Friday 27 July 2018

Antonia Brings A Taste Of Her Heritage to Castle Street

New client success story, from The Women's Organisation! If you're a regular of Liverpool's Castle Street, you may have noticed its latest addition, Heritage, specialising in small plates and cocktails from breakfast, to lunch and dinner.

Founder of Heritage, Antonia, launched Heritage with advice and support from The Women's Organisation under the Enterprise Hub programme. Officially opening it's doors in February, Heritage is a family-run business with a name that stems from their inter-generational love for culinary.

The large-scale venture prides itself on having a small but extremely talented team of 12 individuals, "With our business growing we now have 12 members of staff, some of which have been with us since the start of business. For us, as our business develops, it's extremely important to maintain quality service, standard of food and a great experience. Therefore investing time in our staff is key."

You can Antonia's full story over on The Women's Organisation blog, here.

If you want to find out more about Heritage, you can contact them directly on / 0151 236 8554 or visit their website on

Monday 23 July 2018

PLS Food Foundation Launches to Feed Over 2000 People in Food Poverty

PLS Food Foundation is a Charitable Incorporated Organisation that was formed by Paul Martin in order to complement the work of Progressive Lifestyle Solutions NW CIC through undertaking work with a specific focus on tackling food poverty with fresh products delivered to people that need it most. 

Receiving business support from Everton Development Trust, the organisation currently operates from offices on Walton Road in North Liverpool with one member of staff and six volunteers. A refrigerated vehicle, donated by the Morgan Foundation, is used to pick up and deliver food. At present, PLS Food Foundation works with four main donor organisations, including Costco and Iceland, and a further partnership with Pizza Hut is currently in the final stages of negotiation. Donors provide the organisation with surplus food for redistribution to those experiencing food poverty.

In ensuring that food gets to those most in need as efficiently as possible, PLS Food Foundation works with a network of eight voluntary organisations that are based within local communities and one primary school. Through this network, the organisation serves approximately 2000 people who experience food poverty each month. PLS Food Foundation is actively seeking ways to both upscale its impact in alleviating food poverty and establish trading revenue streams.

Accordingly, having established links with “Affordable Foods” in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, PLS Food Foundation is investigating the viability of replicating the affordable foodstore concept in north Liverpool. The PLS Food Foundation affordable foodstore will trade surplus produce from wholesale and retail outlets at a discount to members.

In order to remove the stigma from membership that may arise if referral is based upon proof of poverty, PLS is proposing that membership be by referral from a credit union. The intention is that this will establish membership of the store as a positive experience linked to credit union membership, rather than a negative venue of last resort. Premises are currently being sought in the Walton area.

You can find out more about PLS Food Foundation by following them on Twitter or Facebook.

If you’re feeling inspired to find out more about going self-employed, contact us on 0151 706 8113 or

Tuesday 17 July 2018

Key Takeaways from Last Week's Business Start up Conference

Enterprise Hub Partner The Women's Organisation played host to this month's Enterprise Hub Business start-up Conference, providing opportunity for men and women thinking of starting a business to understand what is involved.  

Joanne & Sara Ava and Harrison with Bernie Cox
Joanne & Sara with event host Bernie Cox (in the centre)

Two brilliant businesses joined us at the event to share their stories and Bernie Cox Training Coordinator at The Women's Organisation hosted the evening. 

Sara & Joanne Ava and Harrison with Anna Slater Northerwest Linen
Sara, Joanne & Anna Preparing to Speak
Engaging double act Joanne and Sara from children's hair salon Ava and Harrison were first to share their story.  Quite new in the world of business, Sara told us that things are going so well that ""By the end of week one we had to employ someone else. Our second week, another staff members.  Our estimate for week twelve is that we will be up to a team of 7". 

But how did they go from idea to thriving business in such a short space of time?  Here are some key takeaways from their talk

  • Social Media is Key - Joanne told us how getting their page up on facebook has been a godsend as the second they put their shop sign up, a local mum took a photo which was shared on a 5,000+ member strong facebook group of mums saying how excited she was to 
  • Involve Your Client Group in the Branding Process - Naming their business after Sara's daughter and Joanne's nephew is a great story that appeals to their customer base.  Sara recounted though how her daughter Ava was key in the design process. Joanne ran all design ideas past Ava to ensure they had a child's eye view on it.
  • Follow Your Dream - Having talked about their idea for a few years it was Joanne who started the catalyst for change by quitting her previous job.  While waiting to push the new business forward Joanne had started offering mobile hair and beauty, but remembers she questioned "What am I doing? Why am I delaying this? We just need to get that business open". Now they have Sara and Joanne have no regrets seeing how quickly it has all come together
  • Get advice - Joanne and Sara managed to access start-up loans to get their business off the ground, but realise without the right advice they may not have known that this fund was available, wouldn't have had their business plan completed and wouldn't have had a supportive person to bounce their ideas around location and strategy off. 
Next up was the impressive young Anna Slater of Northwest Linen.  Having started her business thanks to investment through Merseyside Special Investment Fund and her family, Anna's story reads almost the complete opposite to that of Ava and Harrison.  Diving in without much advice Anna picked up a business she had watched her father run successfully back when she was 8 years old motivated by "Feeling out of control" of her own destiny. 

Anna's starting point was renting a laundry in the evening while still working in education and relying on her father to drive her around her first customer's 3 locations. Anna reflected that "It hasn't been easy" but she has achieved her core objective of once again feeling in control of her destiny.  Key takeaways from Anna's story included

  • Choose a marketing strategy that works for your business - Anna confessed she barely does any marketing for her business.  While she felt compelled to put her business on facebook, in hindsight she realised her core customer base of large hotel chains or restaurants are unlikely to be browsing facebook when choosing their linen service supplier. Anna has instead grown her business through recommendation from clients, but has achieved this through a personalised customer care strategy which has essentially been her core marketing tool.  Beyond that Anna's marketing investment has been using Google Adwords to ensure when those who don't know her business are searching online, her business comes top of Google search. This shows that marketing strategy that works for one business doesn't necessarily work for another, so you need to consider your customer. 
  • Pace Your Growth - While Anna grew her staff team to 15 and expanded her customer base to make her business a high growth enterprise, Anna's strategy has been very measured.  It was as she was growing that she came across The Women's Organisation and took advice.  Anna recognises that at this point she is in a position where she could take on more and more contracts, however her current strategy is one of "consolidation". Anna advised that sometimes you can grow too fast and lose control of the business, so it is important to take some moments to step back and get everything you are already doing well fully consolidated before taking on more and potentially spinning out of control.
  • Know Your Why - Anna told us that when deciding on what business to open she asked herself what she wanted from the experience. "Do I want to be a millionaire? No - Good because this wouldn't be the right industry for that. Do I want to be proud of what I do? Yes - and I can honestly say that I am".  It is important to understand what your end goal is and to evaluate whether that business you are thinking of will help you reach that goal. And think about how to achieve that.  Anna has achieved her goal through choosing an industry that is a family tradition, through building in good customer care strategies, and through carefully evaluating who the people are that will help make that happen. 

From the key points above you can get a flavour for what an inspiring and informative evening we enjoyed.  But you don't need to take our word for it! Here are some of the comments from those attending saying what they thought:

"Presentations were inspirational. Well presented and useful. Thank You."
"Really enjoyed it! Fantastic. Very motivational.  I hope to set up a business now, maybe 2 or 3."
"Great conference and found it very rewarding."
"The energy of the staff and the building were very positive."
"Very informative"
"Really well organised, excellent leader in Bernie, her advice, ethusiasm and honesty."
"Very inspiring guest speakers"
"So glad I came, many thanks."
"Inspirational speakers, Excellent event!"

If you missed out, but are looking for business advice you can contact the Enterprise Hub team on 0151 706 8113 to find out more about the free support available to Liverpool City Region residents through our European Regional Development Fund supported project. 

Hop over to our facebook page too to keep up with latest events on offer. 

Thursday 12 July 2018

Angelica Makes A Fashion Statement With Incabrit

Angelica Elliot launches Incabrit, a business creating fashion accessories such as wool scarves, jewellery and leather bags. 

Angelica Elliot, The founder of Incabrit approached The Women's Organisation seeking business support and was excited about finally starting her own business with support from The Enterprise Hub.

Before starting up, Angelica Elliot had worked a number of different jobs, from working to help the homeless to being a full time special needs teacher in Chile. When asked about venturing into self-employed, Angelica said “at this stage of my life I wanted, for many years, to create different products from the comfort of my own home but continue being financially independent from my husband.”

Speaking about the support she received from the The Women’s Organisation, Angelica said, “I received support from my business adviser, Francine Taylor. The free courses are also very good in quality and it’s a process of constant learning which is what I need to keep doing”

Incabrit launched in December 2017 and Angelica is starting to focus more on her marketing and gaining social media knowledge. When asked about the advice she would give friends looking to jump into self-employment, she said “Go to The Women’s Organisation and be brave enough to jump into it and give it a good try”

To read more about Angelica's story, head to The Women's Organisation blog.

You can contact Angelica and keep updated with Incabrit on Facebook here

If you have an idea for a business and would like to receive advice and support we can help you get started! Contact our team on or 0151 706 8113.

Jennifer Makes Interior Design Simple With The Mini Interior Design Company

With a passion for design and turning houses into homes, Jennifer Kay launched The Mini Interior Design Company to offer quick, easy and inexpensive interior design with the help of The Women's Organisation.

After designing her friends and families homes, Jennifer began to dream of turning her hobby into a profession and going self-employed. Jennifer approached The Women’s Organisation for business start up advice and guidance, “the advice and support given by The Women’s Organisation has been invaluable to me. My adviser was so helpful, and I really enjoyed our meetings”.

Taking an unconventional approach, Jennifer decided to make great interior affordable for everyone using a online service, "I wanted to offer an affordable, time-saving and convenient service for everyday people”.

.. and how is the company doing now? “I have now found that interest is growing, more enquiries are coming through and most importantly sales are increasing. I am really enjoying working through all the different aspects of my business. It is extremely rewarding to hear nice comments about what I am doing and there is nothing better than making a customer happy with a room idea I have designed especially for them.”

You can read this case study in FULL over on The Women's Organisation blog.

The Mini Intererior Design Company was recently featured in the Liverpool Business Post which you can read here

You can contact The Mini Interior Design Company on FacebookTwitterInstagramand Pinterest!
They also have a website and can be contacted with any queries on

If you have an idea for a business and would like to receive advice and support we can help you get started! Contact our team on or 0151 706 8113.