Starting a Business in Coleraine
If you are in the process of planning your business, have just started trading or have been in business for some time, Causeway Enterprise Agency can provide you with the tailored support you need to manage it more efficiently, productively and profitably.
Small businesses in the North West of Northern Ireland will benefit from stronger leadership and entrepreneurship skills to improve their overall productivity, thanks to a government-backed project which received the green light today. The Micro Firm Leader Development Programme led by the Causeway Enterprise Agency is one of 8 projects in the UK selected as part of the UK Futures Programme, run by UKCES.
Under the programme Causeway Enterprise Agency will work with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) to pilot new ways to boost the leadership in micro businesses (firms operating with less than 10 employees) in Northern Ireland.
Causeway Enterprise Agency developed their Micro Firm Leadership programme in partnership with the Department of Employment and Learning NI, the Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Invest NI and Enterprise Northern Irelandafter research into the provision of training and development initiatives for NI businesses revealed that funded or part funded provision for micro businesses, which account for 90% of the NI economy, was lacking with both public and private leadership training in the region focusing on more general management and team leadership issues, relevant to SMEs. The very nature of micro businesses means they have limited capacity and often lack the necessary financial resources required to develop new leadership capabilities. In addition as they are often family run organisations whose owners do not even view themselves as leaders. Through the programme Causeway Enterprise Agency aims to address this gap and reach out to very small businesses to help them to develop the leadership skills that will enable them to fulfil their professional and personal aspirations.
Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive at Causeway Enterprise Agency commented:
Given the importance of the micro-business sector it is vital that we give them the support they need - to invest in their development is to invest in their growth, the future of the economy and the opportunities that will come with that growth.
The NI economy is experiencing major changes and challenges and during tough times Leadership is more important than ever, because it’s about deciding which direction to go in, knowing how to handle the challenges you'll hit and understanding how to recognise and grasp great opportunities when they present themselves.
Studies show that the qualities a micro business owner needs to lead are similar to those of the leaders of large corporations, just on a different scale. With this in mind we have brought together business leaders from all sizes and types of businesses in NI to deliver this innovative programme. The business leaders have great stories to share - they started small and faced challenges along the way but had one thing in common they had big ideas, big visions – visions that they are now realizing. Vision is a concept that very small businesses struggle with, many micro business owners find it difficult to understand the importance of it and how to create it. Our programme will help them to identify their vision, explain it clearly, so people understand it and get their teams on board in bringing that vision to life.
We are also delighted to welcome 2 champions to the programme; Dr Karise Hutchinson and Professor Philip Bain. Philip is the owner of award winning small business “Shredbank” and NI Chair of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI) and is our employer role model having grown his business from micro to small. Karise is Head of Business and Enterprise at the Ulster University Business School, leading researcher in SME growth and development and Vice-Chair at CEA.Karise brings a wealth of knowledge having delivered extensive leadership programmes to micro and small firms for over 15 years.
The programme will launch with an inaugural conference in Coleraine on 12th November which will serve to prioritise a new leadership skills agenda for micro firms in NI, demonstrating that investment in the leadership of these firms will reap real business benefits and in turn, grow our local economy.
The conference marks the beginning of the programme which will be offered in 2 phases in January and March 2016. The programme will offer a range of workshops, mentoring, lunch and learn sessions combined with online learning designed to transform micro business owners into excellent leaders, enabling them to achieve their most ambitious professional and personal goals.
Mervyn Langtry, from the Department for Employment and Learning said: “I congratulate the Causeway Enterprise Agency on its success in securing support for the Micro Firm Leader Development Programme. This was achieved in the face of stiff competition from the rest of the United Kingdom.
“This programme has the potential to directly address the need for the development of management and leadership skills in micro businesses in Northern Ireland. Micro businesses make up nearly 90% of firms in Northern Ireland and their success is crucial to the overall well-being of the economy and. We look forward to seeing this programme making a positive impact in the productivity and prosperity of micro businesses in the future.”
The project is one of 8 that have been selected as part of the UK Futures Programme, run by UKCES. Each is trialling innovative ways to improve the productivity of small businesses in their local community by boosting their leadership and entrepreneurship skills. In particular the projects will identify new ways to help small businesses who haven’t previously had any leadership or entrepreneurial training.
Julie Kenny CBE DL, founder of Pyronix Ltd, a leading small business in the security sector, and Commissioner at UKCES commented:
“Small businesses form the backbone of the UK economy. Yet constraints on their time and resources mean they are the least likely to develop the leadership and management skills that will help them grow.
“Owner managers and senior leaders of small companies need to spend their time and money wisely, and see clear benefits from the start. Current training programmes are often too broad or vague to be usefully applied in the real world. Simply gaining access to good programmes can also be difficult - for instance if you operate in a more rural area.
“We need new ways to reach these businesses, and we need solutions that are relevant to each small firm. The anchor institutions we will be working with have demonstrated a strong understanding of the specific issues that small businesses face in their local community. They have also shown that they have the ability to reach out to businesses who often find themselves excluded from national programmes.”
Each project represents a joint investment with UKCES, with organisations investing in cash, in-kind, or both, alongside a maximum government contribution of £200,000 per project. The total government contribution is £1.3 million.
Owners of Micro-Businesses based in the North West are invited to register their interest at www.causeway-enterprise.co.uk/lead2grow
Sponsors at Flowerfield for the Social Media for Business conference are Philip Bain of the Chartered Management Institute and Shredbank, Head of the Business School at UU Karise Hutchinson, guest speaker Social Media Guru Wayne Denner with Jayne Taggart Chief Executive at the Causeway Enterprise Agency.Picture by Clancy Photography
Social Media guru tells businesses about the importance of a good Social Media Plan
Social media guru, Wayne Denner, enthused local businesses on the importance of a social media plan at a recent seminar hosted by Causeway Enterprise Agency, in association with the Chartered Management Institute, Ulster University and Causeway Chamber of Commerce.
Wayne demystified the latest social media trends, explaining how companies can use ‘News Jacking’ to piggyback off the day’s biggest news stories to draw attention to their own brands; how ‘Content Marketing’ is so much more valuable than traditional publicity and, critically, how a well thought out ‘Social Media Plan’ is key to successful social media engagement. Wayne also covered the popular phenomenon of ‘Live Streaming’, as well as how to effectively generate leads through social media; and finished off the seminar with the ultimate ‘Essential Toolbox’ for social media marketing.
Philip Bain, Chair of CMI said “The Chartered Management Institute were delighted to have sponsored such an exceptional event that was hosted and organised by Causeway Enterprise. This digital event truly delivered what it promised, giving us rich insights into what we all need to know and do as business owners in this ever changing social media world.”
Jayne Taggart, CEO of the Causeway Enterprise Agency, said “Marketing techniques are forever changing, so it is critical for our businesses to keep up-to-date with the latest marketing trends and innovations. We try to do this through our regular seminars, whilst ensuring that we secure speakers who are at the forefront of their industry.”