Liverpool’s Maggie O’Carroll named as one of the UK’s most influential social enterprise leaders

Ms O’Carroll is chief executive of The Women’s Organisation and is in the first WISE100 (Women in Social Enterprise), along with Lisa Greenhalgh, CEO of MSIF. Neil Hodgson reports

The Women’s Organisation chief executive, Maggie O’Carroll


Liverpool business leader Maggie O’Carroll has been named as one of the 100 most influential people in the UK’s social enterprise sector.

The chief executive of The Women’s Organisation is in the first WISE100 (Women in Social Enterprise). Lisa Greenhalgh, chief executive of Liverpool business loan and equity provider, MSIF, is also on the list.

Organisers conferred a further honour on Ms O’Carroll by including her in the Spotlight 10, the top 10 echelon of the WISE100 initiative which aims to recognise the impact these extraordinary 100 female entrepreneurs have on social enterprise and social innovation.

The WISE100 is part of NatWest bank’s existing SE100 Index, the UK’s leading source of market intelligence on social enterprise, and has been launched as an annual celebration of the inspirational women in social enterprise.

In the UK 40% of social enterprises are led by women, compared with just 6% of the companies on the FTSE100 Index.

Entries opened for the WISE100 on March 8, International Women’s Day, and a panel of industry leaders considered more than 250 contenders before announcing their top 100, based on how inspiring, or impactful, they have been in their role.

MSIF chief executive Lisa Greenhalgh


Maggie O’Carroll co-founded The Women’s Organisation, originally called Train 2000, in Liverpool in 1996.

Since then she has seen it developed into the UK’s largest female enterprise agency, based in its purpose-built St James Street headquarters and business incubator.

So far it has helped more than 50,000 women to create, or improve, their own businesses by providing a range of services focused on supporting women to start and develop small and medium-sized enterprises.

Ms O’Carroll said: “The WISE list is a welcome imitative and plays an important part in highlighting the huge economic and social contribution that social enterprises make to the UK economy.

“It crucially highlights the role of women as social entrepreneurs, who are creating and leading social businesses that are successfully trading with a social purpose.”

Prior to joining MSIF, formerly known as Merseyside Special Investment Fund,  in 2003, Ms Greenhalgh worked with global giant Fujitsu where she headed up the finance function of a subsidiary – Multivendor Computing Division-Nordic, which had a turnover of £180m.

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