Enterprise Hub aims to accelerate growth of Mersey start-up firms

New data shows surge in the number of Liverpool city region start-ups and Start up and Grow Week  being held in September will look to inspire even more entrepreneurs

Community, cooperation
Start Up and Grow Week will offer invaluable help for Liverpool city region entrepreneurs


New figures show 11,451 new businesses were started across the Liverpool city region in 2018 – a 3.9% rise and a week-long series of events in September aims to inspire even more.

The data from the Inform Direct Review of UK Company Formations shows the total number of registered companies in the Liverpool city region now stands at 65,551.

However, the early months and years of a young start-up company are critical to its survival, so it is absolutely essential that fledgling ventures get the very best support and advice available in those crucial early days of striking out and trying to make a go of it.

Support network

One of the most established, and trusted, support networks currently working across the Liverpool City Region is Enterprise Hub.

Part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), the initiative can call on the expertise and skills of a wide range of organisations from within the six boroughs of the Liverpool city region.

To date, Enterprise Hub has supported more than 6,000 residents from the Liverpool city region to develop their enterprise skills, and it has helped launch in excess of 1,000 new businesses as a result.

Having received further funding, from November 2018 to continue and grow the programme, it aims to support a further 1,000 residents and offer tailored business growth support to more than 500 early stage businesses.

Series of events

As part of this strategy the Enterprise Hub team has developed a series of events running throughout next month that will not only help people to start up a business idea, but to grow, and establish a new business.

This reflects the expansion of the Enterprise Hub programme which can now support businesses from concept to their 42nd month – the vital three-and-a-half-year period when start-ups are prone to failure.

The Start up and Grow Week will run from September 16-20 and will offer a series of workshops, networking opportunities with like-minded and successful entrepreneurs, and talks to develop enterprising skills and support new businesses to grow.

Due to ERDF support, all of the events will be free to access.

Planning the five-day support programme for Liverpool city region SMEs is still under way, but among events already confirmed are: 

  • Business Start-up Conference at Liverpool Central Library Business and IP Centre, September 19, 10am-1pm. Speakers announced so far are Claire Morton of Ell & Dee Consultancy who was recently named as Merseyside Woman of the Year’s Entrepreneur of the Year, and digital guru Ruth Hartnoll from JnR Agency who has grown her business since launching with Enterprise Hub and is currently recruiting for her second full-time member of staff.
  • Facebook Digital Skills Session with Extraordinary Club at Liverpool Central Library Business and IP Centre, September 19, 2.30-4pm. This session is aimed at exploring building a web presence and developing the all-important social media skills as part of the The Digital Skills Programme – a Europe-wide initiative led by technology giant Facebook to help develop the confidence and skills for employment in the digital economy, helping students, people and businesses, alike, to stay ahead of the curve and upskill themselves for any point in their education or careers.
  • A Beginner’s Guide to GDPR and Information Security workshop with Wirral Chamber of Commerce, September 20, 9.30am-12.30pm.

Events may carry an eligibility criteria and booking will be essential, but, as usual, individuals or businesses looking for more advice and support can contact the Enterprise team to find out more details via: 0151-706 8133 or at  enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

The full ‘Start up and Grow Week’ programme will be announced by the end of August via: https://enterprisehubuk.blogspot.com/ or you can follow progress on @MerseyEntHub on Twitter and facebook to keep in touch with plans.

Maggie O'Carroll
Maggie O’Carroll, founder and chief executive of The Women’s Organisation


Hub partners

Partners involved in Enterprise Hub, and therefore ‘Start up and Grow Week’ are lead partner, The Women’s Organisation, Granby Toxteth Development Trust, Everton Development Trust, Merseyside Expanding Horizons, Prince’s Trust, Wirral Chamber of Commerce, St Helens Chamber, SAFE Regeneration, Writing on the Wall, Liverpool Central Library Business and IP Centre, and Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service. 

Strategic partners who will be supporting the promotion of ‘Start up and Grow Week’, to ensure widening participation, are Merseycare NHS Trust, Plus Dane Housing and Torus Foundation, the charitable arm of Torus, the North West’s largest affordable homes provider, with operations in Liverpool, Warrington and St Helens.

Social wellbeing

Maggie O’Carroll is co-founder and chief executive of Enterprise Hub lead partner, The Women’s Organisation, which, since setting up in 1996 as Train 2000, has helped more than 50,000 women, assisted in the creation of thousands of new businesses and jobs, and enabled women, and men, from disadvantaged communities to start their journey towards improved personal economic and social wellbeing.

Maggie said: “Having the courage to take those first steps in setting up a small business can be the biggest hurdle of all to overcome.

“Over the past 23 years we have seen an incredible array of talented, brave, and resourceful small business owners who have just needed that vital encouragement to help them strike out and make a real go of it.

“They have fashioned truly amazing businesses, of all shapes and sizes, as, first, they establish themselves, before then moving on to scale their ideas to become a commercial enterprise of real substance which not only sustains itself, but eventually grows to support other jobs, and like-minded business partners.

“And, fundamental to all that, is the value that business experience, support and insight can bring to these new, up-and-coming ventures, to ensure they avoid the pitfalls that so many ambitious entrepreneurs can, unfortunately, suffer without the guidance of something like Enterprise Hub.”

She added: “The whole point of our September ‘Start up and Grow Week’ is to ensure that as many fledgling entrepreneurs as possible get the best advice and support so that they can navigate those tricky early years to become a positive statistic among our business start-ups.”

Liverpool Central Library
Richard Horrocks, a specialist officer at Liverpool Central Library


Library sessions

Liverpool Central Library Business and IP Centre runs regular weekly sessions for ambitious small businesses featuring a variety of mentors, including Cllr Gary Millar, a successful businessman in his own right, as well as deputy Mayor of Liverpool and Mayoral Lead-Business Economy & Skills.

Richard Horrocks, a specialist officer at Liverpool Central Library, which will be hosting a start-up conference as part of the week, says: “We offer expert guidance from advisors such as our Entrepreneur In Residence Gary Millar and his team of volunteer mentors. 

We also provide market research and company information databases such as Mintel, IBISWorld, FAME and Kompass.  These can help new business founders to understand their potential markets and develop their business plans.  The free workshops that we run explain how Intellectual Property adds value to new businesses, too, through trade marks, patents and registered designs. Last year over 1,000 people attended the Centre for events and one-to-meetings.

“We’re delighted to be hosting the Enterprise Hub’s Business Start-Up Conference and Facebook Digital Skills Session as part of Start-up and grow week.  We know from our users’ feedback just how popular Enterprise Hub events such as these are and how useful attendees find them in providing inspiration and great advice.”

Enterprise Hub offers fully-funded support to those starting or growing a business, up to their third year of trading in the Liverpool City Region, to apply for finance to start and grow. 

The programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, but free to access and will help local people to understand the funding landscape, develop their business plan and application, and support them through the process.

For more information contact the team on: 0151-706 8133 or at  enterprisehub@thewo.org.uk

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