Liverpool City Region’s “one front door” access point for business support is extended and expanded in a significant step forward for driving entrepreneurship across the region.

Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Organisation (left), with Julia Sweeney,
Director of European Programmes and Local Growth and MHCLG (centre)
 and Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram (right).

Today saw the official launch of the second phase of the Enterprise Hub programme, marking the continuation of support available to those who are thinking about starting or growing a business.

The launch event took place today (26 November) in a special celebration at The Women’s Organisation, which is the lead and accountable body for the Enterprise Hub.

The launch was attended by special guest speaker Julia Sweeney, Director of European Programmes and Local Growth at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), along with the Lord Mayor of Liverpool, Cllr Anna Rothery, and Metro Mayor of the Liverpool City Region, Mr Steve Rotheram.

Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of The Women’s Organisation (left) with
Lord Mayor Cllr Anna Rothery (centre) and Deputy Lord Mayor Gary Millar (right)

Other guests included Enterprise Hub partner organisations, along with business support providers, funding specialists and some of the region’s leading figures in enterprise.

Enterprise Hub coordinates and simplifies the business start-up and growth support available across the Liverpool City Region by bringing together partners to deliver business support, advice and training.

Since launching its first phase in December 2015, Enterprise Hub support has helped to create over 1,060 new businesses so far.

Thousands of budding and early-stage entrepreneurs have benefited from the programme over the last four years, with nearly 6,000 individuals registering for support.

In a change to the first programme, this second phase of support now includes the provision of business growth support for those in their first three years of trade.

This move comes in response to the successful first phase of the programme which showed that there was real entrepreneurial spirit across the region, resulting in the creation of over 1,000 new enterprises. This second phase is now able to ensure the sustainability of those businesses through an ongoing programme of support.

100 guests attended the event

During the launch event reflections were made on the importance of investing in entrepreneurship and developing core entrepreneurial skills to grow our local economy.

Julia Sweeney, Director of European Programmes and Local Growth at MHCLG, says: “I am very pleased to help launch Enterprise Hub 2. Tailored, comprehensive support is really important to SMEs and the Hub will build on the success of Enterprise Hub 1 to enable more businesses to achieve sustainable growth.”

Metro Mayor, Steve Rotheram, says: “I know from personal experience, having set up my own building company when I was in my early 20s, that establishing a small or medium sized enterprise can often be fraught with hurdles and challenges.

“Statistics show that roughly 80% of UK companies fail within their first year – so it’s vital that organisations get the support they need early on – if they are to have a chance of success.

“Enterprise Hub have shown in recent years that they are perfectly placed to provide that support, with their work having led to the creation of over 1,000 local businesses. We’re doing all we can to provide funding support at a regional level for SMEs to start up and scale up – and phase 2 of the Hub’s work will only compliment this.”

Metro Mayor Steve Rotheram speaking at the event

Maggie O’Carroll, CEO of Liverpool charity and lead body of the programme, The Women’s Organisation, says: “We are delighted to be steering the Enterprise Hub programme forward into this exciting second phase. The initiative has so far proved to be a vital resource for those budding entrepreneurs who have an entrepreneurial idea, but not necesssairly the know-how to turn it into a sustainable and profitable business.

“We know that this support has been vital to reducing unemployment, raising aspirations and giving people that all-important opportunity to pursue entrepreneurship. All of which play a key role when it comes to keeping our local and national economy thriving.

“With this refreshed focus on business growth support, we now have real opportunity to build on the first phase and enable the ongoing development of enterprises of real substance. I would urge anyone who has a business idea they would like to explore, or those who might be navigating the tricky early years of self-employment, to get in touch and see what support is available”.

Fully-funded support is available to residents from all corners of the Liverpool City Region, with delivery partners working in Sefton, Knowsley, Liverpool, St Helens, Wirral and Halton.

Enterprise Hub brings together a network of eight partner organisations to deliver business advice, training and support; The Women’s Organisation, Everton Development Trust, Granby Toxteth Development Trust, Merseyside Expanding Horizons, Wirral Chamber, St Helens Chamber, The Prince’s Trust, SAFE Regeneration.

Strategic partners for the project are Liverpool Central Library Business and IP Centre, ComMutual, Plus Dane Housing and Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust. While Writing on the Wall and Liverpool Domestic Abuse Service (LDAS) are community delivery partners.

The Enterprise Hub programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF), which aims to help local areas stimulate economic development by investing in projects, like Enterprise Hub, which support innovation, business growth and job creation.

Local social enterprise, The Women’s Organisation, is the lead and accountable body for the programme as well as the managing agent, providing management and compliance support to the programme.