Did you know that breaking down the barriers for women entrepreneurs could boost the economy by a staggering £250bn? This was one of the opening messages delivered by Business Advisor and Facilitator Anne Marie-Swift at the Female Founders’ Growth Conference 2023.

A shortage of funding for female-founded businesses, a lack of networks, sponsors, and role models, and limited access to business knowledge are just a few identified reasons why women can struggle to take their businesses to the next level.

On the 2nd of February, we assembled a group of experts across fields such as finance and marketing, to share their knowledge with women business owners in the Liverpool City Region.

As well as being insightful, this event provided a much needed opportunity to create a network of support for businesses owners.

If you couldn’t be there, here is a summary of the day with links to our guest speakers.


Business Advisor and Facilitator Anne-Marie Swift Organised the Event.


What gets in the way of business growth? With Maggie O’Carroll

Following on from a welcome by Anne Marie-Swift, The Women’s Org. CEO Maggie O’Carroll delivered a speech on investing in yourself and others as an entrepreneur.

She commended the ingenuity and resilience demonstrated by female business owners during the COVID-19 Pandemic, stating that it is now more important than ever to stay creative and agile in business.


CEO of The Women’s Org. Maggie O’Carroll is a leader in the social enterprise sector.


Developing a growth mindset – thinking and planning strategically with Angelica Kayode Okoro

We’ve all heard of a growth mindset, but what does it mean? This session encouraged us to answer questions right there and start building a strategic growth plan.

Business Advisor Angelica introduced the three strategic tools businesses can use to aid growth; SMART goals, PESTLE analysis, and a SWOT analysis.

She highlighted the need to see challenges as opportunities, celebrate the success of others and take notes, and listen before acting for strategic growth.

Click to book onto our upcoming session on ‘Developing an Entrepreneurial Mindset’.


Angelica Kayode-Okoro smith is a Business Advisor specialising in start-up and growth businesses.



An appearance from the High Sheriff of Merseyside.

We were honoured to welcome the High Sheriff of Merseyside, Lesley Martin-Wright, who has spent this year working with and commending charities in the region.

Lesley Martin-Wright is also Knowsley Chamber Chief Executive and was previously Head of Business Growth and Inward Investment for Knowsley Council.


The High Sheriff of Merseyside with Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Org. and Anne-Marie Swift, Organiser of the Conference.


Finance and investment with George Wright and Sue Chambers.

Most businesses fail because of a shortage of money, not because they aren’t making a profit.

Investment Manager of LCR Finance Hub George Wright broke down the types of finance available and the pros and cons of each option.

He covered a checklist of what you need before submitting a successful finance proposal, including financial forecasts and the all-important business plan!

LCR Finance Hub helps SMEs in the Liverpool City Region access external funding. If this is you, get in touch here.

We also offer Bookkeeping sessions with a trained business advisor. Click here to book now.


George Wright has 15+ years’ experience managing Small and Medium Enterprise portfolios.


Sue Chambers, Investment Manager of River Capital, shared some application tips that her company looks for when providing funding, including a marketing plan, a clear purpose of the loan or investment and a business valuation.

Remember, we can help you prepare your funding application, so ask for support to ensure you have everything you need.

River Capital is a Fund Management company which helps small and medium-sized businesses to accelerate their growth. You can visit them here.


Sue Chambers is responsible for investing loans in small to mid-sized businesses.



#Growwiththewo with Sophia Kennedy

Head of Business Advice Plus Sophia Kennedy popped in to share the support offered by The Women’s Organisation.

For many of the women we’ve helped on their business journey, it’s started with building confidence. We offer a range of Personal Development & Confidence courses alongside Business Support, Career Development, and Business Incubation.

The conference broke for lunch. Vegan and vegetarian catering was provided by Bisque-it café, another one of our fantastic businesses. Find out more about their business in this video.


Sophia Kennedy oversees a team of business advisors that provide 1-2-1 support for new businesses
The Women’s Org. Business Advice Plus team can provides 1-2-1 support for business owners.


Grow your business – Grow your team!  Overcoming the challenges (and fear) of recruitment and retention with Mary Ball & Jeaven Kaur.

Employing for the first time as a solopreneur can be scary. Owner of recruitment company Privilege HR Mary Ball and HR Advisor Jeaven Kaur advises you to consider if you can streamline or outsource before committing to hiring.

If not, ensure you have all the legalities covered such as the right to work, a letter of offer, and a contract.

Their advice when it comes to retention? ‘Recognise your employees as human. There is no measure of how much gratitude resonates with people. Gratitude and a good culture are free.’ – Privilege HR.

Visit their website here.


PrivilegeHR work with business owners on people issues, including recruitment to retention.


Driving growth through female focused selling with Suzy Couper.

In the afternoon, Sales Skills Accelerator Suzy Couper shared her journey as a top sales achiever and business owner. You can find out more about Suzy here.

She suggested that old selling practices are masculine and outdated in the modern age.

Suzy reiterated the importance of knowing your value and believing in yourself when selling. She concluded that mindset is everything. Selling is serving, so tell people how you want to help them!

Never miss another business opportunity again with our course ‘How to Pitch Perfect’.


Suzy Couper has worked as a life coach, co-founder, and director of her sales skills company.


Marketing your business with growth in mind by Cynthia Ajayi

Social media training is one of our most accessed courses for business owners.

Cynthia Ajayi is the Marketing, Communication, and PR Coordinator for The Women’s Org shared some easy-to-follow tips that business owners can implement right away.

Her top tips for social media growth are to stay consistent, be relatable, show yourself, and don’t post and ghost! When it comes to content, review, recycle, and PIVOT. If something didn’t work on one platform, it might work on another.

Want to brush up on your digital marketing skills? Apply for our upcoming Accredited Digital Marketing Level 3 course now.


Marketing expert Cynthia Ajayi encouraged business owners to delve into video to grow their social media presence .
Cynthia Ajayi encouraged business owners to use video to grow their social media.


How to network effectively to grow your business with Claire Bowers and Carolyn Whitehead.  

Networking can be nerve-wracking for even the most confident of us. Is it rude to walk up to a group? How do you leave a conversation?

Claire and Carolyn run The Leading Ladies in Business, a platform designed for female entrepreneurs to network, learn and grow.

Their top tip for nervous networkers? Preparation. Check the guest list and go in with a plan, and remember to nurture your connections over time.

Everyone is there for the same reason, so it is ok to approach a group and exit with a thank you!


The Leading Ladies in Business have now expanded overseas.


Building business resilience with Roz Dean

To close the day, Business Support Officer Roz Dean talked us through building personal and professional resilience.

She advised business owners so identify and work on their weak spots using a SWOT analysis, and as the driving force behind a business, it’s crucial prioritise your mental health.

Want to delve deeper into building your resilience? Book one of our accredited courses here.


as well as working for The Women's Org, Roz Dean manages her own CIC teaching woodwork for wellbeing
Business Support Officer Roz Dean talked about her CIC teaching woodwork for wellbeing.

The day closed with an opportunity to network, and it was wonderful to see so many business owners creating connections. A huge thank you to everyone who attended, both business owners and our inspiring guest speakers. Keep your eyes open for similar events with The Women’s Organisation coming soon.

The Women’s Org. are the largest developer of training and support targeting women in the UK. For more information on how we can help you contact our team today on 0151 707 8111 or email hello@thewo.org.uk.