Irene Afful has amassed an extraordinary amount of experience throughout her career. During her 30 years’ working in the public sector – including 25 years with the Police Service – she has advanced the leadership and equality and diversity agenda on a national platform, gaining a wealth of knowledge, qualifications and skills along the way.
Before starting her own business, Irene was a Detective Inspector for Merseyside Police – the first black, female inspector in the history of the organisation.
As well as training as a mediator in her spare time, Irene also acquired a Master’s Degree in Police Leadership, specialising in organisational culture, equality and diversity. She used these skills to design and lead the Phoenix Leadership Programme, a positive action initiative designed to target the recruitment of under-represented groups within Merseyside Police. These achievements saw her nominated and shortlisted for the National Diversity Awards 2016, in the category of Female Role Model. However, Irene 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.”
She decided to channel this experience into her own business, Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, to provide consultancy services and coaching to individuals and organisations.
Her vision, Ametrine Enterprise Solutions, would help advise on diversity strategies and address the underrepresentation of minority groups in organisations at all levels. As well as this, she would offer mediation services, personal life coaching and performance coaching for employees.
Even with the wealth of experience she had, starting her own business was a completely new challenge; with a full-time job to consider on top of this, Irene had a lot on her plate.
‘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!’
To help make the transition into an entrepreneur as smooth and successful as possible, Irene approached The Women’s Organisation for advice and support. Irene needed assistance in finding and speaking to her audience, as well as the core essentials of starting a business from scratch. Our business adviser, Francine Taylor, worked closely with Irene, giving her the help she needed 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 was not 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!”
Ametrine Enterprise Solutions is now a thriving consultancy business, offering bespoke consultancy to public and private sector organisations across the region. Her weekly routine is extremely diverse, including everything from running workshops for large corporate businesses, to providing life coaching to individuals. Above all, it offers her the control and flexibility that she has always wanted.
“I love being my own boss; it is great that I am now able to take time off if I need to without having to apply for it. I am very proud of myself; I know I am capable of doing anything I can set my mind to. I am a passionate and determined woman 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!”
Since starting her business, Irene has returned to The Women’s Organisation for support in growing her business and expanding her reach. An ideal candidate for our Enterprise Hub, she received the advanced, personalised advice she needed to start laying the foundations for the future.
To find out more about Irene’s business, head to her website.
Irene started and grew her business with support from Enterprise Hub, the enterprise gateway for business support in the Liverpool City Region offering expert advice to those who are thinking about starting or growing a business. Enterprise Hub is funded by the European Regional Development Fund.
If you are based in the Liverpool City Region and thinking about starting or growing a business, contact our team to find out how we can support you.