10 female founders in Liverpool you should know about

10 female founders in Liverpool you should know about

Often being described by its locals as ‘the world’s biggest village’, Liverpool is a city like no other. A hotspot of culture, the birthplace of The Beatles, and notorious for nightlife, Liverpool is a thriving city for female founders to flourish in. And flourish, they do. Last year, startups.co.uk named Liverpool as the fourth-best city in the UK for female entrepreneurs

We’ve been lucky to have interviewed some incredible women who have started game-changing businesses in Liverpool, and we want to shout about them even more than we already have.

Let’s learn more about 10 women who are taking the city by storm. 

1. Lorna Davidson

Lorna Davidson has founded multiple successful businesses in Liverpool. Her most recent business, RedWigWam, is leading the way for recruitment agencies in the city. 

RedWigWam helps people to find temporary or flexible work, which is an approach to recruitment that often goes overlooked. A local female founder who has been successful with several multi-million-pound business, Lorna is a woman to watch.

 

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Here’s a message from our CEO Lorna Davidson after we hit 100,000 workers this week…🔺 –

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Lorna’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘Knowing that I can call ‘cake time’ any time I want! No one ever says no to cake, and it’s such a simple thing to boost morale or celebrate success.’

Lorna’s advice: ‘Be brave. My mantra is ‘if it was easy, everyone would be doing it’.’

2. Maggie O’Carroll 

A pioneer for women in business, Maggie O’Carroll is the founder of The Women’s Organisation: a company that anyone in Liverpool is bound to be familiar with. It has supported over 55,000 women to develop their businesses, grow their confidence and take on the world. The Women’s Organisation offers business training, confidence courses, startup support and other helpful resources to equip women with the tools they need to succeed.

Maggie’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘my favourite thing about founding a purpose-driven company can only be measured by the impact the organisation has had on the lives of women. Hearing the real stories of the women whose lives we have changed is what is really important.’

Maggie’s advice: ‘Get advice. Back when I began The Women’s Organisation, support for starting and growing a business was thin and far. Liverpool City Region is now lucky to offer free expert advice around starting and growing a business through Enterprise Hub.’

3. Dawn Paine and Angela McClelland

We know we said we’d do a list of 10 female founders, but we have to include this delightful double-act. Dawn Paine and Angela McClelland are founders of The Extraordinary Club, a business that aims to support, inspire and catalyse the growth of the digital and technology sector within the region. The Extraordinary Club hosts events, offers business support and provides Facebook digital skills training. With Dawn having previously worked as Head of Marketing at Nintendo UK and Angela working in senior roles at major banking firms, you’re in good hands with these ladies. 

Angela’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘I love the autonomy to create a bespoke response for a client. In previous roles that just wouldn’t have been possible, but with my own venture I get to decide to do something and get it done.’

Dawn’s advice: ‘Always check against your strategy and plan. Where are we and where are we trying to go? Then, break it down into quarterly and monthly goals. You have to be doing the kind of work you want to be doing.’

4. Kate Stewart

Kate Stewart has had multiple successful business ventures from setting up tanning shops and beauty salons to owning Liverpool’s Heritage Market. Kate’s most recent business is Vitality Homes, a community organisation that helps people with drug and alcohol addiction to change their lives for the better. After leaving school at 17, little did Kate know that she would go on to become a self-made millionaire. 

 

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Tune in Bbc radio 5 live 1pm-2pm to hear the debate on social class ! #bbc #workingmum #womeninbusiness

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Kate’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘Having the freedom to do what I want when I want to.’

Kate’s advice: ‘Firstly, you have to believe in yourself. It’s so important to be confident in what you’re doing. And always adhere to everything that is required of you and keep on top of it. Finally, take risks!’

5. Ngunan Adamu

After being at the BBC for nine years, Ngunan Adamu set up her business, iWoman, with a mission to empower women. iWoman has three branches: iWoman Academy, iWoman Radio and iWoman Media. Each of which educates, inspires and entertains women. As part of iWoman Academy, Ngunan trains women in radio production as a tool to develop their confidence. Ngunan oozes positivity, and is just the woman for the job. 

Ngunan’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘ I love being in control of how fast or slow I want the company to grow, but when those opportunities come knocking, it’s hard to say no!’

Ngunan’s advice: ‘Be confident in your skills, listen to your gut instincts and have fun! The business can only grow if you still love and enjoy what you’re doing.’

6. Natalie Shilton 

We thought it was important to make you aware of the woman responsible for one of Liverpool’s most delicious vegan dessert spots. Natalie Shilton started whipping up guilt-free treats at home back in 2015. Natalie’s hobby for making healthy treats eventually grew to become The Nakery, a place that specialises in vegan, refined sugar-free cakes and treats. If you drop by, we highly recommend the raspberry cake jars or the salted caramel bars. 

Natalie’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘My favourite thing about running a business is that I get to take full responsibility for my life. You only get out what you put in, so I know that if I put the hard work in now – I can reap the rewards later.’

Natalie’s advice: ‘There is no rush to have it all figured out, even when society makes us think there is sometimes.’

7. Amy Collins 

Amy Collins has a talent for capturing the essence of Liverpool through quirky pin badges. Her business, Pinhead, sells a range of enamel pin badges fit for any scouser. With pins based on Bold Street, LFC and various city hotspots, Pinhead is a great place to look for gifts for your local Liverpool mates. 

 

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It’s my birthday today. 35 whole years alive and now I’m officially closer to 40 than 30 😯😂 obviously I still feel like a teenager and I shall continue to act and dress like that until this feeling runs out. It is weird being this old. There are certain expectations from people, lots of awkward questions. I’m doing my best to just reassure everyone that they don’t need to worry about me because I dont have a partner or children. I’m not obliged to explain but at the same time it’s useful for all of us to understand that everyone takes different paths and not to feel sorry for them. I havent chosen career over family, this is just where I’m at right now. It remains to be seen if I would be happier with another person in my life or whether I’m more content alone. The main thing is that I am happy already and I just so happen to be on my own right now. My business is going brilliantly but it might not be forever and I’m ok with that, I’m just riding the wave while I’m having a good time. Since I’ve been in my 30s I’ve completed a degree, I’ve given up alcohol and drugs and I’ve become my own boss. This is my best decade and im only half way through. How cool is that?! – in other news I’m moving house (and I’ve chosen the location for wellbeing, nice green, quiet and by the park) – more news is that I’m going to run Pin Head from another location. I’m terrible at compartmentalising so I’m excited to start a fresh with better work/life balance etc. Off to view somewhere this morning. I’ve been a bit stressed with this upheaval the timing at first seemed awful but actually it makes sense to move now, I’ve just graduated, my house doesnt feel the same without Sebastian and so much has happened in this place that I’m ready to draw a line under. I confess all this upheaval means im a little behind on a few bits so I apologise if my correspondence has been a bit slow. Cheers for sticking around. Aimz x

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Amy’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘I love being part of a network of like-minded entrepreneurs and creatives. Liverpool is so rich in these areas and it’s a pleasure to meet so many other passionate small business owners.’

Amy’s advice: ‘My business grew unintentionally and quite organically but knowing the market better would have been useful earlier on in proceedings.’

8. Andrea Edwards

Andrea Edwards founded Tusk after her previous business ventures with The Interesting Eating Company (which Tusk is a part of) and the Ultimate Cafe. Tusk is a bar and eatery just around the corner from us in the Baltic Triangle. As you may have gathered by the name Tusk, Andrea is passionate about elephants; every bottle of table water comes with an option £1 donation to Elephant Hills. 

The environmental care of Tusk doesn’t stop with elephants. Impressively, Tusk has been named as Liverpool’s first Carbon Free Dining restaurant. They’ve also been planting 100 trees a month! We love a female founder who gives back to the environment.

Andrea’s favourite thing about being a female founder: In regards to Tusk in particular, seeing it grow from a thought into a business was extremely exciting.

Andrea’s advice: ‘Be bold, take risks and expand quicker as over-thinking will hold you back – do your best to overcome it.’

9. Claire Morton

Claire Morton is the founder of Ell & Dee, an NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) consultancy business. NLP is a way of holistically figuring out someone’s thought patterns, then working on shifting them so that they can improve various areas of their life.

Claire specialises in training individuals and business teams who are looking to develop their confidence and progress in their career without imposter syndrome getting them down. 

If you’ve been struggling with negative thought patterns that are holding you back in your career, Claire’s got you covered.

 

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Home and in pjs after an amazing day @thewomensorganisation I’ve come home with my second award this year and once again I’m bursting with joy and slightly overwhelmed. Working with my clients,peers, associates, amazing friends and family inspires me every day and I thank you all for that 🙏 This award was for Health & Well-being business of the year ❤️🙏🧘🏻‍♀️ 🧠 Thank you for an amazing day, so many businesses in the Liverpool City Region now and it’s getting very exciting, a real buzz around the city. #celebrateher #awards #healthandwellbeing #ellanddeenlp #coaching #therapy #nlp #mentalwealth #leadership #kindness #selfcare #selflove #womaninbusiness #findyourpurpose #ellanddeenlp #ellanddeesgarden #ellanddeesgarden

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Claire’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘My favourite thing would be the freedom it gives you. Also spending more time working with people I want to work with, who are like-minded and have similar values’

Claire’s advice: ‘Invest wisely, keep up with your accounts, and ensure that you keep on top of your service levels with clients so they trust you to deliver.’

10. Jeni Wadkin and Natalie Hardman

Jeni Wadkin and Natalie Hardman are the founders of Siren, an eatery at 54 St James Street (the same building as us!). Jeni and Natalie founded Siren after they had worked together in the hospitality industry for years. After going through primary school, high school and then working world together, it seems natural that these two have gone on to co-found a business. 

Jeni’s favourite thing about being a female founder: ‘To see how far we’ve come over six and a half years is surreal; from working on the floor to having 15 staff. I’m proud of how our brand has evolved.’

Jeni’s advice: ‘Sit back and evaluate more often; really consider your decisions. It’s easy to get dragged into the day-to-day and not have a full overview of the business.’

All aboard the inspiration station

You can find all of our interviews with female founders here. If you’re looking to curate your Instagram feed into an empowerment hub, check out our 10 favourite Instagram accounts to follow for female empowerment. Or if you’re after inspiration on the go, we recommend taking a look at these 7 podcasts

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