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. 

Tuesday, 14 August 2018

Building a PR Strategy for Launching Your New Business

While you are building your business plan preparing to launch your new business, it is worth sparing some time to think about a PR strategy for your start up.

If you get PR right it can be a great way to get a bit of 'free' advertising for your enterprise at a start up phase. Ok free is never free as time is money, but it can certainly offer a great saving while cashflow is minimal.

Here are some ideas you may want to consider:

  • Put together a press release - One of the best times to put together a press release is when your business reaches any kind of milestone as journalists want to know the what, where, when and how of a story.  Day to day running of your business is difficult to make newsworthy, however 'New Business Opens in the Local Area Creating Jobs' is great news, particularly for local press. Do a bit of google research to find out the details of journalists in media outlets you want to target.  Put together the key elements of your story: when your business launched, where, why you wanted to start that type of business, what makes you unique and build them into a story to send to those key contacts.  Ensure you include a high resolution photograph as this will make their life easier when putting the story together. 

  • Create a build up on social media - Before you business launches engage followers in the process.  "Look at our new office, we can't wait to show you what we've been working on" type of posts are a great way to make people feel a part of your start up experience.  Try to connect with social media influencers who talk about brands like yours to perhaps send them samples of your product, or invite them to try your service. A 'countdown to launch' reminds people when they can start buying from you, so don't be shy in reminding people '5 days to go!'. Etc. 

  • Hold a launch event - This may take a bit of budget to put on some drinks and nibbles, but having an event is a great way to create a buzz about your new business.  If you have premises you could literally do an opening event with a ribbon cutting and the whole nine yards.  If you invite local dignitaries such as your local mayor, key influencers within your industry, local MP etc. and even local press contacts you can massively increase your chance of getting press coverage.  Even if not it is something to shout about online and encourage those attending to tag in your social media accounts to get them noticed. 

If you are in the process of planning a business, but needing help with elements of getting the business off the ground such as marketing strategy, finance etc. then contact our team who can offer free advice and guidance through the European Regional Development Fund supported Enterprise Hub programme.  Call us on 0151 706 8113 or contact 

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. 

Tuesday, 7 August 2018

"I Am Now a Business-Owner Running My Own Editorial Business" - The Only Way Is Up For Catharine!

Having left her teaching job due to illness in 2011, Catharine was more or less unemployed for 7 years and feeling unable to access the support she really needed to pursue her business dream. And that's where Better Off Finance and Enterprise Hub came in ..  

Catharine joined the Better Off Finance programme, which supports people to improve their financial capability and prepare and progress into sustainable employment, or access training opportunities. Regaining control of her personal finances, Catharine felt empowered to begin thinking about employment opportunities and the next step forward.

Contacting The Women's Organisation, Catharine said: “I had a couple of business ideas but didn’t know where to start. My adviser helped me to see that I have skills that can be utilised in a home business and gave me confidence to know that I could do it. She was fantastic at explaining the nuts and bolts of how to start a business and how to market yourself on social media.”

Coming out of the other side, she is now an editor and proof-reader able to bring written work to publishing standard. She has edited documents for a variety of academic journals and textbooks and written several educational textbooks for children learning English; “I am now a business-owner running my own editorial business from home – Enterprise Hub has allowed me to achieve this in less than a year”. The biggest mark of success for Catharine is that she will now be able to buy her own house, a dream she had once given up on when claiming benefits.

To read more of Catharine's story, head to The Women's Organisation blogIf you’d like to find out more about Catharine Ramage Editorial, head to her website or Facebook.

If you’d like to find out more about Better Off Finance or Enterprise Hub, contact us on 0151 706 8111 and speak to a member of our Engagement Team.

Redundancy Set Sarah on a Course of Business Success with SLMC Consulting

Having spent 22 years in the building plastics industry in senior positions in customer service, key account management, and marketing, Sarah had a wealth of experience. Facing redundancy Sarah decided to plough her experience into creating a new job for herself setting up SLMC Consultancy.

Sarah told us “The first thing I did was contact Invest Sefton [Local Growth Hub Broker for the borough] to ask what I needed to do, and they suggested I start networking and referred me to the Enterprise Hub to get the support of a business advisor to guide me though the process”. Support from Enterprise Hub partners The Women’s Organisation set the ball rolling for SLMC Consulting – a marketing consultancy specialising in supporting SME’s and Start-ups overwhelmed by the idea of marketing or buzzing with ideas, but not sure how to put them into practice.

Sarah received one to one business advice and also attended courses around business planning understanding tax and national insurance, and events around the keys to business start up with The Women’s Organisation and told us about the support
“The support I received from the Enterprise Hub was brilliant, the best thing I could have done to help start me off.  Huda was my advisor and I found the meetings we had every couple of weeks amazing.”

Having been trading for a few months Sarah has already built a solid customer base and is positive about the future.

Monday, 6 August 2018

Growing The British Bearded Baby with 'Boost Your New Business'

The British Bearded Baby creates male grooming products with a difference - it’s all about using natural and organic ingredients to create the ultimate products for beards. With a growing client base in the USA, it’s a unique business with strong Merseyside roots to shout about.

We caught up with managing director, Daniel Bridges, to find out more about his business and how things have changed since was last saw him on our ‘Boost Your New Business’ course…

The British Bearded Baby uses organic and natural ingredients 

Born out of a drive to find healthier options to his usual drug store buys, The British Bearded Baby refuses to use any synesthetic ingredients.  

Daniel with his son, Henry
When asked about the businesses’ roots, founder Daniel says: “I had used cheap products (beard oils, soaps etc) and honestly, I never really bothered to look what ingredients were used in such products until we found out we were expecting our first child. My partner became conscious of what was in certain products and one day this made me read the label on a product I was using. I wasn’t sure at first if it was in English and then realised that it was just the fact that I had no clue what the ingredients actually were! After a
bit of research (Google search, obviously), I soon found that most of them were synthetic chemicals.

“I decided to see what healthier options were on the market and although there were a few out there (which took a long while to find), when I looked into the certification they had it showed that, although they stated they were ‘organic’, in some cases they actually only contained 30% organic ingredients. I lost my trust in the saturated marketed already out there and decided to have a go at making my own and just have some fun with it as I went.

“A little over a year later and many, many terrible blends tested (on myself!) along the way, I was pleasantly surprised with myself and the products I had created. So, why not share them with others and have some satisfaction in knowing my products were 100% what they claimed to be?”

And with that, The British Bearded Baby was born.

It’s safe to say that Daniel quickly settled into his new role and is enjoying the benefits of running his own business. “When stuff goes wrong, it is down to me. I’m learning every day how I can improve on the previous day, week, month and we’ve gone from selling products locally, to now regularly shipping to our ever-growing USA customers”.
Despite his fast-growing customer base, Daniel still finds that most of his regular and loyal customers are from the Merseyside area, he puts this down to the fact that “they love the products but they also love the idea of a local start-up”.

With no previous experience in the business world, Daniel admits that starting a business of his own presented its fair share of stress and challenges – with plenty of lessons along the way! Not to mention the daunting task of tackling EU legislation to ensure his product was safe for sale. Months of meticulous online research led Daniel to Liverpool Library’s Business & Intellectual Property Centre, where he discovered the work of The Women’s Organisation and its Enterprise Hub programme.

Founder and Managing Director, Daniel Bridges
Balancing his busy new workload between being a dad to son Henry, his bar and restaurant work, as well as perfecting his business model, Daniel decided to take advantage of Enterprise Hub’s ‘Boost Your New Business’ programme to take time out from his busy schedule and reflect on where his business is going.
Getting his business structure just right was one of the major challenges for Daniel, but what did he take away from the course? “The Business Model Canvas had to be the main point for myself. It not only made me take a step back and plan again - we need to be constantly revisiting what we have previously put in place to see if it’s still relevant - but it also helped me to realise planning is key in all aspects of starting a business.

“I found the most help was bringing me back down to earth and making sure that the basics and fundamentals were covered and in place. Starting a new venture can get very exciting and you can get carried away with ideas and plans, forgetting to build a solid structure for all this to actually stand a chance of working”.

So, how is Daniel managing to fit it all in? It sounds like his support network and family are the key to his success. He says: “Other than juggling the 20/30 hats that a founder has to wear daily when starting a business, I am a father to the most wonderful boy Henry and fiancĂ© to my rock. Both of us not coming from Liverpool, we have no family here and work full time, so we have had to juggle between us parenthood and starting a business, but I personally feel that I am now art of the most amazing team I’ll ever be part of.”

Any parting words of wisdom for those wanting to take the plunge to set up their own business? “Don’t be scared, it is going to be the hardest choice you have ever made, but you are going to love it! Don’t become a perfectionist as you will just waste time trying to create something in YOUR mind that is never going to be perfect and you will miss out on so much. But mainly, buckle up tightly as this will be the craziest ride you have ever gone on!”

To find out more about The British Bearded Baby, you can contact or visit

You can also find them on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

If you’ve been inspired by Daniel’s story and would like to see how Enterprise Hub can help you boost your new business, then get in touch with us. Email or ring us on 0151 706 8111.