Women’s Organisation in Euro top three for start-up support

Liverpool-based The Women’s Organisation is named as one of the best in Europe for promoting entrepreneurship after helping to create more than 4,000 businesses. Tony McDonough reports

Lisa McMullan
Lisa McMullan, director for development and consultancy at The Women’s Organisation


Liverpool social enterprise The Women’s Organisation has been named as one of the top three projects in Europe for supporting and nurturing entrepreneurs.

Its work in supporting more than 70,000 women from diverse communities to take a more active role in social and economic life, and helping to create more than 4,000 businesses, has been recognised by the European Network of Innovation for Inclusion.

It considered 60 projects and approaches across Europe and placed The Women’s Organisation in its top three. It was invited to apply as part of the network’s annual call for good practices in the fields of innovation, inclusive employment and entrepreneurship.

Set up as Train 2000 in 1996, the Baltic Triangle-based Women’s Organisation, now delivers a broad range of personal development, education and business support programmes aimed at helping women to become more economically active and personally fulfilled.

And through its management of the Liverpool City Region Enterprise Hub and Excelerate Labs in Greater Manchester it supports and nurture both male and female fledgling entrepreneurs.

In July it was revealed that both projects had helped catapult the North West into a global top 10 for start-up and scale-up business support. Research by Startup Genome – 2020 Global Startup Ecosystem Report – has ranked the combined North West powerhouse of Liverpool and Manchester ninth in the world.

The European Network of Innovation for Inclusion judged entries in four areas: Innovation, inspiration, impact, and inclusion. It looked for evidence of answering new challenges using new methodologies and approaches, a willingness to improve and develop through alliances, the ability to cause changes in people and society, and promote the inclusion of people at risk of social exclusion.

The Women’sOrganisation explained how, since it was established, it had targeted women, in particular, who were socially and economically disadvantaged, and provided support services for women and under-represented groups in creating and growing their own businesses.

Lisa McMullan, the organisation’s director for development and consultancy, said: “It is a hugely significant accolade to be selected as a best practice example of inclusive entrepreneurship at European level and one that we are incredibly proud of.

54 St James Street
54 St James Street, headquarters of The Women’s Organisation


“To be hand-selected from more than 60 approaches from across Europe is testament to our values-driven approach to developing, designing and delivering services. Our commitment to inclusion and innovation means that we have been able to make a difference to tens of thousands of individuals over the last 24 years.”

Through its 54 St James Street headquarters, which was established as an international centre for women’s economic development – a worldwide first – The Women’s Organisation also provides business incubation facilities for start-up ventures which are then supported to scale-up.

Another key enabler for the organisation is its ability to work closely with leading academics, thinkers and influencers to inform policy development and improve the wider environment for women entrepreneurs.

As part of the process, the finalists will share their winning methods and strategies with a Europe-wide community. For The Women’s Organisation this will include a presentation and tour – physical or virtual – of its headquarters, the opportunity to meet some of the women they have worked with for them to share their stories.

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