New Partnership: Smarta Business Starter team & Kirkby Market

Last week the Smarta Business Starter team launched a ‘Drop In’ Surgery at Kirkby Market. Mark Bingley, the market manager, is fully supportive of the work that the team are doing and would like to see more stalls within the market being fully utilised.

Each Tuesday & Friday; business advisor Caroline will be on hand to answer any queries for Knowsley residents who are in the early stages of thinking of becoming self-employed.  Caroline will be at Unit 95 from 9:30am – 3:30pm on a weekly basis.  The support offered is fully funded through the ERDF Enterprise Hub Project; providing free business start up support to residents of Merseydie 16+.  AVCT are a delivery partner on this project, which runs to December 2018.

Whilst at the market; the team met some market traders who clearly enjoy their jobs.   The team  chatted to Gill of ‘Distinct Fashion Boutique’ Unit 89, who specialises in ladies French and Italian clothing.  Gill explained how she has been a market trader for 5 years.  Prior to this she was an office worker but enjoyed fashion so much and had a real passion to begin working with the public a lot more.   She also explained how being self-employed did not limit her home life. “Being self-employed allows me the freedom to run a family; as I am my own boss; I make the rules!” 

If you are thinking of starting your own business, whether it is a sole trader, Limited Company or Social Enterprise; the Smarta Business Starter team can help.  Call Kayleigh on 0151 546 5514 or alternatively email Kayleighclarke@altvalley.co.uk

AIM Liverpool – Story of a CIC that is going from Strength to Strength!

Autism in Motion is a Community Interest Company with three founding co-directors – Joanne Galbraith, Hannah Tickle and Terri Norton.

The company has been established with one clear objective: To support and enhance the lives of families and children on the Autism Spectrum.

Hannah, Jo and Terri are all parents with autistic children and they were all too aware of the challenges that exist in accessing support and information in addition to the provision of activities to stimulate development and social interaction.

They are passionate about ensuring that other parents in a similar position and also carers can enhance their children’s lives through accessing the right educational support through working with parents who fully understand through their own personal experiences.

They decided it was important to set up an organisation in Liverpool to facilitate support, networking, activities and events to raise awareness of autism however they were unsure how to go about it.

Following a conversation with their local councillor in Norris Green, Barry Kushner, Jo Hannah and Terri met with Business Advisor Ian Marshall from Alt Valley Community Trust.

Alt Valley provides support to individuals who are looking to set up a business and need advice and guidance about the steps they need to take. This support is provided free through a programme called the Enterprise Hub which is available across Merseyside.

Following the initial meeting, the three partners were enrolled onto the programme attending workshops in addition to the one to one support from their Business Advisor.

They benefitted from Alt Valley’s workshops on subjects including ‘Starting your own Business’, ‘How to set up a social Enterprise’ ‘How to Market your Business’, ‘Social Media for Business’ and ‘Setting up a WordPress website’.

Given the community and social values, it was agreed that the business would be established as a Community Interest Company which offers a flexible approach to managing a social enterprise. In addition, such a business has the potential to apply for grant funding in order to enhance its support services.

Alt Valley assisted Jo, Hannah and Terri through the application process and ‘Autism in Motion Liverpool CIC’ was incorporated in January 2017.

They are delighted with the support they have received from Alt Valley Community Trust which has helped them access grant funding through the National Lottery’s ‘Unlimited’ fund in addition to other sources.

The company is now renting office space and continues to grow through enhanced activities for children, presentations and events for parents and carers.

On Sunday 2nd April – World Autism Day – the directors organised an event in Norris Green Park which was a huge success. The aim was to raise awareness of autism through providing information and partnering with other organisations to enhance health and wellbeing.

There was also entertainment, craft and gift stalls and it was very well attended exceeding all expectations!

Hannah says “We started Autism in Motion because we realised through our own experience that there was very little support for families like our own in the north part of the city. We began with monthly coffee mornings for parents and occasional activities to engage with the whole family. 6 months later demands of the business mean that we have now increased our parent meetings to twice a month with guest speakers, specialist courses and activities for the children and their siblings 6 days a week. It is amazing!!”

Terri says “We were looking for a way that we could bring all of the specialist services together in one place for our families to be able to access the support that they may need. From this idea ‘picnic in the park’ was born. We liaised with local and more experienced community groups, councillors and council officers to hold an Autism awareness event in Norris green park on April 2nd to celebrate world autism day. The event was a huge success with more than 500 people from the local and wider community joining us for a fabulous day. We were completely overwhelmed by the turnout.”

Joanne says “I can’t believe how far we’ve come already, when we first met Ian we were just a couple of mums with a vague idea of what we wanted to do but no clue about how to do it. With the guidance and support we have received from Ian and the rest of the team we are now a viable business. we have new families coming to us weekly and we love seeing the impact the support and activities have on them, its just wonderful.”

If you are thinking of startting your own business…but unsure how to start.  Contact Kayleigh on 0151 546 5514 or email kayleighclarke@altvalley.co.uk

Funded support available through the ERDF Enterprise Hub Project

New Business in the Pipeline for Francis

Having been in pipe and metal fabrication for over 14 years, Francis Patterson had a dream of doing things in a different and better way that suits him and his young family and the way of life they all want.

Francis had become bored with doing things the way he’d always done them; he had the dream of wanting to use different welding methods and new materials to create high quality products for his customers using the latest design technologies.

So the first thing Francis did was speak to the Smarta Business Starter Business Support Team at Alt Valley in Croxteth; they help people like Francis get started through the Enterprise Hub start up programme which is co-funded through EU funding. Francis met Business Advisor Roy Meredith who helped Francis evaluate the business opportunity and assisted with the production of a business plan and cash flow forecast.

“I hope to bring a fresh approach to fabrication” says Francis. “I want to build up a trusted client base, and also help anyone who is thinking of choosing this industry as a career, by training them to a high standard getting them fully qualified as highly skilled. These aspects will help differentiate my business from many others.”

During discussions with his ddvisor, the process for applying for start-up loan funding through the Government-backed Start Up Loan scheme was pursued, resulting in a robust business plan and cash flow that was successful in attracting the funds required to get his new business off the ground.

Francis has now set up his new fabrication company – FJP Fabrication Ltd

Francis adds: “ I plan to make innovation the cornerstone of everything my new business makes; I will use new materials, the latest welding methods, bespoke bracketry and pipe spools combined with the latest CAD/CAM design programmes to create unique work. I also want to use my interest in metal sculpture as an add-on to the business. All in all, a fresh approach in a quite conventional industry.”

Enterprise Hub Business Start Up support is available to anyone over the age of 16 yrs thinking of starting a new business in the Liverpool City Region area.

Alt Valley Community Trust is one of several partner organisations in Merseyside delivering the free business support through a high quality team of experienced business advisors.

Business Advisor Roy Meredith commented:

“Francis is typical of many of the young entrepreneurs we get through the Enterprise Hub support programme. He adds business passion to innovation and imagination and it’s no surprise that his application for loan funding has been accepted. I fully expect his new business to go onto great things.”

If you are thinking of starting your own business but unsure how to start, then please conatct the Smarta Business Starter team on 0151 546 5514 or alternativley email enquiries@altvalley.co.uk

Always Grave Care – An Inspiring ‘Business Start Up’ Story…

After losing several close family members over the last couple of years, Gail recognised what an important part of the grieving process a loved one’s final resting place can be. She noticed that quite a few grave sites were becoming overgrown or had dead flowers on the headstones. After a bit of research, Gail was saddened to learn that a lot of people didn’t live close enough to regularly maintain graves and that this was the cause of some guilt and frustration.

As people move away from areas for work or family reasons, this is becoming a common scenario! Gail had the idea for her business three years ago, but at the time was working for the NHS and wasn’t sure about giving up her job. She knew that redundancies were looming and started to look into her idea by carrying out some market research.

Gail was encouraged by the positive responses that she received, but was dealt a blow when she found out that she had breast cancer. After receiving treatment and being given the all clear, Gail took redundancy from her position and decided that she wanted to pursue her dream of having her own business.

She contacted Alt Valley Community Trust earlier in the year and started working with the Enterprise Hub team, receiving one to one support. Gail got help with completing her business plan, putting together her financial forecast so she could decide if her idea was viable. She was also signposted to banking, loan and website services and undertook training in keeping records for tax.

Gail was relieved to know that there was assistance for her at the early stages of start-up; “If it wasn’t for the help that was available through the Enterprise Hub, I wouldn’t have known how to get started, where to go for a website or what prices to charge, I am really grateful for the service I received.”

Best of luck with your business Gail!

If you or anyone you know is thinking of starting a business then please get in touch with the Enterprise Hub team at Alt Valley Community Trust – Kayleigh Clarke – 0151 546 5514 or email Kayleighclarke@altvalley.co.uk

Business Start Up Conference Event

On Wednesday 22nd March from 10am – 1pm, there will be a Business Start Up Conference at the Atkinson Library in Southport. This event has been organised via the Enterprise Hub programme and as AVCT are a delivery partner; we will be attending!

The Smarta Business Starter team, as part of AVCT, will be in attendance and will be available to answer any problematic business start up issues you may be facing. Furthermore there is a chance to hear from other local business owners who will be sharing their own personal stories on how they moved from having the idea to starting a business to now actually sustaining their business.

All in all this should be a very positive day. If you would like to attend this event, no appointmnet is needed just simply turn up; however if you would like to hear more information please email kayleighclarke@altvalley.co.uk

Address:

The Atkinson Art Gallery & Library
Lord Street
Southport .
PR8 1DB

‘CONNECT17’ – FREE Networking Event at AVCT

As part of the ERDF Enterprise Hub project, AVCT are holding a FREE Networking event – ‘CONNECT17’ on Wednesday 7th December from 9:30am – 1:00pm for anyone who is thinking of starting their own business.

Attendees will have the opportunity to meet with people who started their own businesses in 2016 with support through the Enterprise Hub project. Furthermore Cllr Gary Millar, Assistant Mayor & Mayoral Lead for Business & International Trade, will open the event , plus other special guests will be in attendance too.

Festive refreshments will be available as well as our own business advisors who will assist you with any queries; so do feel free to join us! To confirm your attendance please contact Kayleigh on 0151 546 5514 or alternatively email kayleighclarke@altvalley.co.uk

For further information about the ERDF Enterprise Hub project please click on Smarta Business Starter

Ent Hub PNG300x60 ERDF 2015-2020 Logo copy

“Turn your passion in to a Profit…” AVCT can help!

Sophie Bailey first approached Alt Valley Community Trust in January 2016 for business start-up advice, having been recommended by a colleague who had previously received Business Support Advice on the ERDF Making Business Work programme through AVCT.

Sophie, 21 yrs old, had not long since finished her Art & Design course at City of Liverpool College, having previously had part time employment at a local Garden Centre in Maghull.

Sophie told us “I have always been interested in art but from a standpoint of creating long-lasting and impactful images that are more than just static art form. So the chance to become a self- employed tattoo artist had real appeal, especially as I could get so much free professional business start-up advice.”

Sophie spotted an opportunity in her local community:

“As a long-term resident of Maghull I was aware of a local tattoo salon in Maghull, Studio City Ink run by Michael Seerey, which gave me the thought that I might just have a business opportunity on my doorstep.”

Looking for support to turn her idea into a business Sophie approached AVCT to take advantage of the free support on offer through Enterprise Hub.

“Having signed onto the Enterprise Hub business start-up programme with Alt Valley Community Trust, I was teamed up with one of their Business Advisors Roy Meredith, who arranged for me to attend an initial Business Start Up workshop along with 6 other people who were in a very similar situation to me. I thought it was great – very informative and relaxed, with just the right level of information and participation.”

After this initial workshop, Roy worked on a one-to-one basis with Sophie to help her frame her business plans and develop new skills that will be essential to the future success of the business.

Coincidentally, at around the time Sophie decided to become self- employed, Michael Seerey was re- launching his newly located and expanded salon in Maghull, so Sophie has located into that salon, whilst at the same time developing her own clientele base and creating her own art and style of tattooing.

Since Sophie launched her business in April she has completed over 130 unique tattoos for as many as 98 clients, people mainly in the 30-40 year old age bracket, but also younger and much older!

She said “I get all sorts of people calling in wanting something tattooing which is really different – perhaps to celebrate a newly born child, or remember somebody by. Or people who simply say to themselves ‘WHY NOT?'”

The new Studio City Ink salon is superbly located next to the Coach & Horses Pub in Maghull right by the pedestrian crossing lights which has been great for passing interest.

Reflecting on how far she has come so far Sophie said “My own business progress is really good and with the additional business development skills that the Alt Valley Advisors are now giving me, I’m sure I can do really well. I can’t thank the Enterprise Hub Project enough for their support and encouragement.”

For more information on Enterprise Hub please contact either the central Enterprise Hub Team on 0151 706 8113 or get in touch with Kayleigh Clarke at AVCT on 0151 546 5514.

Ent Hub PNG300x60 ERDF 2015-2020 Logo copy

“Nu:Move” into Business for Mike Roxburgh…

Mike Roxburgh first approached AVCT in January 2016 for business start-up advice, having been recommended by a work colleague. At the time Mike was employed and was looking for a career change.

Mike had already had the idea of acquiring an online real estate agency franchise, but without any previous business ownership experience Mike really needed the essential business start-up knowledge and skills to enable him to launch the business. He signed up to the ERDF Enterprise Hub Project that AVCT currently deliver on.

“I had already decided to go down the self-employment option”, says Mike, “but I had never been self-employed before and I needed some pointers to help me get off the ground. I attended sessions at the Alt Valley Community Trust which benefited me enormously.”

Mike added “I also decided to launch a complementary company, MJR Property Management. There were two main reasons for this. Firstly, Nu:Move Liverpool’s services to landlords end at the point of letting. Secondly, ever increasing legislation is being introduced to regulate the private sector letting”

The business start-up workshop that Mike attended at the beginning of the Enterprise Hub programme provided information on setting the business up, business planning, marketing & sales, financing, taxation and keeping information records. The additional support that Mike accessed concentrated on developing essential marketing and selling skills including research, branding, social media, website optimisation and customer management; these sessions were led by the Enterprise Hub advisors John Mathias, Ian Marshall and Roy Meredith.

Mike added “The advice I received from several highly experienced business advisors at Alt Valley was really helpful and really made a difference when I was setting things up. I never felt alone and always had a friendly face or voice at the other end of the line. Just the opportunity to sit down and bounce ideas or thoughts off someone who understood exactly where I was coming from and understood the concerns and anxieties I had was of huge assistance alone.”

Mike’s online Estate Agency Nu-Move Liverpool and his property management company commenced trading on 6th April 2016 and are already showing very promising signs of early success. In the first 6 weeks of trading the companies have sold and let a number of properties across Liverpool with one recent property in the Huyton area being sold subject to contract in just 5 days. There are also a growing number of private tenancy management properties being added to the portfolio with a possible expansion planned as far as Blackpool.

For more information about the Enterprise Hub project and how AVCT can help you; please call the team on 0151 546 5514.

ent hub 2016300x60 ERDF 2015-2020 Logo copy

Lawrence Kenwright returns to Alt Valley Business Network!

Guest speaker at the May meeting of the Alt Valley Business Network was Liverpool Businessman and Entrepreneur Lawrence Kenwright of Signature Living Group

The meeting attracted an audience of some 40 members and guests who listened keenly to how Lawrence has built his hotel and leisure empire and continues to attract investment to new developments throughout the country. Lawrence is a passionate scouser and believes earnestly in wherever possible sourcing his specialist resources locally.

Members took advantage of the opportunity to meet Lawrence first hand and briefly introduce their services.

Alt Valley Business Network meets every month, usually on the last Friday for its breakfast meeting. If you are interested in becoming a member of the network; please call Kayleigh on 0151 546 5514.

ERDF Funded New Markets 2 Project – Business Advisor

The pioneering Social Enterprise Community Organisation, Alt Valley Community Trust, is seeking to recruit an experienced full-time Business Advisor to its business support team.

Delivering business advice in disadvantaged communities, the Advisor will be an integral part of the team working on this important ERDF business support project across the Liverpool City Region.

The Advisor will support established businesses looking to grow through product/service diversification and new markets. The Advisor will join an established and passionate business support team that wants to make a difference in challenging Communities.

Essential Attributes
Successful applicants will be able to demonstrate:
• Past, current or equivalent SFEDI- standard Business Advisor credentials
• A passion for working with small, growing businesses and making a difference
• A drive to add to the work that’s already changing and regenerating local Communities
• An ability to deliver objectives through individual initiative and team participation on a target driven project
• An ability to deliver business support in either a workshop or one-to-one mode

Key Responsibilities
• The delivery of fixed ERDF outputs to a pre-agreed phased programme of monthly and quarterly targets
• The self-generation and management of a portfolio of clients
• Maintaining the essential administration and reporting requirements of ERDF programmes
• Contributing to the achievement of team goals and supporting other team members

Salary £30,000 depending on experience, with required flexibility to be discussed at time of offer being made.

Fixed term until February 2018, although successful applicants will be offered an initial 3-month probationary period.

CV’s and brief supporting statement should be sent to Danielle Forman, Project Manager, Alt Valley Community Trust, The Communiversity, Altcross Road, Croxteth, Liverpool, L110BS or please send to danielleforman@altvalley.co.uk

Closing date Friday 5th February 2016.

ESIF