Enterprise Hub

Posted 22nd May 2017
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Project Name: Enterprise Hub
Lead Organisation: City of Liverpool College
ERDF value: £4,631,302
Duration: Dec 2015 – Nov 2018
Contact: Helen Millne hello@thewo.org.uk
Website: www.thewomensorganisation.org.uk/projects-and-partnerships/enterprisehub

Project summary

Enterprise Hub coordinates and simplifies the business start-up support available across Liverpool City Region, working to support men and women in Liverpool, Sefton, Knowsley, Wirral, St Helens and Halton to explore their business ideas and prepare them to get started.

The project supports individuals across the City Region to develop their enterprise skills in the pre-start up stage of their businesses, providing advice and guidance, one to one support, training and access to resources and networks.

Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Organisation, who are the managing agents of Enterprise Hub said; ‘The creation of new businesses is vital to keep our local and national economy afloat. The Enterprise Hub partnership brings together organisations with a variety of expertise ensuring that those interested in getting advice can link with experts who can offer them quality services. We urge anyone who has any idea for a business to get in touch and let Enterprise Hub guide you to getting started.’

Elaine Bowker, Principal and Chief Executive of The City of Liverpool College who are the accountable body for Enterprise Hub, said: “Start-up businesses are an essential economic driver for the region and a vibrant entrepreneurial sector is a key indicator of a healthy regional economy.

“We have long supported future entrepreneurs at The City of Liverpool College and we already work in partnership with The Women’s Organisation to offer student enterprise services, where students with business ideas can access support and advice to set up their own companies.”

Enterprise Hub launched in December 2015 and has a target of supporting more than 6000 entrepreneurs up to November 2018 with the creation of 1200 businesses. By June 2016 more than 1,600 individuals had signed up to Enterprise Hub with around 600 of those receiving 12 hours of intensive business support.

Irene Afful was among the first cohort of Enterprise Hub business start-ups. A trained mediator, Irene has drawn on 30 years’ experience, including 25 years in the Police service, to set up Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, which aims to advise on diversity strategies and address the under-representation of minority groups at levels within organisations.

Former Detective Inspector Irene, who was the first black female Inspector within the Merseyside Police, will also offer personal life coaching and performance coaching for employees. She said; ‘The support from Enterprise Hub was really supportive, motivating and knowledgeable about the many aspects of starting a business. The advice and support was invaluable in giving me the confidence to do what I have always wanted to do.’

‘I am very proud of myself. I know I am capable of doing anything I set my mind to. I am a passionate and determined woman, and my confidence has grown immensely since embarking on this adventure.’


The organisations offering business start-up services under Enterprise Hub include; Alt Valley Community Trust, Everton Development Trust, Granby Toxteth Development Trust, Merseyside Expanding Horizons, Princes Trust, Franchising Works, Safe Regeneration, St Helen’s Chamber, Wirral Chamber of Commerce and The Women’s Organisation, who are acting as the managing agent for the project. Strategic support comes from Liverpool Central Library Business & IP Centre, Liverpool Mutual Homes, Person Shaped Support and South Liverpool Housing. The City of Liverpool College are the accountable body for Enterprise Hub

Key Outputs / Results
2,320 Entrepreneurs assisted to be enterprise ready.

Beneficiary Experiences




For Irene Afful, Perseverance Is Her Business Motto!

Irene Afful is a woman with a whole lot of experience! All of which she is using and utilising as she launches herself into the world of self-employment with her business; Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, which could be described as a coaching and consultancy business, but is so much more than just that!

Irene has 30 years’ experience working in public sector organisations, including 25 years with the Police Service. She has worked on a national platform advancing the leadership, equality and diversity agenda and has amassed a wealth of experience, qualifications and skills along the way!

As well as this she is a trained mediator with over 12 years’ experience managing workplace disputes. She also designed and led the Phoenix Leadership Programme, a positive action initiative which successfully targeted the recruitment of under-represented groups within Merseyside Police, was nominated and shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards 2016 in the category of Female Role Model AND Irene has a Master’s Degree in Police Leadership, specialising in organisational culture, equality and diversity! Now that is one impressive business owner!

Irene’s business, Ametrine Enterprise Solutions aims to advise on diversity strategies and addressing the underrepresentation of minority groups at all levels of organisations. As well as this, Irene will also offer personal life coaching and performance coaching for employees, and mediation services too!

Prior to starting her own business Irene was a Detective Inspector for Merseyside Police and was the first black, female Inspector in the history of this organisation. But she had always had ambitions to work for herself; ‘I have always worked in the public sector and have had to answer to a supervisor or manager. I wanted to only answer to myself and choose my own hours so I could spend quality time with my son. I also wanted to prove to myself that I can do this and make it a success.’

So Irene got in touch with Enterprise Hub partner; The Women’s Organisation and began working closely with our Business Adviser Francine Taylor to get Ametrine Enterprise Solutions off the ground! ‘I found the idea of writing a business plan really daunting! However after speaking to Francine I realised that it wasn’t that complicated and I was able to complete one! Francine was really supportive, motivating and knowledgeable about the many aspects of starting your own business. Her advice and support was invaluable in giving me the confidence to do what I have always wanted to do!’

But of course, starting your own business isn’t plain sailing! And Irene found herself with a lot on her plate at the start of her journey; ‘I am a single mum to a very active 8 year old boy so juggling his needs with my volunteering roles as well as full time work was challenging to say the least!’

‘I was planning on starting my business when I left my full time role with Merseyside Police. To this I set myself goals for what I wanted to achieve and by what date and also made lists daily! I didn’t always reach my targets in the time I’d set – but that’s life!’

Now Irene has just launched her business with Ametrine Enterprise Solutions opening on September 5th and although it is early days she has already had interest in her services! And it’s clear that for Irene, the best thing about running her own business is having that flexibility that she had always wanted! ‘I love being my own boss; it’s great that I am now able to take time off if I need to without having to apply for it.’

And how does Irene feel about what she has achieved so far? ‘I’m very proud of myself; I know I am capable of doing anything I can set my mind to. I am a passionate and determined women and my confidence has grown immensely since embarking on this adventure. My motto is – ‘Your perseverance is your measure of your belief in yourself’ – Keep persevering!’

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Jim Gale Kicked Off 2017 With His Business Launch; Nutri-iQ

Local man Jim Gale has kicked off the New Year by launching his new online software Nutri-iQ, a bespoke piece of software designed to be used by Personal trainers (PTs) and nutrition coaches to write meal plans for their clients.

Nutri-iQ is a web based nutrition plan development tool that provides an efficient and easy to use platform where personal trainers will be able to create full comprehensive meal plans for their clients in a fraction of the time that it would take to be written manually and with twice the precision.

Jim says “Nutri-iQ will provide professionals within the health and fitness industry with the tool to improve their clients' overall well-being and the website will allow all ‘fitness professionals’ to create comprehensive and in depth nutrition plans in a fast and informative manner”

Jim first approached Enterprise Hub partner; Alt Valley Community Trust in April last year with the possibility of helping him put his Business Plan together with a view to submitting a Start Up Loan application to Start Up Direct

Nutri-iQ is a membership based website taking monthly subscriptions on various membership types. The company also aspires to create partnerships affiliations with leading training providers in the fitness industry.

“My perspective from first-hand experience will also allow Nutri-iQ to market its product at the correct sector in the correct way. I understand what a trainer would want to see from such a product and can therefore present it to the market in such a way that they immediately understand why a membership will be an investment as opposed to an expense” said Jim.

Jim who holds an MSc (Hons) in Sports coaching has worked as a Personal Trainer himself for the last three years decided to set up his own limited company which he did with the help of Alt Valley Community trust (AVCT) in September last year.

Through a combination of specific workshops which covered the Start Up process, digital marketing, including Search Engine Optimisation and Business Planning, as well as several bespoke one-to-one sessions, the Advisors at Alt Valley Trust have helped Jim with his successful application for the necessary Start Up Loan funding, via the Start-up Loan Company.

Alt Valley Trust are one of the delivery Partners of the Enterprise Hub Business Start Up programme covering the whole Liverpool City Region.

Jim praises the contribution of the Alt Valley Business Support Team:

“Alt Valley took all of the disorganised craziness in my head and helped me to organise it into an actionable plan with the workshop events and one-to-ones: I was able to get funded and starting planning the actual business”.

Alt Valley Business Advisors John Mathias worked with Jim. John adds:

“I was impressed with Jim not only did he have a great idea but also the enthusiasm, drive and attitude to take the idea forward. It was great to see Jim develop his business idea and bring it to fruition, it’s a great concept and Jim has already made significant headway setting up his business and launching Nutri-IQ. Jim was able to modify his Business Plan and Cash Flow forecast resulting in a successful Start Up Loan application. In addition we were able to provide as much knowledge and information as he needed in order to ensure his business gets off to a great start.”

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