Janine Hyland & Ameena Ahmed from Excelerate Labs

Our ‘Exelerate Labs’ team (the Greater Manchester business growth support project of The Women’s Organisation) were thrilled to support the Northern Enterprise 2016 Conference last week, held at Victoria Warehouse in Manchester.

The event, organised by Social Enterprise Network, aimed to shape and drive the devolution agenda in the north, and provide enterprising and socially minded businesses with an opportunity to explore partnerships, and collaborative opportunities that create positive social impact. A number of influential speakers joined the event including Rt Hon Hazel Blears, Philip Blond (Managing Director of Respublica), RT Hon Rob Wilson (MP Minister for Civil Society) ,Cliff Prior (CEO Big Society Capital), and Chris Murray (CEO Core Cities).

The fabulous awards dinner concluded the conference

During the conference a variety of master classes took place, showcasing innovation and best practice in the social sector.  Exelerate Labs own Enterprise Enablers Ameena Ahmed and Janine Hyland delivered a master class on ‘Top tips for growing your business’. This was attended by 10 local social organisations and SME businesses, who had opportunity to work interactively with our facilitators, taking lots of useful hints and tips to scale their work.

Ameena Ahmed present ‘Female Entrepreneur’ Award

The conference culminated with the Northern Enterprise 2016 Awards, which recognise the achievements of individuals and businesses that are shining beacons of social value best practice. The Women’s Organisation sponsored the ‘ Female entrepreneur of the year award’ which had a number of brilliant nominees put forward. On the night the worthy winner was Gina Jones, CEO of ‘Always Active’ , an organisation set up to support dementia sufferers. Gina has been a recipient of The Women’s Organisation’s support in previous years and has set up a diverse range of businesses spanning from golfing to children’s entertainment. Excelerate Labs Business Growth Adviser Ameena Ahmed presented the award on behalf of The Women’s Organisation.

Ameena with Female Entrepreneur winner Gina Jones

During the conference a number of connections were made between Exelerate Labs and infrastructure bodies such as social investment companies like Big Society Capital and support groups such as GMCVO, so it was a great networking opportunity.

Excelerate Labs is a new business growth programme aimed at businesses in Greater Manchester and part funded by European Regional Development Fund. If you are working in a B2B sector in the Greater Manchester area and are looking for support to grow your business, the expert Excelerate Labs team may be able to help you FREE! Drop a line to exceleratelabs@thewo.org.uk to find out more.