Friday 20 September 2019

Grow & Thrive Business Masterclass Series - for women with a business ready for serious growth 📈

We're excited to announce a brand new series of business masterclasses, designed especially to support women with high-growth businesses. 

Delivered by our partners at The Women's Organisation, this series of expert-led training sessions has been developed to support women-led businesses with high growth ambitions.

Two fully-funded sessions will be happening throughout October, covering topics including taking on staff as well as developing your sales and marketing strategy.

Come to one, or join us for all three!

**This training is fully-funded under the Enterprise Hub programme for female-led businesses under 42 months in the Liverpool City Region. Please see below to find out if this training is right for you at this stage** 

The sessions are:

When & How to Take on Staff

Tuesday 8th October, 10am - 1pm, at 54 St James Street (L1 0AB).

If you're ready to take on staff to help support your next phase of business growth, then this session will equip you with the skills and practical knowledge to do so. You'll also be able to hear from local entrepreneurs who have done it.

What is covered in the session?

Local entrepreneur Anna Slater, founder of North West Linen Services, will be sharing her journey and experiences of taking on staff for the first time. From tackling imposter syndrome, the importance of mapping out affordability and strategy, to becoming the employer of 26 staff members.

Expert recruitment consultant, Elaine Courtney, founder of  Courtney Recruitment, will be on hand to help you understand the main stages of recruitment and how to find the right people for your team.

Enterprise Hub business expert, Bernie Cox, will guide you through the legalities and practicalities of taking on staff. From liability insurance, to setting up a payroll and arranging new employee inductions.

Visit the Eventbrite page here.

Master your Sales & Marketing strategy

Wednesday 16th October, 10am - 1pm, at 54 St James Street (L1 0AB).

If you're ready to take your business into an exciting new phase of growth, then a watertight sales and marketing strategy is vital to building valuable and lasting customer relationships which translate into sales. This expert-led training session will equip you with the skills and practical knowledge you need to master your sales and marketing strategy.

What is covered in the session?

Be Your Brand
Nailing your brand is vital to building valuable relationships with your target market. This session will help you understand how to build your brand persona with confidence. Sue Kelbrick from Wigwam Coffee Shop will be joining us to share her experience of developing their business story to grow their business.

How to set & reach your sales goals with Claire Philliskirk
Experienced Sales Leader Claire Philliskirk (Winner of European Women in Tech Sales Europe 2016) will be on hand to tell you how to set and reach your sales goals. From setting realistic SMART targets, to implementing your sales strategy and monitoring your progress - learn the tools for a winning strategy.

Personal Growth & People Performace with Nikki Cross
People performance expert Nikki Cross will be sharing the importance of aligning your strategic goals with the goals of your team, offering a "how to" guide to setting a people performance strategy which effectively develops your people and grows your business.

Visit the Eventbrite page here.

Is this training for me?

  • Are you a woman-led business registered in the Liverpool City Region?
  • Have you been trading for under 42 months?
  • Do you have high-growth ambitions?
  • Are you looking to further grow your business turnover?
  • Do you already, or are you thinking about taking on staff?

Then this training is ideal for you! These sessions aim to equip you with the practical skills and knowledge to lead your business into its new stage of growth. 

If you'd like to book onto any, or both, of these sessions then please get in touch with our team. You can reach us on 0151 706 8113, or e-mail

Thursday 12 September 2019

Case Study: Breaking down barriers with Helen Clarke Autism

Helen Clarke Autism is a specialist autism training and consultancy service, dedicated to improving the lives of autistic children, in particular autistic girls. With support from the Enterprise Hub programme, Helen is taking her business from strength to strength.

Helen provides educational and consultancy services for schools, parents, health services and other organisations that support autistic children.

As an autistic woman herself and having previously worked with autistic children for over twenty years as an Art and Design teacher, Helen is passionate about sharing her own life journey to improve the experience of others.

Her mission is now more important than ever, with recent reports suggesting that the number of autistic women and girls may have been severely underestimated due to historic gender biases.

Experts explain that early assumptions of the condition meant that it was predominantly thought to affect men, with the real ratio in fact coming in at approximately 3:1. This means that the number of girls and women with the condition has been vastly underestimated with thousands going undiagnosed.

As might be expected, this has taken its toll on the mental health of many girls and women across the country as living without a diagnosis often means that people are not accessing appropriate support in terms of health and education.

Thankfully, there is now a growing recognition of the issue and Helen is one of the professionals at the forefront of this battle to help autistic women overcome the barriers they face and improve the services available to them.

With such an important task at hand, Helen decided self-employment was the best way for her to reach and support as many girls as possible – and so she founded Helen Clarke Autism consultancy services.

Having worked with business advisor Huda Mamoun from The Women’s Organisation to start her business, Helen was able to put together a business plan and attend a range of courses to help get her started in business. After a successful start it wasn’t long before Helen needed to put a strategy for growth in place, returning for further Enterprise Hub support to help grow her young business.

She says: “I am indebted to The Women’s Organisation who have provided me with valuable support, guidance and high-quality training. I learnt an incredible amount thanks to their expertise, with specialist training covering business planning and how to set up my business, as well as useful sessions on book-keeping and marketing.

“I’ve also been very fortunate to have the guidance of my business mentor, Huda Mamoun, and have greatly benefitted from her knowledge. She has encouraged me to succeed and has believed in me from the very start, encouraging me to keep going and guiding me through the aspects of business which I found particularly difficult.”

Just one of Helen’s aims is to make sure the needs of autistic girls are better understood in schools.
Having an autistic daughter herself, Helen has experienced the education system from ‘both sides of the fence’, so she is fully aware of the issues that autistic girls face both in gaining a diagnosis and receiving an education that fully meets their needs.

She says: “Many autistic girls are labelled “school refusers” because they find it hard to cope in schools, resulting in having a poor attendance or having to drop out of school completely. I want to work with schools to help them better understand the needs of autistic children - the school system needs to change, not the autistic child.”

With a master’s degree in education, Helen is well equipped to tackle these issues first-hand.

Helen believes that autistic people possess many strengths including an ability to see the world from a different perspective and to be able to pay extraordinary attention to detail. Many autistic people are highly creative and others very logical, each being unique and individual.

“Spectacular Girls” – Helen’s series of well-being workshops – was designed to help autistic girls understand how autism might affect them as individuals, while equipping them with valuable life skills and helping to build strong, personal identities.

Helen explains how these sessions are working to improve the lives of autistic girls: “The current academic curriculum often doesn’t include many of the important topics that autistic girls need to explore, such as how autism affects them as individuals, about their own identity and about safety.

“Autistic girls are at greater risk of exploitation and abuse, according to current research in this field, and so I wanted to work directly with girls to address this concern. What’s more, adolescent girls are also most likely to self-harm and in Sefton this number is higher than nationally. I’m working to improve the mental health of girls by helping them to better understand themselves and equip them with practical strategies.”

She has also worked with organisations like The Atkinson in Southport to help promote inclusion in its services and has compiled an adapted Community and Life Skills Curriculum for autistic children.

So, how has Helen found the process of starting and growing a business?
She says: “Being autistic there are many aspects of setting up a business that have been daunting. Many autistic people have social anxiety for example, but business depends on developing contacts and networking so I’ve had to push myself far out of my comfort zone and will continue to do so.”

“There are also many positive aspects to running a business; being a role model for my daughter so she sees that even individuals can help bring about change in society, helping autistic girls to better understand themselves, improving their mental health, as well as challenging stereotypes of autism and what autistic people are capable of!”

To find out more about Helen’s consultancy services, you can visit her website at or find her on Twitter using @HelenAutism. She can also be contacted directly at

If you’ve been inspired by Helen’s story and are interested in starting or growing a business of your own, then Enterprise Hub could help!

Get in touch if you’re thinking of starting a business in the Liverpool City Region, or have a new business under three years old. You can speak to our team via or 0151 706 8113.