Thursday, 24 September 2020

Elsie Hayford tackles injustices in health systems with her business Lamèsè

Born in Russia, raised in Ghana and Liverpool, Elsie Hayford has experienced the best and worst of health systems. Whilst completing law studies at the University of Liverpool, she developed a passion for global health which eventually led her to obtain a Master of Laws in Global Health Law from Georgetown University, Washington DC.

Eagar to expend her legal skills to strengthen health systems and bridge the health equity gap in developing countries, Elsie launched Lamèsè’ in 2019 - a global health firm that works to restore accountability and tackle injustices within health systems globally.



It was during an event hosted by The Women’s Organisation over 10 years ago that Elsie first thought about setting up her own business. With little legal work experience at the time and almost no savings, she told herself that she would not be qualified enough to run a business – this was until she met with Senior Business Adviser, Huda Mamoun many years later.

Attending 1-2-1 meetings with Huda, she was able to start pulling together a plan of action of what she wanted her business to look like:

“My business adviser Huda was a big help in pointing me to the right resources, she was also able to connect me with other woman who were on the same journey as me”

“I found the training courses particularly useful – they broadened my perspective of running a business, gave me solid concrete information about legalities involved and simplified otherwise complex concepts”

Starting off self-employed  – Elsie secured several consulting contracts from health companies such as Livful Inc, and global health organisations such as The Global Health Advocacy Incubator & The O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law where she worked on WHO, Lancet and Global Health Security Agenda projects – many of which included analysing and drafting health legislation for countries.

The business transitioned into a Limited Company in 2019, with the very fitting name ‘Lamèsè’ translating to Good Health in native Ghanaian Language, Ewe. Elsie is the sole director of Lamèsè Ltd in the UK and has a subsidiary company set up in Ghana where she works with 3 other partners. In Ghana, their current work focuses on improving maternal healthcare with the goal of reducing deaths due to medical/and or systemic errors.

Elsie’s position as a Global Health Lawyer and Consultant became even more valuable this year with the COVID-19 outbreak. Her business was able to secure a contract with US global health organisation, Vital Strategies to provide support as part of a Global COVID legal response team - leading the work on legal protections for healthcare workers and the legal infrastructure required for emergency healthcare delivery globally – this involves advising ministry of health lawyers and writing guidelines for national policy makers.

With the business already supporting global organisations, what will be the next step?

“Once we complete our contract, I hope to use my skills to tackle healthcare issues within the UK’s foster care system. I’m excited about the future and very pleased with the support I have gained from The Women’s Organisation.”

“I don’t intend to return to a traditional 9-5 role anymore. The future will see us expand the business and come a relevant voice within the health policy space in the UK and beyond”

To find out more about Elsie and her business Lamèsè, you can find her on Twitter using @EEhayford and @lameseCS

If you have been inspired by Elsie's story and are interested in starting or growing a business of your own, then Enterprise Hub could help!

Get in touch if you are thinking of starting a business in the Liverpool City Region or have a new business under three years old. You can speak to our team via enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8113.


Monday, 24 August 2020

Mikaela takes a step towards curbing climate change with The Unwaste

Finding herself at a crossroads following a redundancy opportunity from her 20-year career at a well-known fashion retailer, Mikaela King decided to take some time out to focus on her next chapter – little did she know that she would be launching her own eco-friendly business in the midst of a global pandemic.


Mikaela King - Founder of The Unwaste

Following the opportunity for redundancy, Mikaela King left her role in Digital Transformation and Technology, allowing her time to explore her strengths, visions and more importantly what a different work life could look like. It was during this time that she was inspired by several authors who wrote about making a career out of their passions.

With good working knowledge of business and marketing practices, she was keen to have a go at building her own business from the ground up.

Already making steps to become more conscious about her impact on the environment, it was changes she had been making at home without realising that led to her business concept.

Mikaela told us: “I had started to make some eco swaps at home, so was keen to do more in this space. One night, the idea just popped into my head – I pictured myself throwing plastic bottles of everyday household cleaning products into the recycling bin, with not many eco-alternatives about.”

In May, she launched The Unwaste, offering eco-friendly milkman style refills of plant based, vegan household cleaning liquids. The business model offers clients the opportunity to take a step towards curbing climate change through a convenient and easy to use service.

Initially struggling with confidence in her own entrepreneurial abilities, she was referred to The Women’s Organisation by a friend. Through the Enterprise Hub programme, she was paired with Senior Business Adviser Jacqueline Daley for 1-2-1 support, along with having access to a range of courses to help with business planning and finances.

Having someone to reach out to during moments of doubt was invaluable for Mikaela during the first initial stages of starting up.

She told us: “Jacqueline put me at ease straight away and listened to my situation and my idea and helped me put down some next steps and a plan to move forward. All the sessions were really enjoyable and gave me the chance to meet other likeminded people in a similar situation, some of which I kept in touch with.”



Like many start-ups, Mikaela went in with minimal investment, relying in Facebook and Instagram to promote her business and whilst the first initial response was positive – things soon started to get quiet as she exhausted her social circle.

“Jacqueline advised me to network more to grow reach which I found quite daunting as I am a natural introvert and it wasn’t something I’ve had to do before. I was way out of my comfort zone and worried that other businesses would not want to help me or share knowledge in case it threatened their business.

“I braved it out and contacted other small business owners, local support networks and like-minded businesses and the response was fantastic, people want to help and are so generous with their time and resources”

Together with support from The Women’s Organisation, she has been able to successfully launch and grow a business during a global pandemic.

Expanding her reach across Liverpool and now Wirral, Mikaela is regularly adding new products to her stock and is in talks with other businesses to potentially use and sell her products on their premises.

It is early days for the ‘green’ business sector, with many unknowns to what an eco-business might look like in the future – but with the vast benefits green and eco businesses offer its likely that more companies are going to be adapting to run more efficiently and effectively in the future.

For Mikaela, continuing to raise awareness through her products is at the heart of her business.

She told us: “I am hopeful The Unwaste is helping to force the change in consumer behaviour that’s much needed, albeit a very small contribution to a very large problem. My vision is to increase awareness of the problem, being a catalyst of change towards more conscious consumerism”

The impact of COVID19 has forced businesses to bring their operations to a standstill – leaving many to think that starting a business right now could end in failure. Mikaela is giving aspiring entrepreneurs hope that it is possible to successfully get started during this current climate and adapt to the needs of the “new normal”

Entrepreneurship can lead people down many different paths – what has self-employment taught Mikaela about herself?

“I’ve come to recognise that entrepreneurs come in all different shapes and sizes and there is so much you have to discover, learn and do during the business start-up process I’ve realised I am more capable than I give myself credit for - one of the many things I’ve discovered about myself during this process.”

If you would like to find out more about The Unwaste, you can get in touch on hello@theunwaste.com or message them via Facebook or Instagram

If you have been inspired by Mikaela’s story and would like to see how Enterprise Hub can help you start your own business, then get in touch with us. Email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk 


 

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

From Vision to Reality with Everpresent Care UK

After spending 15 years building a solid reputation in the domiciliary care industry, Renatta Clerice-Ologbosere decided it was time to finally take a leap of faith into self-employment. Within the space of 3 years, her business Everpresent Care UK Limited has gone from idea stage to recruiting and training qualified staff to offer vital healthcare roles across the region.

Everpresent Care UK Limited is a recruitment agency specialising in Health and Social care – the business works by recruiting and training staff to fill staff shortages in predominantly nursing homes and other care settings. The business puts a strong focus on corporate social responsibility, helping unemployed people back into work with support from their stakeholders.


Renatta Clerice-Ologbosere - Founder of Everpresent Care UK


Prior to setting up the business, Everpresent Care founder Renatta was employed by one of the biggest domiciliary care companies in Liverpool, eventually working her way up the career ladder to become a locality manager.

Building a name for herself in the private care sector, it was her husbands’ support and a love for the industry that made her consider self-employment as an option.

She told us: “I’d studied tropical disease biology at University of Liverpool and fell deeply in love with the industry knowing I was making a real difference to peoples live. My husband spent 5 years asking me to open my own business, so I decided that I should have some faith in myself and not worry about the reservation I had about failure”

Employed in a 08:00-16:00 role, she spent her time after work building a business plan to help her set goals and priorities, recruiting help from her friends via Whatsapp to brainstorm business name ideas.

Marketing can open doors for many small businesses, but sometimes for business owners this can cost more time than money.

When trying to come up with a strategy for Everpresent Care, she found herself struggling:

“The hardest part of the initial setting up process was the marketing. I spent 3 days a week doing face to face engagement and then 2 days of doing cold calling, taking me over 9 months before I got my first clients.

Sometimes I would go home and cry the entire night because I would often get rejected, but having doors shut in my face gave me even more determination to succeed”

Along with strategic business struggles, she also found that her abilities as a woman of colour running an independent business were being questioned; with some clients asking her to lower her prices, making it hard to compete with local rivals who were being paid much higher rates. 

Working to build a client base, Renatta decided it was time to seek out support, only to be told many times over that she was not eligible for any funded support in her area. It came as a lifeline when she was directed towards The Women’s Organisation’s Enterprise Hub programme.

She received 1-2-1 tailored support, helping her focus on the growth of the business.

“I was paired up with a business adviser who taught me so much – but most of all she was very attentive. Sometimes self-employment can seem like a lonely place, but my adviser was my listening ear throughout the process”

The Women’s Organisation introduced her to the Business Canvas Model, a strategic management tool used for documenting each area of the business – something that can be beneficial to analyse the full needs of the business.

She was also able to utilise the funded courses and workshop to start improving her entrepreneurial skills as well as receiving support from her business partner, Edwin. 

She told us: "Many of us women in business look up to a role model or equivalent. Edwin Narnor has played a major role in achieving results in the business."

3 years later and the business continues to evolve, offering bespoke health care services from their home in Wavertree Technology park. Like many businesses across the country, Everpresent Care has felt the effects of COVID-19 but were able to continue their work by securing a few new projects before the outbreak hit. 

So, was self-employment the right decision for Renatta?

“Running my own business has given me a level of discipline that I never knew I had. It revealed my inner strength as a person and given me a level of freedom that I did not have when I was employed.

Once you have a vision, just pursue it and eventually the doors you need will open, be patient, and remember it’s never too late to try something new”

You can contact Everpresent Care UK by contacting their office number on 01513631616 (Out of office hours the phone is diverted to a mobile number which is also available to direct calling: 07392996131)


Website: www.everpresentcarelimited.co.uk

 If you have been thinking about setting up your own business and would like to see how Enterprise Hub and The Women’s Organisation can help you grow your new business, get in touch with us on enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk


Thursday, 13 August 2020

Toast’d For Success!

Jonnie Barr’s new business, Toast’d, takes toasted marshmallow kits to a new level.  Here’s his story.


Having left university with a Marketing Degree, and with a passion for all things culinary, Jonnie knew straightaway that he wanted to work in the food and drink industry.  

Starting off in marketing and branding at Northern Foods, he proceeded to carve out a 25-year career working for some of the most prestigious food manufacturers in the UK.  Having worked his way up to senior level, he oversaw the branding, packaging and new product launches of many food brands and products we still see in our supermarkets today.

However, as Covid-19 became a worldwide pandemic, and like a lot of industries, the food sector was hit very hard and Jonnie found himself having to look for other opportunities – and so out of adversity, Toast’d was born!

Being a proud family man and passionate about food, Jonnie was intrigued by the popularity of toasting marshmallows and S’mores in the USA.  This prompted him to look into the UK market and, although there were loosely comparable products out there, he couldn’t find any that had that family- fun element which he envisioned for Toast’d.

Toast’d Marshmallow Dipping Kits provide everything you need to enjoy a family get-together whilst enjoying toasted marshmallows at the same time!  The kits come with a small heating device (which is safe to use with adult supervision), chocolate for melting, sprinkles, small wooden skewers and a bag of top-quality marshmallows! And what’s more, they come in 3 sizes to accommodate any sized family or social occasion, be they large or small.

Jonnie wanted to emphasise that Toast’d products are all about family and friends. 

They’re a great way to bring people together to chat, have fun, laugh, play games and without a smart phone in sight!

Jonnie will be looking to develop a range of products for both at home and out of home marshmallow toasting as well as developing seasonal and themed kits to meet the gifting and growing outdoor leisure sectors.  A range of S’Mores and ‘Free-From’ kits will also be launched in the Autumn.

And what advice would Jonnie give to people wanting to start their own business? 

“I think there are two essential ingredients for success.  First of all, have an idea you truly believe in and, secondly, have the confidence in your own ability to make it happen.  Oh, and don’t be afraid to ask for help!”

Speaking of which, how did Enterprise Hub at Wirral Chamber help Jonnie develop his business idea?  

“Well, I found Enterprise Hub to be a very good sounding board that really helped me crystallize my ideas and turn them into reality.  It also gave me the structure and flexibility I needed.”

So if you would like to purchase a Toast’d Marshmallow Dipping Kit or find out a bit more, simply visit the website at www.toast-d.co.uk or e-mail Jonnie at hello@toast-d.co.uk 

If you have been thinking about setting up your own business and would like to see how Enterprise Hub can help, then get in touch with us on Email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk


Wednesday, 5 August 2020

Starting your own hair & beauty business

So, you want to start your own hair & beauty business – great! But have you thought about all the things you might need to consider before starting up? It doesn't have to be a hassle, if you plan and make sure you have these 5 key things in place, you will set yourself up for success.



Premises vs mobile

This is probably the biggest decision you are going to make for you business. Whilst it might be your dream to run your own beauty salon, you need to think about if a premise is something you can realistically afford to run. There are many costs (and hidden costs) that can come with having a premise, such as Rent, Internet, Phone, fixtures and fittings, staff costs… etc!

Starting out as a mobile business can give you time to build your client base and then eventually go on to get your own premise when you know you have the income coming in.

Do you have the right qualifications?

You do not need a qualification to set up your own business, but if you are offering beauty or hair treatments you might need to think about what skills or qualifications are required. Alongside keeping your clients safe, you also want to make sure that they are having the best experience possible with a professional member of staff. The treatments you are offering might require the staff to have an either a level 2 or 3 NVQ or exam equivalent. Make sure you always check what qualifications are required!

Insurance

You must make sure that your insurance covers all the treatments and services that you offer. Insurance is a way of protecting the customer against damage that could occur. Public liability insurance is not required by law but is essential to protect your business against claims from clients or members of the public.  

Registering your business and Tax

HMRC have information on how and when you should register your business. This can seem like a big step, but if you follow the information given to you on the website, it can be a simple process. 

Support available

If this is your first time going into self-employment, or you have just started your own business and need some support – there is help available. You might think you cannot do it, but it’s about being persistent, and believing in yourself!

If you’re thinking about setting up your own business, then you can get in touch on enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk


Thursday, 23 July 2020

MSIF continues to support businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic

Liverpool based SME funding provider MSIF is continuing to support regional businesses impacted by the Coronavirus pandemic following the recent launch of their dedicated Coronavirus Resilience and Recovery Fund (CRRF).  

North West Linen Services Ltd, a provider of laundry and linen hire services to hotel and hospitality clients throughout the North West, is one business that has successfully accessed the fund, and the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) guarantee, to secure a £100,000 investment. 

Managing Director, Anna Slater approached MSIF for financial support who were able to provide a quick turnaround to deliver the funding needed, helping guide her business through the Coronavirus outbreak.

Anna commented: “With our business being an extension of the hospitality sector, we found ourselves in a very difficult situation due to Covid-19. We had growing concerns about when the business would resume and how, in the meantime, we were meant to continue paying bills with no income to speak of. 

“Having considered other avenues without success, I then approached Sue Chambers, an Investment Manager at MSIF and explained our 

circumstances. Thanks to MSIF we were able to quickly secure a £100k CBILS loan to allow the business to continue to trade and help us navigate our way through the impacts of the pandemic. MSIF have worked with us numerous times over the past 6 years helping us secure funding and progress our business. Sue and the team are invaluable and we cannot thank them enough for their support and belief especially in this testing time.”

Sue Chambers, MSIF Investment Manager added: “I have known Anna and NW Linen Services for a long time and I had the pleasure of supporting the business through various stages of its growth. As a young business woman, Anna has successfully grown her business and secured new contracts over the years, but sadly no-one could have foreseen the impact Coronavirus would have on local businesses across the region. 

“I am thrilled that we have been able to support NW Linen once again. It is a terrific business and we have a responsibility to ensure that previously healthy SMEs can survive/make it through this difficult time.”

MSIF are now accepting further applications for their Coronavirus Resilience and Recovery Fund. Please contact info@msif.co.uk or visit www.msif.co.uk for further information. 


MSIF contact:
Lauren Metcalf
Marketing Executive
Lauren.Metcalf@MSIF.co.uk




Thursday, 16 July 2020

Case Study: I used to be wary about using social media for my business!


Suffering from excessive hair breakage, Natural hair enthusiast, Jumoke Adeyemi decided to start making her own Ayurvedic products to resolve the problem. She soon realised the need for more education around black haircare, sparing her on to start her own products and business, AkuaJ Naturals.

Jumoke Adeyemi, Founder of AkuaJ Naturals


She told us “I’ve always loved making Ayurvedic hair products, particularly infused oils. My focus is on black hair, especially for people of an African descent as our hair is prone to dryness and breakage in colder climates”

This gave her the push she needed to explore the possibility of turning this into her own hair oil business. Unsure where to start, she approached The Women’s Organisation for support.

Jumoke had her first meeting with Cynthia, and accessed in-house courses to get her brainstorming.

“My experience with The Women’s Organisation has been great. After filling out an enquiry form, I was contacted and quickly allocated with my adviser Cynthia. She was very helpful, talking me through the various stages of developing my business”

Attending 1-2-1 and group sessions, she was able to focus on producing a business plan and market research.  

“I learned all about the tools I could be utilising to gather and analyse data. This support was also instrumental to me finally engaging with social media, something I was wary of using!”

Cynthia Ajayi from The Women’s Organisation told us: “Working with Jumoke was amazing, she’s very passionate about the business, saw the gap for good hair care and wanted to fill it. For her, it was important to provide a quality product that was beneficial to black women and men.

She overcame a lot of moments of doubt and kept on going, building up the business”

Jumoke is now focusing on setting up hair care workshop and shows in the future.

“I’m passionate on educating black people on healthy hair practices and look forward to growing in the future!”

You can head over to Jumoke's Instagram to find out more about Akuaj naturals products and the services they offer here 

If you have been thinking about setting up your own business and would like to see how Enterprise Hub and The Women’s Organisation can help you grow your new business, then get in touch with us. Email hello@thewo.org.uk