Monday 28 November 2016

Liverpool Central Library Business & IP Centre Supports Enterprise Hub Entrepreneurs

Have you visited Liverpool Central Library since its fantastic refurbishment?  If you haven't and you are looking to start a business, then definitely add it to your 'must visit' places as they have a ton of FREE support available.  Based on the first floor of Central Library, the Business and Intellectual Property Centre can support you if you're looking to start or grow your business.
From taking those first steps to successfully launching and developing a business, you will find people and business resources there to help you.
Working with a range of partner organisations the Business & IP Centre can offer:
  • Free access to Business and Intellectual Property databases and publications including market research, company data, business news plus information about intellectual property to protect your ideas
  • Access to business advisers and experts including our Entrepreneur In Residence, Councillor Gary Millar, Liverpool’s Mayoral Lead for Business and International Growth
  • Workshops and events to help you get to grips with all aspects of starting and growing a business including access to chartered patent attorneys and information specialists
  • Inspiring spaces that will help you to think creatively and meet like-minded people
  • Signposting to other business related events and activities within the Liverpool area

Online resources

If you're a member of Liverpool Libraries, you can access some of our subscriptions at home by logging in with your library card.  These include:

Events and drop in sessions

There are a number of other useful events and drop in sessions are held in the Business and IP Centre, first floor, Central Library:
  • Entrepreneur in Residence drop-in advice session with Cllr Gary Millar and team – every Thursday from 1pm to 4pm
  • Trademarks advice with Kate Cruse (Forresters)  – first Thursday of the month from 1pm to 4pm.
  • Patents advice drop-in with Dr Les Prichard (Culverstons) – last Thursday of the month from 1pm to 4pm.
  • Patents clinic (Chartered Institute of Patent Attorneys) – first Tuesday of the month from 5pm to 7.30pm (booking necessary).  Please email or telephone 0151 233 5835.
  • Be your own boss (Enterprise Hub Partner St Helens Chamber of Commerce) – second Wednesday of the month from 2.00pm to 4.15pm.
  • Business Advice Appointments for Women Starting a Business (Enterprise Hub Partners The Women's Organisation) Booked via 0151 706 8111
Scheduled changes over festive period: There will be no Entrepreneur in Residence sessions on 22nd or 29th December. Patents advice drop in will be on 15th December, not 29th. Patents clinic will be on 10th January, not 3rd.
To find out more about any of the services listed above contact the library team here. 

Monday 7 November 2016

How to be your own boss…

Being your own boss can be hugely rewarding, but it doesn’t come without its own risks as Adrian Ellis, Business Start-up Manager at St Helens Chamber, explains.
“Moving into self-employment can be hugely beneficial in terms of the flexibility it offers around lifestyle, the freedom it provides to be able to manage your own time and the ability it offers for people to be able to follow life-long dreams and ambitions; but one of the first things we do with anyone who comes to see us about starting a business is give them a reality check.
Adrian Ellis, Business Start-up Manager St Helens Chamber
“Whilst being your own boss can be a fantastic experience, it isn’t without its risks so it’s important that we make sure anyone venturing into it understands that. There can be a lot of financial instability when you first start in business and you may not always get a regular income, so you have to make sure you can plan for this. But on the flip side once things do take off, the potential earnings for someone who is self-employed are usually higher than someone doing the same job working for someone else.
“Statistics show that less than 50% of start-up businesses survive the first five years of trading, so it’s important to make sure that you have a strong business plan in place and a unique selling point that ensures you are in that minority. Developing a business plan for a sustainable business is one of the biggest pieces of work our team carries out with our clients; having a great idea for a business is one thing, but you have to make sure it will work. Often the hardest part of our job is telling someone that their idea isn’t going to work out.

“The other big factor of being self-employed for most people when they first start out is that you’re “it”. You have to be all things in all departments. There is often no-one else there to run decisions past, no one to delegate to, and no one to cover for you when you’re ill. It can be lonely and hard work, but it does give you the autonomy to be the decision maker and do things your way, which can often be a huge bonus for people who have spent years working for other people.

“My advice would be to make sure you don’t go it alone. There is lots of support available for start-ups through Enterprise Hub, a European Regional Development Fund funded project that offers expert advice and support to anyone thinking about starting a business in the Liverpool City Region through a network of partners.”

As an active Enterprise Hub partner St Helens Chamber offers free and impartial one to one advice and support to people across Merseyside and Halton thinking about starting a business. To find out more about whether self-employment is for you, and the support available, go along to one of their ‘Be your own Boss’ sessions. The next events take place Wednesday 9th November, 9.30 – 11.30am Liverpool Central Library or 6-8pm at St Helens Chamber.

For more information call 0845 340 9980 or visit

Wednesday 2 November 2016

Stephen Hatches his New Business with Enterprise Hub Support

Stephen Donoghue has used 17 years of industry experience to launch his own web design and digital marketing business with support from Enterprise Hub.

EggBox Web Design offers complete web solutions to help businesses achieve their goals, whether this is increasing sales, gaining new customers or promoting their products and services more effectively.

Stephen was made redundant from his full time job and finally decided it was time to take the leap into self-employment. He said: “I have wanted to go it alone for years, to make my own decisions and set up my own business as I knew I would be more motivated to work harder to make the business a success.”

Having decided to go it alone Stephen contacted St Helens Chamber for support. He was assigned a dedicated business adviser who worked with him to develop his business plan and attended regular workshops and networking events to grow his skills.

Stephen said: “Once I was introduced to the Chamber I had an interview with my adviser George. After listening to my business idea, I was given instant feedback and advice on the sector I was entering into, which was very helpful. It didn’t feel like I was just another person passed onto the course.

“The workshops I attended were a great way of focusing on key aspects of starting a business; from business planning, marketing, pricing and managing money. We covered many things I hadn’t even considered before setting up my business.

Stephen has also been building contacts with other local entrepreneurs. He commented: “I was introduced to other start ups in exactly the same position as me. This gave me a friendly and supportive environment to be in at the very early stages because we were all facing similar challenges.”

Stephen is very happy with the support he received through Enterprise Hub. He added: “The level of knowledge and professionalism from the advisers plus their encouragement and support really helped me at the crucial early stages.

“I can’t emphasise enough my appreciation and need for this support as I feel the beginning is the hardest when you are trying to get the business off the ground.”

“There will be situations that may lift you out of your comfort zone, but this is all designed to help you face the many real challenges that you will encounter when running a business.”

“If you are looking to start a business, don’t be afraid to reach out and get the professional help that is there.”

If like Stephen you are facing a career crossroads and would like to explore the option of working for yourself, find out more about the FREE support you can access through the Enterprise Hub, part funded by European Regional Development Fund.
Contact the Enterprise Hub team today on 0151 706 8113 or

Tuesday 1 November 2016

Peter’s Online Jewellery Business Shines Internationally

Peter van der Boon is living out his lifelong dream as his jewellery business goes from strength to strength.

Having a childhood interest in jewellery and luxury brands, Peter decided to follow his dream and start his own business with support from Enterprise Hub and St Helens Chamber.

Based in Liverpool, Van Der Boon Jewellery specialises in Moissanite gem stones and sells gold, platinum and Argentinium silver jewellery online.

Peter had previously worked in a number of sectors including accountancy, sales and logistics and marketing. He commented: “I went to the University of Life. I always chose roles where I knew I could learn about business and building a successful brand. I think all of my jobs have helped me on the route to self-employment, always with the final goal in mind.”

Peter started selling jewellery online while he worked full time and as his customer base began to grow he became the first independent seller of Moissanite stones in the UK.

When his circumstances changed Peter decided it was time to go it alone. He approached Enterprise Hub for support and has never looked back.

He said: “I never liked working for a boss. I always had a plan to work for myself and I’m really glad I was directed to St Helens Chamber."

“I am a perfectionist and in the past I have been reluctant to take the plunge and launch my business but the Chamber support really helped."

Peter worked with a dedicated business adviser and attended a number of workshops on business planning, cash flow and business principles. He commented: “My adviser helped me refine my business plan and we agreed a series of deadlines to stick to when it came to taking the first steps.

“I thought I was clear on everything. I’d had this plan all my life but in reality there was a lot of things I still needed to think about. The Chamber helped me cut the nonsense and create a focussed and realistic business plan. They helped me define everything.

 “The Chamber has also been useful in terms of export support. Initially this was a scary process but their export readiness services helped me clarify what I should be doing when I send my products internationally.”
Peter now has business customers around the world, from Germany to Russia and Slovenia to South Korea, and has plans for further expansion in the future.

He added: “Now the Van Der Boon name is growing and I am no longer chasing customers; they come to me. Thanks to my online shop I can be anywhere in the world, selling to anyone.

“I am forever grateful for the support I received from the Chamber. It really helped dot the I’s and cross the T’s.

 “I would urge anyone thinking of starting a business to go through the Chamber’s start up programme.”

If like Peter you would like to turn a passion into a business, find out more about the FREE support you can access through the Enterprise Hub, part funded by European Regional Development Fund.
Contact the Enterprise Hub team today on 0151 706 8113 or