Tuesday, 29 September 2020

Entrepreneurship - Alive and Well During Covid-19

I’m sure everyone would agree that the ongoing Covid-19 crisis has been a huge challenge for all of us.  But how has it affected entrepreneurs, not to mention start-ups and young businesses?
Paul Rittenberg from Wirral Chamber of Commerce shares his experience of working with inspiration businesses over the last couple of months...

There’s an old saying that “necessity is the mother of invention” and this is certainly true for those starting and running a new business.  However, with the added complication of a global pandemic, this has stretched even the most resolute of souls during the last few months.
However, having worked in the business support sector for many years, it still amazes me how the human spirit can triumph over adversity, whether it be by adapting a current service or product offer, or just by doing things differently.  The capacity for humans to be able to reinvent themselves and ‘shape-change’ and be ‘chameleonesque’ in response to an ever-changing environment is something we sometimes take for granted.
For example, at the very beginning of the crisis, one of our new Enterprise Hub start-up businesses put out an online ‘call to action’ for people to pre-order her brand-new product range at an early-bird discount but tied it into a crowd-funding opportunity to give her pre-start business a much-needed financial boost before she could physically open her doors.
But does it have to be something innovative or can it be just a simple ‘tweak’ of a business offer to meet a change in demand?  Another of our Enterprise Hub clients was looking to offer his transportation service to a particular target market. However, Covid-19 put paid to that and so he just …. well changed his target market!  Same vehicle, different client group, money coming in.
I’ve been particularly impressed by how the restaurant and pub trade have adapted their services.  Click and collect, delivery services and innovative seating arrangements have all been simple but effective ways to keep the tills ringing, their business going and their sanity intact!
And then there are those businesses which have adapted their services to an online platform such as tutors/life coaches/yoga classes – an adaptation which has taken people out of their comfort zone but opened up a whole new world of opportunities and clients which will remain long after Covid-19 has disappeared.
And then there are those businesses which have suffered, been allowed to eventually re-open under restricted conditions, but have then managed to prosper by following the guidelines and going the extra mile for the customers.  I’m reminded of a local barber who cut a colleague’s hair.  He had a mask on, a visor, wipes outside, wipes inside.  The place was spotless and appointments could only be pre-booked.  My colleague said it felt as safe as being in his own home.  So sometimes, just a little change in the way we do things, thinking about others and going the extra mile is all it needs to develop a best practice model for these unprecedented times.
Sometimes it can be the little changes that make the difference.  British cycling owes a lot of its success to ‘marginal gains.’  Maybe you could too.
If you have a business within the Liverpool City Region and you're looking to grow - we can help! get in touch with us on Enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk to find out more

Thursday, 24 September 2020

Elsie Hayford tackles injustices in health systems with her business Lamèsè

Born in Russia, raised in Ghana and Liverpool, Elsie Hayford has experienced the best and worst of health systems. Whilst completing law studies at the University of Liverpool, she developed a passion for global health which eventually led her to obtain a Master of Laws in Global Health Law from Georgetown University, Washington DC.

Eagar to expend her legal skills to strengthen health systems and bridge the health equity gap in developing countries, Elsie launched Lamèsè’ in 2019 - a global health firm that works to restore accountability and tackle injustices within health systems globally.

It was during an event hosted by The Women’s Organisation over 10 years ago that Elsie first thought about setting up her own business. With little legal work experience at the time and almost no savings, she told herself that she would not be qualified enough to run a business – this was until she met with Senior Business Adviser, Huda Mamoun many years later.

Attending 1-2-1 meetings with Huda, she was able to start pulling together a plan of action of what she wanted her business to look like:

“My business adviser Huda was a big help in pointing me to the right resources, she was also able to connect me with other woman who were on the same journey as me”

“I found the training courses particularly useful – they broadened my perspective of running a business, gave me solid concrete information about legalities involved and simplified otherwise complex concepts”

Starting off self-employed  – Elsie secured several consulting contracts from health companies such as Livful Inc, and global health organisations such as The Global Health Advocacy Incubator & The O’Neill Institute of National and Global Health Law where she worked on WHO, Lancet and Global Health Security Agenda projects – many of which included analysing and drafting health legislation for countries.

The business transitioned into a Limited Company in 2019, with the very fitting name ‘Lamèsè’ translating to Good Health in native Ghanaian Language, Ewe. Elsie is the sole director of Lamèsè Ltd in the UK and has a subsidiary company set up in Ghana where she works with 3 other partners. In Ghana, their current work focuses on improving maternal healthcare with the goal of reducing deaths due to medical/and or systemic errors.

Elsie’s position as a Global Health Lawyer and Consultant became even more valuable this year with the COVID-19 outbreak. Her business was able to secure a contract with US global health organisation, Vital Strategies to provide support as part of a Global COVID legal response team - leading the work on legal protections for healthcare workers and the legal infrastructure required for emergency healthcare delivery globally – this involves advising ministry of health lawyers and writing guidelines for national policy makers.

With the business already supporting global organisations, what will be the next step?

“Once we complete our contract, I hope to use my skills to tackle healthcare issues within the UK’s foster care system. I’m excited about the future and very pleased with the support I have gained from The Women’s Organisation.”

“I don’t intend to return to a traditional 9-5 role anymore. The future will see us expand the business and come a relevant voice within the health policy space in the UK and beyond”

To find out more about Elsie and her business Lamèsè, you can find her on Twitter using @EEhayford and @lameseCS

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

Get in touch if you are 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 enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk or 0151 706 8113.