Based in Liverpool’s Baltic Triangle, The Women’s Organisation is recognised as one of the top 1% of social enterprises in the UK and has played a critical role during the coronavirus crisis. Tony McDonough reports
Liverpool social enterprise The Women’s Organisation has given assistance to more than 2,000 entrepreneurs during the coronavirus crisis.
Based in the city’s Baltic Triangle, just outside the city centre, the award-winning organisation has also taken on more than 160 new clients over the last few months and delivered more than 40 training courses, events and webinars.
In May, The Women’s Organisation was named as being in the top 1% of social enterprises in the UK in the NatWest SE100 Index, along with three other Merseyside organisations.
Since it was established in 1996, originally as Train 2000, The Women’s Organisation has helped more than 60,000 women to create, or improve, their own businesses. It is also currently the lead agency for the successful Liverpool City region Enterprise Hub start-up support project.
And, during the COVID-19 lockdown, it has helped lead a successful push to persuade the Government to extend its coronavirus businesses support scheme to those enterprises that had fallen through the gaps.
Since the crisis began in March, The Women’s Organisation has held more than 550 virtual business advice appointments, helping women across the city region to sustain or grow their businesses. More than 700 people have taken part in its online sessions.
In May, LBN outlined how the organisation had stepped up its efforts to support women entrepreneurs during the COVID-19 crisis, offering advice, training, one-to-one advice sessions and “rapid response” webinars both through the Enterprise Hub programme and through its own projects.
Chief executive Maggie O’Carroll said: “By the end of March large parts of the Liverpool city region economy were shutting down, but we remained very much open for business and resolved to provide a lifeline for local entrepreneurs.
“We live in a city region where people were already having to demonstrate extraordinary resilience in the face of a decade of austerity. Economic hardship and the subsequent impact on public health was already a huge issue for Merseyside even before the COVID-19 epidemic appeared.
“Coronavirus has posed new threats to both our health and our economic wellbeing, with women too often bearing the brunt, and yet people across the city region continue to show strength and resilience. And they need our support.
“We at The Women’s Organisation will continue to offer that day-to-day practical support and will step up our efforts to push for the fundamental changes to public policy that we believe are essential in a fully-inclusive society where no one is left behind.”