Wednesday, 21 December 2016

Sharp New Start For Lynda

Lynda Zappa is back in a job and working for herself thanks to business start-up support from Enterprise Hub and St Helens Chamber.

Lynda, a British Body Piercing Association (BBPA) trained and certified piercing specialist from Liverpool, found herself off work for a significant period having been diagnosed with cancer. 


Lynda Zappa


Ready to start work again, she approached her local Job Centre and was directed to St Helens Chamber for support from Enterprise Hub. She attended the Business Essentials workshop and was assigned a Business Adviser who worked with her to create a business plan and financial forecasts.

Bringing 10 years of experience and her BBPA credentials, Lynda now works from the Liverpool Ink tattoo studio in Liverpool City Centre. 

Lynda said: “The support I received from Enterprise Hub was invaluable. It has been so helpful, especially the financial forecasts. I was able to see that I didn’t need to see an impossible number of clients a day to make a living – it gave me the confidence boost and support to know that I could do it.”

While recovering from her illness, self-employment has allowed Lynda to get back into work far quicker than if she had pursued full-time employment. 

Lynda added: “It’s the freedom of being my own boss that has allowed me to get back to work and earn my own money. I can be flexible with my working days and if I need to take time for appointments or illness then I can. I know that no employer would have taken me on as it would have been too difficult.

“Working for myself also means that I am not suffering for the way I look – something else that I think would have prevented me from succeeding in conventional employment.”

George Betts, Business Start-up Adviser at St Helens Chamber, said: “It has been a pleasure to work with Lynda and to help get her back into work. She is putting her 10 years of experience to good use and, having put together a good business plan, is already succeeding in picking up clients.”

Lynda added: “Working with George and meeting other people in the same position, trying to start their own business, gave me a huge amount of confidence. As a single parent I was honestly terrified about taking the leap but the support I have received has been fantastic.

“Attending the workshop and getting guidance from George really helped me to get organised and stick to a plan of action.

“I would highly recommend getting in touch with St Helens Chamber for start-up support. It has been invaluable for me.”

Receiving funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Enterprise Hub is 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

For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber to start a business, call 0845 340 9980, email startup@sthelenschamber.com, or visit http://www.sthelenschamber.com/startup.

A Social Business For These Times

Rarely these days are the dreadful problems being experienced by the people of Syria out of the news. Equally all too rarely do we hear of initiatives designed to speed the integration and enhance quality of life of Syrians who have chosen to live here in the UK, especially not those that are designed and delivered by the Syrian Community itself.

At the beginning of 2016 Sameer Hesso, a Kurdish Syrian living with his family and working here in Liverpool approached Alt Valley Community Trust about setting up a social business to improve the wellbeing of his community.

Sameer was introduced to the Business Advisors at Alt Valley Community Trust in Croxteth and immediately signed onto the Enterprise Hub business start up support programme.

Sameer comments:

“There are around 150-200 Kurdish Syrian families in the Liverpool City Region area and we wanted to create a means whereby we can encourage them to become directly involved in the activities we are planning. We are setting out to enhance the physical and mental health of those from Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East granted refugee status and their dependents so as to advance their abilities to adapt and thrive in their new communities. “


After being introduced to Enterprise Hub Advisor Roy Meredith at Alt Valley, Sameer began the process of learning how to set up and go about doing business in the UK. After attending an initial start up workshop with 7 other new business starters, Sameer then proceeded to develop his business plan as well as understand the different types of business structure and the obligations of holding a directorship.

In June of 2016 along with 2 other Directors Sameer formed Rojava Kurdish Community CIC to deliver a range of activities to raise awareness of Kurdish Syrian society and culture and thereby promote cultural understanding and cohesion in local communities.

Sameer adds:

“Without the support of the Alt Valley Enterprise Hub team we would not have been able to get as far as we have. The level of detailed information and mentoring that they have provided is amazing – from Kayleigh Clarke on the administration side to Alan Johnson who has helped us set the CIC up correctly from the beginning.

“We are now in position to start making our plans a reality in 2017, in the knowledge that the Enterprise Hub team are always there to help us along the way.”

Alt Valley specialist Advisor on Social Enterprises, Alan Johnson, comments:

“It is very important when forming a Social business of this kind to make sure everything is set up correctly at the start to ensure that the company can access as wide a range of opportunities as possible. Sameer and his colleagues can now move forward with confidence bidding for the support funding they need in order to do the great things they are planning.”


Tuesday, 20 December 2016

Cheryl Grogan Spotted A Space In The Market For Her Business Idea...

Cheryl Grogan found her passion which she turned into a business after noticing a gap in the market! This month her new business; AJ’s Play Days is launching!  AJ’s Play Days is a soft play centre aimed at children under the age of 5 with a specific focus on the development needs of babies and toddlers through play. It will help parents bond with their children by offering bay and toddler yoga, positive parenting classes, hypnobirthing and a relaxation area. 

Twenty-something Cheryl told us; ‘Whilst I was on maternity leave I noticed that there were not many places where a mum can take their smaller children without being uncomfortable and feeling out of their depth, especially parents with more than one child.’


‘When I was later offered redundancy I jumped at the chance of starting my own business. I have always wanted to be my own boss and the flexibility of having 2 small children was a must. I wanted to be able to spend time with my children and hopefully offer other parents a comfortable, relaxing place where they could take their babies and toddlers.’ 

But as AJ’s isn’t just an ordinary soft play centre, it’s clear to see that there was another area of interest that Cheryl took into consideration when imagining her business up and running…Developmental Psychology and Cheryl told us that after having her two children she used the techniques that she had studied; ‘I found that I enjoyed watching my boys reach a higher potential than I could imagine’ – and this was the aspect that she wanted to share with other parents and families. 


If like Cheryl you would like to access expert advice to start a business, contact the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8111 or email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk


Friday, 16 December 2016

Anne Pennington From Sefton Realised Her Dreams Of Self-Employment...

Now, we know that we do our jobs well. Each and every day we are a team of people who one simple mission in mind – To improve the lives of the women that we meet. But as you know, sometimes daily life gets on top of us all and that’s why it’s so amazing to be reminded of why we do the work that we do! Anne Pennington was just the woman for this and we couldn’t be more delighted to have helped her realise her dreams of self-employment!

Anne Pennington has one of those business that we hear about and think; ‘Now that sounds interesting!’ Anne is an award-winning researcher and leader in the use of insights in the public sector; she works with clients from across many different sectors from their first idea through their planning, design and implementation all the way to evaluation. And since launching her business has worked on an incredible variety of different projects including; a campaign to raise awareness of domestic abuse, a campaign to improve breastfeeding and even the massively influential campaign This Girl Can. 


Prior to setting up her business Anne was a Principal Insight Analyst with Public Health Knowsley for 10 years and before that worked for National Museums Liverpool for 17 years as a Research Officer. She told us; ‘I had always been interested in working for myself but I’d never had the courage to make the leap from employment to self-employment. But when I took redundancy in December 2015 it was the perfect opportunity to have a go on my own. I was ready for a new challenge!’ 


If like Anne you would like to access expert advice to start a business, contact the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk



Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Melissa Wavell Made Big Changes In Her Life And Started Her Business – The Dog Haus Ltd.

Every once in awhile we get to help a business that really makes us smile – and Melissa Wavell from Widnes new business; The Dog Haus Ltd. is one of those. Melissa describes it as ‘A new breed of day care for the contemporary dog.’

‘At The Dog Haus Ltd. we believe that socialising is very important. Dogs are pack animals by nature and they rarely get to be part of a pack in today’s world. We allow the dogs to play and socialise in a controlled environment which is more natural for them. The contemporary design led crèche has been created so the dogs feel like they are in a home from home.’

But how did Melissa, who had previously been a manager for the luxury fashion brand Jaeger, come to opening up her own doggy day care centre? It’s the simple matter of wanting to follow a dream! Melissa told us that it had always been her dream to work with animals wanting to be a vet when she was younger. She also had some entrepreneurial spirit in her as she spotted a gap in the market for her business idea; ‘I decided to set up my own because I already had a lot of business experience from my previous job and I’d also seen a space in the market for more of a ‘luxury’ doggy day care. A lot of dog day cares that you see now are very basic and I wanted to create a fun environment similar to what you would see at a children’s crèche! Just because they are dogs, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve the best!’ 


If like Melisssa you would like to access expert advice to start a business contact the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk


Thursday, 8 December 2016

Start-up Support Helps Claire Go It Alone

Claire Ross has used her industry skills and experience to launch a training and coaching business with the support of Enterprise Hub and St Helens Chamber.




St Helens-based 3B Coaching offers training, development and coaching for individuals and businesses. 

Offering tailored business support, including assertiveness and confidence coaching, Claire also works with the Institute of Leadership and Management as one of their 
Specialist External Verifiers for leadership and management coaching.

Claire said: “My sister-in-law had set up a business a few years back and had nothing but praise for St Helens Chamber, so they were the first place I approached when I decided to set up my own business.

“The support I have received has been invaluable. I attended a six-session training course that not only gave me all the basics I needed to start up my business but also had me thinking whether this was the right way forward for me.”

As part of the support she received Claire was assigned a dedicated business coach to work with her on developing a business plan.

She commented: “Enterprise Hub really helped me to get a full picture of what needed to be done, how I needed to do this, by when and what implications there were.

“I was encouraged to take the leap into self-employment in my own time, once my business plan was achievable and realistic. On completion of the course I also gained an Understanding Enterprise qualification, so for me it was highly beneficial.” 

Since launching her business with Enterprise Hub support, Claire has gone on to receive 12 hours of fully-funded support for growth through St Helens Chamber’s dedicated Business Growth Programme, part of the Liverpool City Region Integrated Business Support (LCRIBS) Project. She has also been able to take on a new business partner and hopes the support she has received will help her to win bigger contracts in the future.

George Betts, Business Start-up Coach at St Helens Chamber, said: “We’re delighted to have helped Claire become her own boss. She is using her years of industry experience to grow a successful business and it’s great to see her accessing further support for growth from the Chamber.”

Claire added: “The Chamber is a welcoming environment where I feel supported and encouraged to develop my business at my own pace.

“The staff are so friendly and helpful and I feel that I would not be where I am now without their help. I know the Chamber will continue to support me as long as I need.”

Receiving funding from the European Regional Development Fund, Enterprise Hub is 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

For more information about the support available from St Helens Chamber through the Enterprise Hub Programme to start a business, call 0845 340 9980, email startup@sthelenschamber.com, or visit www.sthelenschamber.com/startup





Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Shirley Razbully Overcame Personal Difficulties And Started Her Business; Muse Retreats

Shirley Razbully’s story of how she came to set up her business, Muse Retreats, is an incredibly inspiring one. When we spoke to Shirley we were overwhelmed by her positivity and it was surprising to learn that things hadn’t always been so easy for her, as Shirley decided to set up her business as a result of a breakdown that she suffered a couple of years ago. We think the Shirley’s journey of overcoming adversity and setting up a business that can help people is a fantastic one and we wanted to share it…

Shirley Razbully
Muse Retreats is a monthly subscription box service for ‘the creative soul’. Instead of delivering beauty products or food products like other subscription services, Shirley delivers a creative retreat for people to explore at home at a time to suit them. It includes sweet treats, organic herbal teas, step by step retreat guidelines and art/craft gifts as well as other surprises based on the month’s theme. Shirley says;‘It’s a great way for us to reclaim a bit of ‘me time’ by taking time out, just for ourselves, to get creative and reflect on what we think and feel.’ 

Each month Shirley chooses a different theme and creates the box around that and although it is a subscription box service there are one-off boxes available which make great gifts! ‘The main purpose of these creative retreats is for women to reconnect with themselves and their joy.’

It’s incredible to think that something as positive as Muse Retreats was borne out of such a dark period of Shirley’s life. She told us; ‘I decided to set up my business as a result of a breakdown. After working in an extremely pressured environment for so many years, I burnt out. I was also dealing with multiple family bereavements. The combination of burnout, bereavement and breakdown let to me being off work desperately ill for six months. During that period I had a lot of time to reflect, and I realised I wasn’t really living; I was just about surviving my life.’

Read Shirley's full story here...

If like Shirley you would like to access expert advice to start a business contact the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 or email enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk