebuild your life and take an active role in your local community.

It is hoped that this support will help women:

 Be better able to access support, develop and sustain peer networks to deal with crisis issues in their lives and in the particular crisis arising from COVID 19 
• Have improved coping mechanisms and improved mental well being 
• Be prepared and supported to plan for recovery through support on deploying digital tools and technology 
• Have improved levels of resilience

The project builds on the ‘Change It’ programme which currently operates solely in Liverpool.

This new support is now open to women from all six boroughs of the Liverpool City Region, including Liverpool, Wirral, Sefton, Halton, St Helens, and Knowsley.
Funding from the Coronavirus Community Support Fund, distributed by The National Lottery Community Fund, is supporting ‘Change It: Renew’. Thanks to the Government and The Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport for making this possible.

Those wanting to find out more should contact for more information.

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Gear Up to Grow with Elaine Clarke: Expert in the Hospitality Industry

Next in the Gear up to Grow series, CEO of Baa Bar Limited, Elaine Clarke, reflects on her three-decade career in the hospitality industry and the importance of supporting the safety and well-being of her team.

Elaine Clarke - CEO of Baa Bar Limited

I’ve been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years and during my career I have certainly had my fair share of challenges.  

From the daily challenge that comes with being a woman, operating at one time 13 bars and clubs across the North, to navigating the financial crash of 2008, I would say I am certainly a seasoned operator.  

Like everyone else in the world, the global Covid-19 pandemic wasn’t something we planned for.  We witnessed the response to the pandemic in other countries as bars and restaurants shut-up shop, and then had to face the reality, over the weeks leading up to UK lockdown, that we would have to close our five sites. 

Whilst we were aware that we would have to close in-line with government policy, we still had no idea what financial support would be in place to prop up our  business. I’ve got to say it has been a frightening time. The people in my business are so important to me and my top priority was always to do the right thing by them and offer job assurances even before we understood what security the furlough scheme would give to us.

The reality of closing the doors on a business that has operated 7 days a week for almost 30 years is that there is suddenly very little to do operationally and instead a lot of thinking time.  I felt this acutely, not knowing what to do with myself and feeling quite low.  I was aware that my team members might be feeling the same so my energy and efforts were focused on the team's mental health and wellbeing.

Since lockdown, I have sent weekly newsletters to every single person in our business.  Transparency and communication was vital during this time.

In my initial communication, I made sure every person felt reassured and secure in their job and that they knew their wages would still land that week.  

There was a lot of panic in the media with some local and national companies announcing redundancies or a pause on pay.  We were always clear that we would look after our people no matter what and this was the overriding message to my teams.  I encouraged the team to enjoy furlough, relax, look after themselves; for many of them this is the first time they have had a bank holiday weekend off never mind weeks and weeks of time to themselves.

While my business partner heads up the finance function of our business, my role is very much on the operations and people side. 

In my weekly updates, I made it a priority to talk about mental health and, where possible, signpost my team to any support that they could access.  We have an employee benefits scheme in place that offers a mental health phoneline which I made sure the team were aware of.

I appointed a yoga instructor to deliver weekly relaxation yoga classes through Zoom, again reminding the team of the importance of looking after their health and wellbeing. 

We made a hardship fund available to any team members who were struggling financially, we requested our managers keep in touch and make recommendations to us about employees who might need this.  We also made mine and my business partners mobile numbers available to our 130 team members so they had a direct line if needed.

Personally, I think this has been a time for me to reflect and re-balance.  I have pushed myself to walk every day, have looked after my nutrition, drank less alcohol and paid attention to my own mental health by practicing meditation. 

Now we are looking forward to opening up our doors again.  Once again, we have the safety and wellbeing of our team members and customers at the forefront of our minds.  We are making sure that all our teams are consulted with regards to their safe return to work, we are carrying out full risk assessments and implementing new digital solutions to allow for socially distanced customer service.  

I think the most important thing to do is to take learning from this experience.  I certainly feel a sense of gratitude to the City of Liverpool. I have loved seeing businesses and people rally together to support each other and, with that in mind, I have shared with several other operators our templates and project plans to support their creation of  reopening Covid-19 handbooks, as I know it's hard to see the wood for the trees when the world is changing so much.   

I am looking forward to opening up again now and welcoming our fantastic team and customers back through our doors. 

We are all determined to find our way through this and open again successfully and my message to our loyal customers is that we can’t wait to see you again and please be kind and patient  with us as we adjust to this new way of delivering our service to you.

Looking for help to grow or adapt your business? For more information about the support available through The Women’s Organisation to help you and your business, please contact us via e-mail at if you're based in the Liverpool City Region.

Friday, June 19, 2020

Gear Up to Grow with Natalie Hughes: Expert in Finance

The Covid-19 pandemic has brought on new challenges in terms of our work-life balance. NatWest Business Growth Enabler Natalie Hughes discusses some of these issues and what we can learn from them.

Natalie Hughes - Business Growth Enabler at Natwest

Covid-19 has changed many of our workplaces. Many of us have been asked to work from home including myself to support our customers with funding needs and support through the pandemic. But the addition of home-schooling, childcare or care for an elderly relative as well as time for general housework as and our day to day  work commitments has left many of us feeling rundown or lacking time for essential self-care.

We  are constantly juggling priorities, often finding there is not enough time in the day to get through everything. A recent article in the Guardian revealed six out of ten women are finding it hard to stay positive lockdown.

All of these factors have forced us to adapt and think more like entrepreneurs by rising to these challenges and looking opportunities from them.

For example, business owners will tell you good time management skills and flexibility are necessary skills and vital lo long-term success. And the Covid-19 pandemic has made this skillset an even greater necessity for businesses owners and the general population alike. 

We have perhaps pushed back in the workplace on things that don’t require immediate attention, or we have become better at time management by knowing we only have so much time to complete tasks each day. And with many of our usual face to face meetings being cancelled, we have become more reliant on video conferencing or the old-fashioned telephone. It’s likely many of will continue with our virtual meeting ways of working as we come out of lockdown.

For those that own businesses, it’s absolutely essential you listen to the advice from Government in terms of what will be required from you as re-open. If you are unsure, seek out support from your local business network, LEP or chamber which will also be following the guidelines. If you need to chat through your business plans, speak to your bank manager or accountant who can provide guidance.

NatWest are offering a variety of funding solutions to support our customers including the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS), six-month Capital Repayment holidays and the banks has waived overdraft fees with limits of up to £5000. The CBILS programme offers loans via banks to small businesses with turnover of up to £45m. And small businesses customers  can  also apply for a 100% state-backed loan worth up to £50,000, with no interest charged or repayments needed in the first 12 months as part of the Government’s Bounce Back loan programme contact your main bank for further details.

As we come out lockdown, make sure you spend time reflecting on what you have learned. The Covid-19 pandemic has forced us all to be adaptable and resilient in a variety of ways, and it will be important to use these new skills as bounce back better post-pandemic.

Looking for help to grow or adapt your business? For more information about the support available through The Women’s Organisation to help you and your business, please contact us via e-mail at if you're based in the Liverpool City Region.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

Gear Up to Grow: What our clients have to say...

In our new series, #GearUptoGrow, we're helping new businesses think about what steps they need to take next to boost their business. if you're thinking about growing, whether this is rethinking your marketing, taking on new staff or looking for help with your bookkeeping, we're here to help.

Here's what our clients Lotte Manson of Land Coffee and Vicky Gawith of Merseymade had to say about our support... 

Lotte Manson - Land Coffee
"The outbreak of the coronavirus has caught everyone off guard, and we have all had to find different ways to work, live and communicate.... 

It is a hard time for all both mentally and physically, and I have especially found the experience difficult to deal with. Jacqueline from the Women's Organisation reached out through emails and telephone meetings, with the kind, enthusiastic and encouraging mentoring she has always displayed throughout my time with her. 

Jacqueline has given some great advice on how to keep connected with our customers and shone a positive light on an otherwise negative situation. She enrolled me onto a few of the amazing courses the WO run which helped me to keep a focus on my business as well as structure a routine for my day, at the same time continuing with our action plans."

Vicky Gawith - Mersey
"I have been very grateful to all the support given to my by The Women’s Organisation.... I came and met Yan Miao first of all who gave me advice on how to move forward with my business plan. 

I then returned to The Women’s Organisation a few months later and from then both Yan Miao and Ali McGrath have supported me on my journey with Merseymade and bringing it to life. 

Ali has introduced me to finance contacts, including MSIF which has helped secure the necessary funding to bring Merseymade and my dreams come to life. So I am so grateful for all the help from The Women’s Organisation."

If you have a business within the Liverpool City Region, registered under 42 months and would like to meet with a business adviser to discuss the support we have on offer, you can get in touch on 

Canine outfitter Jane Fights Pandemic Pressure to Increase Turnover 800%

It has been said that retail has changed in the past five weeks more than the past five years following the coronavirus lockdown.

And Jane Nketiah is probably more aware of that than anyone, having signed up more shops for her online canine outfitters business in the past two weeks than the past two months after the seismic shift from bricks to clicks.

She creates unique outfits for dogs, including collars and harnesses, leads, bow ties, and coats, but her USP is she makes everything in ranges, and made-to-measure for non-standard size pets, all tested by her own Jack Russell, Jack.

Her Marple-based Barkley andFetch business is well positioned to attract the more tech-savvy consumers after a thorough grounding in e-tail through the Excelerate Labs initiative offered to Greater Manchester entrepreneurs by social enterprise The Women’s Organisation.

Since harnessing the latest digital techniques and ecommerce platforms, Jane has experienced a 400% increase in sales for the first quarter compared with the same period in 2019, and a phenomenal 800% surge in turnover for May, against the same month last year.
But she admits that before she embarked on her business support programme, the prospect of turning her passion into a commercial success seemed extremely unlikely.
She was splitting her time between working four days a week as a freelance fashion designer and running her canine outfitters business from home.

Jane was no longer enjoying her mainstream job, but wasn’t confident enough to give it up and take the plunge on her own.

She said: “I knew I had a good range of products, but I didn’t feel ready to throw everything into it. I was attending markets, selling bits online and also wholesaling. I really felt like most of it was pure luck how I was getting sales and was always scared that the luck would run out sometime soon.”

However, when the pandemic hit in March Jane was immediately laid off from her freelance role: “This hit me hard. As well as losing my steady income, sales literally dropped to zero overnight.

“Everybody was out buying toilet rolls and paracetamol, and nobody was buying non-essential items anymore.

“I knew I had to do something drastic to turn this around, so I concentrated on my online presence, from Instagram and facebook to my website and Etsy store.
“It was so scary, but I tried to stay positive throughout.

“I signed up for online courses about Instagram, SEO, Pinterest, PR etc, and tried to learn as much as possible and as quickly as possible.”

She acknowledges the help her business advisor, Mike Marsden, was able to offer through the Excelerate Labs programme: “He has questioned me and pushed me to do things much faster than I would have done on my own.

“I really like having someone to bounce ideas off and put pressure on me to get things done. I like having a meeting date in the diary which I consider a deadline to work towards and to tick off the things we discussed previously.”

She said the programme also provided the perfect conditions for her business acumen to flourish: “I felt I needed a helping hand as it can get very lonely and you can go up and down with the belief in yourself when you’re on your own.
“I also did not think the future for me was selling at makers’ markets, even though I enjoy this as it’s great to meet customers etc. I knew my future was online and wholesale, but was unsure on how to get there.”

Jane added: “Gradually my sales started to increase, and I could see a light at the end of the tunnel. People started spending again and the only place they could do this was online, so it really took off.”

Barkley and Fetch now trades across an impressive array of digital platforms, including her own website, facebook, Instagram, Amazon, and Etsy, the American e-commerce website focused on handmade or vintage items and craft supplies.

At the moment Jane works out of a clothing and alterations business she shares with her husband and they employ one full-time seamstress, but the aim is that from this September they close the alterations shop and Barkley and Fetch becomes the seamstress’s employer.
As the world begins to emerge from lockdown, more opportunities are opening up. Jane said: “I have signed up two new wholesale customers who will be opening their shops again in the next couple of weeks and I am in discussions with a new dog grooming shop opening in Islington as well, which has been a target of mine to sell in London.”

The Women 's Organisation's 'Excelerate Labs' programme is part funded by European Regional Development Fund to support women led Greater Manchester businesses to help them drive significant business growth. 

The initiative can help generate more revenue and profit through access to new markets, while attracting and retaining more customers.

It can also offer access to targeted business networking, which drives sales, improves supply chains and develops a business’s social capital. Or it can help create new revenue streams, or reinvigorate/reinvent the company.
For more information, contact

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Kickstarter for Greater Manchester Budding Entrepreneurs

During difficult times it is often time for reflection and change.  The COVID 19 Pandemic is no different with many finding their circumstances changing dramatically.  Whether furloughed from work, finding themselves out of work for the first time in a long time, or juggling multiple roles, it will no doubt have meant many are questioning whether now is the time to look at a different way of working.

Self-employment for many is a dream they keep in their back pocket wondering if they could ever take a leap.  The draw of managing their own hours, being their own boss or driving a business in the way their values see fit can be appealing.  But knowing how to go about it and understanding what is involved can sometimes be daunting.

For residents of Greater Manchester the opportunity to pull this dream out of their pocket and truly evaluate whether starting a business is the right step for them comes in the form of 'Kickstarter Manchester'.  Part funded through European Regional Development Fund as part of the 'Excelerate Labs' business support programme, this seven day challenge launches next week and will cover all aspects of getting your idea off the ground.

With a mix of live zoom mentoring and bitesize online learning that can be picked up at your own pace, the flexible programme invites those living in Greater Manchester with a business dream to see if they can turn it into a reality across a 7 day start up challenge.

Led by enterprise experts Mike Marsden and Ameena Ahmed the Kickstart Manchester programme will include:

Day 1

Morning - LAUNCHPAD 11am-12pm

Welcome and Introduction. Live on zoom, meet your expert mentors, set some 7 day targets, network with other Greater Manchester residents looking to start a business


Led by business growth expert, use business strategy tools to set out your business vision and goals. Take part in this activity at a time that suits you.


Let’s Get Social 😊 Two stage Twitter course. From the Do’s & Don’ts to winning business on Twitter and harnessing it as a tool for PR. Join in at a time that suits you.


Are you confident you would know how to build your audience on facebook ? We will show how to beat their algorithms in everything from set up a to how to generate enquiries for free! Flexible learning time.


Instagram is fast becoming a tool businesses can't ignore. But how do businesses stand out and ensure they are reaching their client base? Join this expert session to find out at a time convenient to you!


Strategy Planning – Every business needs a plan to get ahead. A fancy marketing plan is great, but what underpins your model to ensure it survives and thrives? Join this session to find out.


Whether using a website or web presence how do you get your business found online? Unpick the mysteries of Google with our expert.

Day 7 – MENTOR ME 11am-12pm

Final group mentoring session to re-cap learning, including and expert Q & A, let’s celebrate our completing the programme and get your questions answered.

Anyone interested in booking can do so here:

Gear Up to Grow with Emma Carey: Expert in the Law Industry

Next in the Gear up to Grow series, Industry leader and Managing Partner of MSB Solicitors, Emma Carey, shares her thoughts on lockdown and the impact on business.

Emma Carey

On the 11th March, covid-19 was declared to be a pandemic – industry leaders across the world began to implement responses with no real precedent to guide us. From the outset it was clear to me that we must protect the staff. Within one-week all fee earning staff were working from home and support staff who could not carry out their role from home were furloughed. Meetings with clients transitioned to Zoom and Skype, and all court hearings were heard remotely.

As the crisis unfolded, it became clear that businesses everywhere would need to adapt to survive this new way of life. As a full-service law firm, the challenges across our departments were varied. Residential property was dictated by government guidelines and we have had to act fluidly as the rules change daily. The demands on family law have increased with the rise in reported domestic abuse during lockdown. We were determined for our family clients to know of our availability, particularly where those in abusive relationships are isolated from the news or their devices. 

We commissioned a 120m media screen advert above St Johns Shopping Centre. Lockdown hasn’t hindered outcomes across the board and there have been considerable successes. Our Property Finance  team successfully supported lender Redwood Bank to deliver a  £3 million loan, having acted in over £8m worth of transactions in May alone, despite a significant drop in market activity as a result of Covid-19.I’ve always been an advocate of the freedoms home working can bring, particularly for those with childcare commitments.  

Lockdown has, however, highlighted the necessity of the office and the reality of the limits to working from home in some areas. We have ten trainee solicitors. How can we nurture the skills growth of the future generation of lawyers without observation and shadowing? These are all things about which we will continue to develop understanding and aim to achieve a balance.The other crucial component to our functioning during lockdown was the recent investment in our technology, including the key hire of a CMS Developer to bolster our internal systems and IT team. 

In January 2020, we were in the process of developing a new Environmental Policy with the view to becoming completely paperless. Lockdown has actually helped us achieve this quicker!Maintaining staff morale has also been key to surviving this period. Many of us have missed the upbeat atmosphere and camaraderie amongst our colleagues. 

We’ve had Friday quizzes with cake deliveries as prizes and sent all of our support staff bouquets of flowers over the period to thank them for their hard work.  It’s also not lost on me that some of the staff have experienced deep anxieties and sadness at home as a result of the pandemic. 

I’ve ensured that I’ve checked in and Heads of Departments have checked in with their staff weekly, providing support where it’s needed. Several staff members had become mental health first aiders prior to lockdown and we’ve seen the benefit of it now more than ever.I would welcome conversations with other industry leaders to share best practice and advice for moving businesses forward through this new era of change.

You can connect with MSB over on their website, Twitter & Facebook

Looking for help to grow or adapt your business? For more information about the support available through The Women’s Organisation to help you and your business, please contact us via e-mail at if you're based in the Liverpool City Region.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Gear Up to Grow: 7 Ways Women Are Growing Their Businesses In 2020

The success of women has a massive positive impact on the labour force and the growth of an economy. It is therefore imperative that optimal entrepreneurial conditions are created for female business owners across the globe so that women can continue to be key drivers of economic growth.

In 2020, the number of female-owned businesses and their success continues to rise, despite the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic. Forbes reports that women are making powerful strides in the field of entrepreneurship. This article will look at 7 ways that women are successfully growing their businesses in 2020.

1) Adapt Your Approach According To Current Circumstances
Having an adaptable approach to business is key - especially in 2020. Think of innovative solutions to overcome new social distancing rules. Change the way your company and store is run or how your stock is handled. Shipping containers, for example, are a great option for self-storage or creative container conversions, such as site offices, studios, and home offices. S Jones Containers state that:Converting shipping containers is relatively simple when compared to other bespoke builds as they provide a structurally robust foundation in standardised sizes and shapes that are both easy to work with and build from.’ So, get imaginative and brainstorm different ways you can still deliver your service or products in the new 2020 business environment.

2) Focus On Customer Relationships
It is common knowledge that it is easier and less costly to keep an existing customer than to develop a new one. This has become particularly important and helpful during the COVID-19 pandemic where acquiring new customers could prove challenging for many businesses. Deliver relevant and timely content that solves customers’ immediate and long-term challenges and questions. The priority during these uncertain times is to make it easy for customers to connect with you as people will be seeking updates, answers, and ways to improve their personal and professional life. Be sure to communicate business changes, including hours of operations, virtual offerings, and managerial decisions to keep customers in the loop during shifting times.

3) Networking and Mentorships
Support networks for women, greater representation of women in leadership positions, and young girls being taught entrepreneurial skills at an early age are essential aspects to furthering women’s success as entrepreneurs. Once a business is established, women entrepreneurs need the right tools to grow and manage that company. There are plenty of support networks, guides, and initiatives available for women, such as She’s Next and Grow Her Business. These are full of helpful resources that give female small business owners opportunities to learn and improve their skills on an online basis - which is key during the coronavirus outbreak.

4) Implement Tech Upgrades
It is important to plan ahead and ensure your communication and business equipment is as efficient as possible. Use the lockdown time to make any upgrades where possible and consider converting to online platforms for your planning and communication, use collaborative documents that everyone can edit and comment on, and online software for business planning and file-sharing. Introduce these changes as early as possible so that staff can become comfortable and proficient with the new methods of communication, which could prove vital for efficient workflow during the nationwide lockdown.

5) Reassess Strategies & Approaches
Use this uncertain COVID-19 lockdown time to reflect on your business strategy and refocus on the things you did not have time for previously. Gather, understand, and process your data to make strategic decisions for your business. It is important to consider not only how to survive as a business during the outbreak, but also to have a strategy in place for what will happen afterwards. It is important to be flexible and adapt your services so that they are not only useful during the outbreak, but remain the best choice once everything has calmed down.

6) Adapt Your Marketing
If your product or service could be of additional use or relevance in the midst of the coronavirus crisis then it is important to adapt your marketing to reflect this, especially if you are introducing an altered service for the duration of the outbreak. Make sure all updates and approaches are clearly communicated in the easiest and most relevant way.

7) Support Your Employees and Other Female-Owned Businesses
Where possible support female-owned businesses and take care of your staff during the coronavirus crisis. Staff members will need extra support and reassurance during these uncertain times. Supporting women-owned businesses is a great way to support the economy. They are a strong catalyst for economic growth, and when female businesses are thriving, the economy in turn thrives. And so, when we support these businesses, we support the economy and the lives of woman around the world.

Thanks to our guest blogger Chloe Walker. Chloe is a freelance writer who’s main focus is on working life and the business world. When she isn’t writing Chloe can be found curled up in front of the fire with the newspaper.

If you are based in the Liverpool City Region and have been running your business for 3 years or less, you could receive support from our Enterprise Hub team to plan your business growth.  Get in touch via for more info.

Enterprise Hub is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and free to access.

Gear Up to Grow with Jayne Moore: Expert in the Marketing Industry

Following the announcement that non-essential retailers can now open, most businesses across the UK are now gradually starting to operate again – whether this be online or in person. As lockdown restrictions begin to lift further, we hear from some of the regions brightest business minds on their own journey through lockdown and what advice they would give businesses transitioning into the new normal.

First up in the Gear up to Grow series, we hear from Jayne Moore, Founder of Jayne Moore Media who shares her experience of managing a small business through lockdown and why it's important to seize opportunities and push forward.  

Jayne Moore
As a small employer, I think we are all a little frazzled, so my first piece of advice is to be kind - to yourself and your team. As we emerge from the safety of the sofa, we may not all be as quick to bounce back and embrace this ‘new normal’ - don’t dismiss how scared everyone is of this crazy virus, and don’t underestimate the stress everyone has been under during lockdown.

The first thing I did with my team is to work together to create a bounce-back plan -  collaboration and communication are key to this new way of remote working - and I was aware that our main power is in our collective brilliance, so remote working makes that all the more challenging.

I have found this time of reset and reflection really powerful in giving me space to plot the future direction for myself and the business, allowing us both growth potential. I’m also keen to diversify, lockdown made me realise my own vulnerability - so we are pushing forward with a new focus and a diversification mission. I have launched three businesses in my time and in each occasion it has been in the teeth of a recession, so it keeps me keen and focused on not wasting energy, time or money on things that are not going to fly. Mistakes are how we grow and learn, don’t beat yourself up, take the lesson and move on.

It is important to know what you want to achieve with your life and your business and have clearly focused and articulated aims and objectives for both your personal plan and your business plan. Once you write it down it will begin to realise, and when you start to drive forward you will be on the right foot with the map in your hands and the knowledge to get you where you want to be.

I also think good advice is to only work on stuff you love. I know it sounds a bit trite, but I have to love who I work with - not in the romantic sense of course - but people that I work with become some of my best mates because we share similar values. Do not compromise your values. A wise lady once said to me that “money is only an energy, it only has the power we give to it”, and I have stood by that in making decisions in business and in life.

That said, I also say that people will pay you what you believe you are worth - so it’s ok to be profit making as it will help you deliver on your personal missions, as well as create wealth for others around you.

Despite all but two of my clients pausing our retainer in April - we are all back from furlough, with new projects to focus on and our clients beginning to wake up - there is a lot to be excited about for in this new normal. To-date we have had no grant support, yet – (here’s hoping for discretionary grant) and my pandemic insurance was not worth the paper it was printed on - meaning that we have serious losses during lockdown, however, I am rested and recharged, I have my health and my family, who I still love after 12 weeks in the same house!  I consider myself to be so fortunate to have an amazing team, who are happy and healthy, if a little frazzled around the edges, and who are chuffed to bits to be back working again for the clients we love and a few new faces we have just started dating.

I am sure we have a long road ahead to recover, but it is up to us to seize the opportunity and push forward. As a city we have only known recession in my working lifetime, but we are a resilient group of talented scousers (and James). I for one have done it before, and I intend to do it again, hands in the bucket if you are with me?

You can connect with Jayne Moore Media over on their website, TwitterFacebook & blog 

Looking for help to grow or adapt your business? For more information about the support available through The Women’s Organisation to help you and your business, please contact us via e-mail at if you're based in the Liverpool City Region.

Monday, June 15, 2020

Step into the new world of work with private offices from £240pcm at 54 St James Street

The world of work as we know it has changed, and so has the way we do business.

So, is it time to re-think where you do business from?


Whether your business is growing, you’re a freelancer ready to find a better work–life balance, or you’re looking to downsize your current space as your team move towards homeworking – your needs are changing.

That’s why small, private and professional offices at 54 St James Street could be the ideal solution for your business to take its next steps into the world of work post lockdown. 


54 St James Street’s smaller 1-3 person offices from £240pcm offer the ideal solution to a range of business challenges:

Ø  Are you ready to grow into your first office, following an increased demand for your products or services?
Ø  Have your team have moved towards a future of home working, but you still want a permanent and professional business presence?
Ø  Or perhaps the distractions of home working during lockdown are slowing down your workflow as a freelancer or entrepreneur? We offer space just the right size for you to find that work-life balance.

Suitable for 1-3 people the smaller private offices offer a safe and affordable space for you to work from as you navigate your business through the current crisis and beyond.

What’s available?

·         Light and contemporary private offices - suitable for social distancing
·         1-3 person offices – (11sq m – 13sq m)
·         Prices start from £240pcm - £260pcm + VAT
·         3 months minimum tenancy, then a flexible monthly rolling contract
·         Available immediately


Why choose 54 St James Street?

Benefits include: 
·         Prime L1 postcode in the Baltic Triangle
·         10-minute walk from Liverpool One and Bold Street and transport links
·         Free use of on-site bike racks and shower facilities 
·         Garden space and roof terrace
·         Communal kitchen spaces 
·         10% discount at SIREN Liverpool, our on-site café  
·         Staffed reception 8.30am – 5.30pm on weekdays (N.B. our reception is currently on reduced opening hours due to COVID-19) 
·         Discounted meeting and conference room hire 
·         Mail-handling 
·         Access to high-speed broadband 
·         Photocopying, printing and scanning facilities available on request 
·         Grade A comfort heating & cooling system
·         On-site business community and networks 

54 St James Street’s facilities are open to female and male led businesses and social enterprises.

Their aim is to ensure that our Business Services contribute to our tenants’ business success, with a team of on-site business advisors, access to the WO Connect networking group for female entrepreneurs, and a regular programme of training and events.

Please contact to find out more or to arrange a safe visit to see 54 St James Street for yourself.

You can also click here to explore the office facilities online.