Irene Afful is a woman with a whole lot of experience! All of which she is using and utilising as she launches herself into the world of self-employment with her business; Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, which could be described as a coaching and consultancy business, but is so much more than just that!

Irene has 30 years’ experience working in public sector organisations, including 25 years with the Police Service. She has worked on a national platform advancing the leadership, equality and diversity agenda and has amassed a wealth of experience, qualifications and skills along the way!

As well as this she is a trained mediator with over 12 years’ experience managing workplace disputes. She also designed and led the Phoenix Leadership Programme, a positive action initiative which successfully targeted the recruitment of under-represented groups within Merseyside Police, was nominated and shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards 2016 in the category of Female Role Model AND Irene has a Master’s Degree in Police Leadership, specialising in organisational culture, equality and diversity! Now that is one impressive business owner!

Irene’s business, Ametrine Enterprise Solutions aims to advise on diversity strategies and addressing the underrepresentation of minority groups at all levels of organisations. As well as this, Irene will also offer personal life coaching and performance coaching for employees, and mediation services too!

Prior to starting her own business Irene was a Detective Inspector for Merseyside Police and was the first black, female Inspector in the history of this organisation. But she had always had ambitions to work for herself; ‘I have always worked in the public sector and have had to answer to a supervisor or manager. I wanted to only answer to myself and choose my own hours so I could spend quality time with my son. I also wanted to prove to myself that I can do this and make it a success.’

So Irene got in touch with The Women’s Organisation and began working closely with our Business Adviser Francine Taylor to get Ametrine Enterprise Solutions off the ground! ‘I found the idea of writing a business plan really daunting! However after speaking to Francine I realised that it wasn’t that complicated and I was able to complete one! Francine was really supportive, motivating and knowledgeable about the many aspects of starting your own business. Her advice and support was invaluable in giving me the confidence to do what I have always wanted to do!’

But of course, starting your own business isn’t plain sailing! And Irene found herself with a lot on her plate at the start of her journey; ‘I am a single mum to a very active 8 year old boy so juggling his needs with my volunteering roles as well as full time work was challenging to say the least!’

‘I was planning on starting my business when I left my full time role with Merseyside Police. To this I set myself goals for what I wanted to achieve and by what date and also made lists daily! I didn’t always reach my targets in the time I’d set – but that’s life!’

Now Irene has just launched her business with Ametrine Enterprise Solutions opening on September 5th and although it is early days she has already had interest in her services! And it’s clear that for Irene, the best thing about running her own business is having that flexibility that she had always wanted! ‘I love being my own boss; it’s great that I am now able to take time off if I need to without having to apply for it.’

And how does Irene feel about what she has achieved so far? ‘I’m very proud of myself; I know I am capable of doing anything I can set my mind to. I am a passionate and determined women and my confidence has grown immensely since embarking on this adventure. My motto is – ‘Your perseverance is your measure of your belief in yourself’ – Keep persevering!’