This morning The Women’s Organisation welcomed women from across the region to our Women’s Business Start-up Conference. 

Joining the conference to share their story and offer advice to budding entrepreneurs were local women in business Claire Morton of Ell&Dee NLP Consultants and Ruth Hartnoll of JnR Agency.

Claire Morton, Jenny Wallwork and Ruth Hartnoll

Ruth had come through the Enterprise Hub programme around a year and a half ago to set up her digital marketing agency and has already grown it to the point where she is currently recruiting her second full time staff member to work alongside her team of freelancers. 

Claire Morton joined us fresh from winning the ‘Entrepreneur of the Year’ award at Merseyside Woman of the year for her NLP and training business.  Having run Ell&Dee for 3 years now Claire has grown an impressive clientele of corporate and private clients for her business, setting up a second business Ell and Dees Garden to offer therapy and retreats. 

Hosted by Jenny Wallwork from our training and development team the morning offered women the opportunity to consider what is involved in getting a business off the ground and evaluate if self-employment is the right fit for them.

Ruth started the event off sharing how early on in her business development she had to take the tough decision to split with her business partner.  Her advice is “If you are thinking of starting a partnership, make sure it is with someone you trust and also someone who has a contrasting skillset to you.”

Ruth Hartnoll from JnR Agency

Ruth emphasised that networking has been a big part of her success and advises that in business “You get back what you give”.  Ruth recommends going to sector specific events that aren’t necessarily aimed at you, for example being the only web developer at a property conference can have networking benefits. 

Ruth’s parting advice is to know your audience when considering pricing. 

Next up Claire shared how she took the leap from corporate world to self-employment and has had to tackle imposter syndrome, even as recently as last week sharing “in the week leading up to Merseyside Woman of the Year I literally couldn’t sleep.  I had imposter syndrome massively thinking someone is going to find me out that I’m blagging it”.  But having deservedly won the award as Entrepreneur of the Year she is grateful for the opportunity and realised that how she felt isn’t how others see her.

Claire Morton, Merseyside Woman of the Year Entrepreneur of the Year 2019

Claire also believes networking is key for her business and says “When I go networking I go looking to help others.  If you help them, they will more than likely help you.”.

While Claire admits starting a business is challenging due to all the different hats you have to wear, business development, accountant as well as the person delivering the service, Claire wouldn’t change the decision she made.  She advised “You’ve only got one life.  You need to do what you love.”

After a quick break to top up on pastries Jenny brought the women back together to ‘think outside of the box’ coming up with innovative ideas. A quick chat through the pros and cons of self-employment we looked at why businesses might fail and what support is available through Enteprise Hub to give your business the best chance of success.

Feedback from the budding entrepreneurs attending included:

“Fantastic Kick Starting event to starting my new business”
“Enjoyed the event. Felt very welcomed and lots of valuable/useful info and the contacts and friends.” 
“Thought provoking”
“Great speakers sharing their experience and success story”
“Really enjoyed the meeting. Very informative. Given confidence to start a business.”
“Lots of useful information for people at different levels. Friendly experience”
“I really enjoyed coming and listening to different women in different careers” 
“I struggle with my confidence and self worth and it has been a refreshing day”
“Really glad I came. I made new contacts, found out something new and now feel ready”. 
“Great event. Really positive to know there is support and what I want to do is possible”

If you are a woman living in the Liverpool City Region who is thinking about starting a business, or have recently gone self-employed, get in touch with our team to find out how you can access free advice and training through Enterprise Hub.  Enterprise Hub is part funded by European Regional Development Fund and free to access.

Call 0151 706 8111 or email