Monday, 17 September 2018

Jonathan launches new business JC Fitness

Having worked in different roles in the leisure industry since the age of 16, 30 year old Jonathan Cahill launched his own mobile personal training business JC Fitness with the support of St Helens Chamber and Enterprise Hub.
As an Advanced Personal Trainer, Jonathan offers individual training sessions in people’s homes, workplaces and parks, as well as group sessions and post-natal fitness boot camps. He specialises in offering nutritional advice, creating customised meal plans and training programmes to meet individual needs.

Jonathan commented: “I’ve worked in a number of different areas of the leisure industry and personal training is the area that really stood out.
“I enjoy helping people to achieve their goals and interacting with clients face-to-face. I decided I wanted to work for myself and have the flexibility of being my own boss.”
Jonathan met with a business start-up adviser from St Helens Chamber, Steve Mather, to discuss his business plan and attended a business essentials course covering basic start-up knowledge and skills.
Jonathan added: “The tax aspect of the course was really interesting for me as registering my own earnings was new to me at the time.
“I learnt quite a lot on the course and Steve helped me to set up my online tax account so I could declare my earnings.
 “All of the start-up support from the Chamber has been great, I can email their advisers any time I need support.
“Staff have been friendly, helpful and approachable throughout the start-up process, they are quick to get back with any queries and have a wealth of knowledge to advise and support.”
To find out more about JC Fitness visit
St Helens Chamber is part of Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business start-up support in Merseyside.  Offering expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business including help to:

  • Understand the process of starting a business
  • Research a business idea
  • Build a comprehensive business plan
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Create financial forecasts to understand the costs of running your  business and potential income
  • Identify sources of finance to get started

Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund. For more information about the support available contact the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or

Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Taking the Franchise Route Proved the Road to Success for Ste

Like many struggling with mobility, Ste Ives had been left wondering if he would ever work again after an injury left him jobless.  Being out of work for over 3 years after an accident in his previous job Ste was keen to find a way back to work.

While working on the docks in Liverpool Ste was involved in an accident where he fell seriously injured his back. Having worked there most of his life, this was a massive shock for Ste who realised due to his injuries that he would never be able to do the job he had known all his life again.  Struggling with his mobility he felt his career options were limited.

Taking back control of his situation Ste approached Enterprise Hub partner Franchising works in April 2018 and signed up to receive support through the programme to explore enterprise at the start of May.  He had taken the decision the get his Driving instructor license, but was unsure of what steps next to take, should he go independent or go with a Franchise.  Ste met with Franchise 'RED Driving School' and decided this was the best route for him, with the benefits and support they offered new instructors through their franchise.

Working with Franchising works on a 1-2-1 basis Ste received support to understand and complete a survival budget, business plan, marketing plan, cash flow and projections.  Looking closely at his survival budget helped Ste to understand what he needed to live on and how to ensure his business worked and his family could survive. Franchising works also offered general business advice and support to help Ste feel confident enough to take the step to start his business.  As this was a franchise Ste was taking on RED had already started to support him with clients and marketing, making the transition a lot smoother for him.

Ste started with RED in May 2018, and is finding running his own business rewarding and beneficial to his life.  He told us:

Working with FranchisingWorks on the Enterprise Hub, helped my tremendously, I was lost and unsure of what to do, until I spoke to Vicky.  She sat down with me and went through everything, step by step, what was best for me, how many clients I need on a daily and weekly basis to survive, plus she even helped with my financial planning for the next 2 years. She’s been a great support and I couldn’t thank her enough, as even now she is always at the end of the phone, if I have a question”.

If like Ste you are trying to explore new ways to get back to work and would like to look at business start up as an option, get in touch with the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or

Tuesday, 4 September 2018

Child-Friendly Salon, Ava & Harrison, Launches in Old Swan

Having worked together in the 90's, Sara and Jo went on to pursue different career paths, but desire to create their own path brought them back together to build their dream business 'Ava and Harrison' Liverpool's first child friendly hair salon.

Feeling "nervous, excited, doubtful and confident all in one" the friends contacted Enterprise Hub partners The Women's Organisation for advice and guidance and soon got their idea off the ground.

Within weeks of starting they needed to expand their team when a facebook post by a local mum who spotted their new shop sign went viral. 

Read their full story of success here.

And if you are friends thinking about going into business, you too can get advice and guidance from European Regional Development Fund supported Enterprise Hub programme get in touch with our team via 0151 706 8113 or

Jenny Farrelly takes over Wirral Institution

Despite her many years’ experience in supply and retail of school uniforms and branded workwear, it was still a big step to consider the challenge of setting up independently.  To add to the magnitude of the change, Jenny was considering taking over an existing business that was long-established on Wirral. 

Jenny was partly financing her venture but needed to apply for a StartUp Loan to make her entrepreneurial dream a reality.  She also had to contend with unfamiliar territory in the shape of TUPE staff obligations, decisions involving stock, collating accounts history, both for the loan application and the organization she was taking over.  Wirral Chamber’s startup team were with her every step of the way and Jenny made the most of the expertise at hand, building a great business plan and realistic cash flow as well as building great relationships with the team.

The business she was buying was a Wirral institution with a fairly reliable customer base that, with strategic marketing and planning, she could retain and grow.  There was additional seasonal pressure for Jenny to secure the loan and to be in the business during the summer holidays as this is a peak time for sales of schools uniforms.  She did it!  The StartUp Loan application was successful and Jenny took over the shop August hit the ground running with parents and pupils getting sorted for the new school year.

The Enterprise Hub Team always knew Jenny had the determination to succeed and we enjoyed working with her to make her business happen.   She had particular words of thanks for Patsy Crocker: “Patsy went through detailed cash flows with me for the loan application, she was amazing and helped my confidence hugely.” 

StartUp Wirral from Enterprise Hub is helping start-up businesses like Jenny’s with the support required to become successful companies.  If you’re thinking of starting a business in Wirral, please contact Lisa, Paul or Warren on 0151 541 0976.

Plumber John taps into startup support with Enterprise Hub at Wirral Chamber of Commerce

Having spent most of his early career as a plumber, for the last few years John Holden had been handing on his expertise working as a trainer at colleges in Halton.  Having identified a gap in the market and following a growing desire to get back to his roots, John decided that it was time to set up his own business as a plumber.

From the first phone call to Enterprise Hub at Wirral Chamber of Commerce, John got on really well with the team  and made the most of the range of support that is on offer from this programme.   His initial meeting really made him think how he would market himself, having already chosen his future business name “Plumber John”, and an idea of the customer base that he wanted.  With his many years’ experience, friendly approach and, let’s be honest, a real shortage of plumbers, this does feel like the right time for John Holden to start up.  
John has attended the Business Planning, and Marketing Workshops on Wirral and valued the networking aspect of these as well as the information being delivered.  With additional 1:1 guidance from the Wirral Chamber of Commerce on his sales and marketing techniques, Plumber John now has a website  and an increased confidence in social media techniques which he continues to learn.

On the support received, John commented: “From the moment I contacted the Wirral team I was impressed in how proactive they were in helping me to get my business started.  It was useful asking direct questions and getting answers.”  He is now beginning to build his customer base in Halton, Wirral and Liverpool and he has some past students in mind that showed real promise that he would consider taking on when the workload increases sufficiently.   

StartUp Wirral from Enterprise Hub is helping start-up businesses like Plumber John are given the support required to become successful companies in both Wirral and Halton.  If you’re thinking of starting a business in Wirral or Halton, please contact Lisa, Paul or Warren on 0151 541 0976 to find out about the programme which is part funded by European Regional Development Fund. 

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

GBBO Inspired Bakery Brings Cooking Classes to the Community

For 11 years Carol was a stay at home mum and a carer for her father. Following his death she wanted to get back into work, but found her options were limited due to her age. She decided to go into self-employment and launched her new business Whipped & Beaten with support from St Helens Chamber and the Enterprise Hub. 

Carol commented: “I wanted a job that allowed me to be independent in terms of when and how I worked. I also wanted to make the most of my previous skills and experience, having a background in cookery and teaching. I was inspired by the success of the ‘Great British Bake Off’ and other popular TV cookery programmes and I knew there would be a demand for cookery classes that wasn’t being met.”

Carol attended one of the Chamber’s ‘Be Your Own Boss’ events and met with a dedicated business start-up adviser who supported her with writing her business plan. She also met with a business mentor for one hour per week for six weeks who gave her further advice and guidance. Carol said: “The best part of the start-up support for me was the business mentor. I was very lucky to have a mentor from NatWest Bank who really helped me to organise and focus my ideas to structure my business plan.”

Carol also attended the Chamber’s free ‘Understanding Enterprise’ workshops where she learnt the fundamental principles of running a business and networked with other local start-ups. I did every workshop that was available to me, which was very useful in terms of getting started. It also gave me the opportunity to make new friends and contacts and learn from other people’s experiences. The workshops helped to eliminate the loneliness which comes when you’re working from home in the early stages setting up your business.”

After starting up her business, Carol became a Member of the Chamber, and made good use of all the benefits available to her including DBS checks, discounted networking and advice from business advisers. Carol added: “For the first six months of operating I took full advantage of all the services available to me through the Chamber, all of which have been very helpful and supported me in starting my business. I received a start-up discount on Chamber Membership and attended the 2017 Business Fair at a discounted rate."

“Through my Membership I’ve also made use of the discounted DBS service. I was put in touch with the Business Services team at the Chamber who came out and explained the DBS process to me. It was straight forward and I was given all the information about how to apply. I filled in my forms and handed over the cheque and the rest was done for me. Someone at the Chamber that I’d known for a long time even provided me with a reference. When you’re starting out as a new business it’s hard to know who to use, so it really helped."

Whipped & Beaten, also known as W&B Cookery in the Community, offers a variety of community based bakery and general cookery courses including supported living schemes, community centres and other special projects. Carol also attends local events such as the Great Get Together and seasonal fairs.

Since last Summer Carol has become heavily involved with a community project Sow, Grow and Eat, in collaboration with, The Autism and Asperger Society and Ashtons Green Community Allotments.
Here she runs a weekly cooking class aimed at vulnerable people suffering from loneliness and isolation.

Carol commented: “I was successful in securing funding from Wellbeing Enterprise and Un Ltd to start up the project and then received further funding to grow the project at the start of this year. The project is run over the course of six months, starting in Mach with the growing of the seeds and preparing raised beds. Each week we harvest the crops and cook them to prepare a communal meal. The project has been successful on many levels, improving social interaction, teaching new skills, increasing activity and promoting good mental and physical health.”

To find out more about how you can get involved call carol on 01744 731200 or email

If you are thinking about setting up an business that also offers social value, the Enterprise Hub programme can offer FREE expert advice and guidance.  Contact our team on 0151 706 8113 or to be connected to a partner organisation near you. 

Monday, 13 August 2018

Enterprise Hub Graduates 'The Reach Men's Centre' Secure £10,000 Big Lottery Funding

With help from  Alt Valley Community Trust's Enterprise Hub Programme 'Smarter Business Starter', The Reach Men’s Centre was launched in 2017. 

Having recognised that there was a lack of support in the local area for men who have mental health issues, their aim is to improve the well being of men living in the Merseyside area. Based in South Sefton, they provide a range of services to improve the well-being of men in the area, such as a drop-in social group where men can meet with others, play indoor games, and partake in group social activities. This reduces isolation, anxiety and depression. They can also learn how to improve their physical wellbeing by speaking with a visiting advisor from the local health centre who regularly calls in.  They also offer one-to-one support through their person centered counselling service.

The Reach Men’s Centre has recently been awarded £10,000 by the Big Lottery Awards for All for their Step Up project.

Sandra Bell, managing director of The Reach, said:

"This award will enable us to fund the Drop-In group for the next 12 months, as well as allowing us to make our counseling service affordable to those wishing to access the service that otherwise would not be able to afford it.
We would like to thank Alt Valley for all their help with launching The Reach Men’s Centre, especially John and Alan for their guidance and encouragement."

If you are thinking about setting up an business that also offers social value, the Enterprise Hub programme can offer FREE expert advice and guidance.  Contact our team on 0151 706 8113 or to be connected to a partner organisation near you.