Q&A: What is The Women’s Organisation and what does it do?

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Every so often, we shine a light on one of the Local Growth Hub brokers to provide a glimpse into what they do and what makes them different. In this spotlight, we talk to Lucy Cashman, engagement and marketing officer at The Women’s Organisation

LGH: What distinguishes The Women’s Organisation from other brokers in the Liverpool City Region?

LC: At The Women’s Organisation, we enable women to access the funding and facilities, experience and expertise that they need to succeed. Our mission is to ensure that women have a voice at the highest level in business, community and the wider world. We work to challenge and change the underrepresentation of female-owned businesses and we are extremely proud of the impact we have had on the Liverpool City Region.

What type of businesses do you work with in particular?

We support individuals at every stage of their business journey. From that initial lightbulb moment, our expert team of business advisers are on hand to offer advice and support in turning that idea into a reality.

We have a new programme called ‘Boost Your New Business’, which supports businesses that have been registered for under a year to not only survive, but thrive. The two-day interactive programme enables those who are recently self-employed to review their business plan, assess their marketing strategy and set out clear goals to move their business forward. This programme is also open to men.

Our growth programme ‘New Markets 2’ is for businesses a little further down the line who have plans for expansion; taking on new staff or new premises, developing new product lines or offering new services. Our innovative business growth programme enables local women-led businesses to innovate, diversify and grow whilst creating new jobs in Liverpool City Region.

In terms of sustaining a business, we offer extensive digital training classes that enable those who own a business to master their marketing strategies. As well as this, we believe that networking is one of the most effective tools for growing a business. Therefore, we run an exclusive women’s Business Club with monthly events offering clients and colleagues the opportunity to build their brand and forge new relationships.

How do you go about connecting businesses to support?

We connect businesses to support through a variety of ways, including engagement, marketing and PR. We have a dedicated team of marketing and engagement officers, who converse with clients and inform the public about our services and support. We run regular Business Start-Up Conferences open to both men and women who are thinking about moving into self-employment and would like to know more about what free support is on offer from Enterprise Hub.

As well as this, people can keep posted with our services and events through our website, blog, national Twitter feed, Liverpool Twitter feed and Facebook page.

What distinguishes you by the support you provide to businesses?

The Women’s Organisation empowers women to see their true potential and provide the support needed to really achieve. We seek to level the playing field and equal the opportunities available. As well as this, our services are tailored to support women at all levels, whether that’s personal development or through extensive business support.

Can you provide some success story examples of connecting businesses to support?

Caz contacted us nearly 10 years ago to access advice and support for a business idea she had; ‘a deli and coffee shop in the local community’. Setting up ‘Caz’s Kitchen’, Caz’s business went from strength to strength and she began looking for premises. She contacted The Women’s Organisation and gained support through the New Markets 2 programme working alongside our growth Business Adviser, Claire Pedersen. Claire said: ‘When I met Caz her business was doing really well, but she was still running as a sole trader. She needed to professionalise her systems and image and bring it all band up to date with where she is currently with her business. She also wanted to grow and expand the wholesale side of her business. We developed a strategy for growth starting with updating and formalising some current systems, looking a timeline for a rebrand and a new website to be built.’

You can read the full story about Caz on our blog.

How do you expect to see the growth business environment develop over time?

More and more people are looking at self-employment as a viable career-option. As businesses continue to develop and grow, we hope to see more people accessing our growth services. We will continue to shout about the successes of our clients and hope that this will inspire others into seeking business support.

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