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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.



Causeway Business Education Partnership Careers Event assists local students with Careers Choices

Another successful Careers Event was hosted last Friday 1st March at the Lodge Hotel Coleraine, by CBEP, the “Causeway Business Education Partnership”, a 25 years strong partnership between Causeway Enterprise Agency and the local education providers, schools and colleges.With over 1400 students attending the event during the course of the day, a busy time was had by exhibitors at the event, where they engaged with the local students and talked over Career options with them!

Students were able to access information and guidance from over 60 exhibitors at the event, which included Universities from England, Scotland and Northern Ireland, Local Regional Colleges, Northern Irish Employers, Associations and other organisations.This year CBEP welcomed some newcomers at the event, in particular “Welcome Causeway” a Causeway Chamber of Commerce initiative, representing careers in Hospitality & Catering Industries.

Year 12 Students came from schools all over the Causeway Coast area, from Ballycastle to Limavady, Dungiven, Ballymoney & Coleraine to attend the event to find out more about Careers in Engineering, ICT, Hairdressing & Beauty, Catering, Travel & Tourism, Retail, Accountancy, Law, Architecture, Surveying, Construction, Banking, Army, Navy & RAF Careers and more.The room was buzzing with conversations and fantastic engagement was noted between the students and exhibitors this year, proving that this event is more than worthwhile for students.Teachers agreed, saying that “This event provides Careers options that students weren’t aware of”.

The event gave students the opportunity to talk directly with the representatives from the various career areas and provided some direction on which move to make next, whether that be choosing A-level subjects or moving onto a vocational course, an apprenticeship or Higher Level Apprenticeship.

Causeway Business Education Partnership is funded by The Honourable The Irish Society and we were also delighted that the event was promoted as part of Enterprise Week, sponsored by Causeway Coast & Glens Council.


Causeway Business Education Partnership Careers Event



The newly refurbished offices of the First Trust bank, Coleraine were packed to capacity last Thursday evening as we kicked off our Women in Business programme for 2019. The event reached out to our local female entrepreneurs who all made the most of the opportunity presented to connect with new contacts, share experiences and support each other.

The Coleraine branch of the First Trust bank were the hosts for the evening, in partnership with Women In Business NI, Causeway Enterprise Agency and Causeway Chamber of Commerce. We welcomed Eleanor Chambers McEvoy, serial entrepreneur and Northern Ireland’s newly appointed Ambassador for Entrepreneurship (on behalf of Invest NI) as our keynote speaker. A former Dragon on RTE’s Dragons Den and having successfully built and sold two companies and broken new ground as the first independent low-cost supplier in the NI electricity market with Budget Energy, she had great insights and experience to share with the audience.

Eleanor encourages us to dream big and develop a plan to deliver, shaking off the mindset of fear and the “I can’t do it” attitude we are all so good at adopting. “It’s time we realised that its none of our business what others think of us and we need to get out of our own way and break through those glass ceilings we impose on ourselves” she urged. A fear of failure she said, is a Northern Irish trait that we too readily allow to take a grip on us, holding us back from our true potential.

Eleanor’s message was loud and clear – we all need to embrace failure and learn from our mistakes so that we can be stronger, wiser smarter and more successful in our businesses. We need to realise that failure is our journey to significance.

The next Women in Business event in Coleraine is on 27th February 2019, followed by the 3rd Annual Female Entrepreneur Conference in the Galgorm Resort & Spa on Friday 8th March. More details of these events can be found HERE

View the full gallery from the event HERE



Top Tips for Business Success in 2019

The newly refurbished offices of the First Trust bank, Coleraine were packed to capacity last Thursday evening as we kicked off our Women in Business programme for 2019. The event reached out to our local female entrepreneurs who all made the most of the opportunity presented to connect with new contacts, share experiences and support each other.



Would you like the opportunity to win part of a £20K Pitching Fund?

Is your business already trading? Or, are you planning to launch one?

Is your business innovative or does it have a USP?

This Pitching Competition is part of a new 3-year Female Enterprise Programme, Yes You Can, which is a collaboration between the 11 Local Councils, Invest NI and Women in Business. The full Yes You Can Programme will be launched at the Annual Female Entrepreneurs Conference on the 8th March 2019 at Galgorm resort and Spa. Women in Business are delivering the programme across Northern Ireland.

To find out more information and to enter, please download the guidelines and complete the application form:

Pitching Competition Guidelines

Application Form

Applications must be received by Friday 8th February 2019.

Pitch day in Causeway Coast and Glens and Derry City & Strabane Council areas Friday 22nd February 2019 at:

Causeway Enterprise Agency

Loughanhill Industrial Estate, Coleraine, BT52 2NR


Yes You Can - £20K Pitching Competition


Jayne Taggart CEO Causeway Enterprise Agency, Annette Deighan Manager at Causeway Chamber of Commerce, guest speaker Jennifer McKeever MD of Airporter and President of Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, Melanie McAllister manager of the Ulster Bank with bank Business Director Lisa McCaul 

Global Entrepreneurship Week ended on a high for Causeway Enterprise Agency with Jennifer McKeever, Managing Director of Derry/Londonderry based coach firm, Airporter delivering a powerful session to her fellow female entrepreneurs on the North Coast

CEA partnered with Ulster Bank and Causeway Chamber of Commerce to host their monthly Women in Business networking event. The newly refurbished offices of the Coleraine Ulster Bank branch was the setting for the event and it was the perfect opportunity to meet the newly appointed Branch Manager Melanie McAllister, supported by Lisa McCaul from Business Banking

As always, that critical space was allowed for connections and conversations to be made, enjoyed all the more by the delicious Thai & Vietnamese supper provided by Whoosh Street Food Café. As we nibbled on the yummy eats, experiences and contacts were shared and of course ideas for potential business and collaborations were explored! These ladies mean business at these events!

Jennifer talked us through her career and journey in business regaling us with stories of her ups and downs. She spoke with such honesty, humility and vulnerability, sharing just how her and her husband struggled to grow a strong and robust company….even 15 years down the line! On numerous occasions they were ready to throw the towel in and let the business go to the wall, but with drive and resilience she kept pushing on to build the thriving company Airporter is today, with a 21-strong fleet of coaches, transporting 160,000 passengers per year

There was a very powerful message on how she personally grew and developed both as an individual and as a highly effective and exceptional leader. “For so long I felt like a fraud” she shared. “I felt I was out of my depth!” She talked about how she attended local business events and felt she didn’t deserve a seat at the table – she had nothing of value to contribute! But this mind set changed. Jennifer’s passion to make a difference and her courage to just be herself and speak from her gut and her heart earned her so much respect from the local business community, so much so that in 2017 she was voted in as Leader and President of Derry/Londonderry Chamber of Commerce!

This for her was the start of yet another testing but very rewarding journey in terms of her own personal development. She confessed that once again she was so out of her depth and pushed well beyond her comfort zone. This journey however grew her as a person and developed her own self -awareness, giving her the confidence to realise that her contribution is of value, does make an impact and is of significance!

As Jennifer prepares to step down in her role as President of Chamber this year, having played a key leadership role in bringing the business community through very challenging times, particularly with all that is going on with Brexit, Jennifer inspired and encouraged us all that evening to Think Bold, Think Big, believe in our purpose and allow each incremental improvement and experience to grow is into the effective leaders our businesses and communities need us to be.

Incremental improvements and experiences grow us into great leaders



ATG Group, one of the UK and Ireland’s leading specialist environmental and waste management companies are celebrating after being shortlisted for 4 honours within the prestigious BEFTA awards.

Now in their 12th year, the prestigious awards present a unique platform upon which to celebrate the successes of the best businesses within Northern Ireland.

ATG Group’s vast expertise has been recognised in no less than four categories, including Family Business of the Year as Mark and Jacqui McKinney and their 2 children, Scott and Lauren all play vital roles in the business, Research and Development Project of the Year for their new waste treatment technology “LockedIn”, Waste Reduction Project of the Year for their Killybegs Harbour dredging project and Community (CSR) Award for their charity Ashes to Gold.

Mark McKinney, Group Managing Director said, “This is fantastic news for everyone at ATG Group. Having been shortlisted for 4 honours in these highly reputable business awards is a testament to the hard work that the entire team does. From our inception right through to our successes throughout Europe, I couldn’t be prouder of how far we have come, all thanks to the commitment and loyalty of every single employee.”

The winners will be announced at an exciting new version of Northern Ireland’s premier business awards that will take place at the Belfast Waterfront Hall on Thursday 22nd November 2018.


Local Company ATG Group shortlisted for 4 BEFTA awards



A fashion savvy mother and daughter duo from Coleraine have turned their dream of owning their own ladies clothing boutique into a reality with the support of the Go For It Programme, in association with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.

Barbara and Jayne Allison launched Stable Lane Boutique in Coleraine town centre in August 2017 with the aim of bringing a fresh approach to ladies’ fashion by offering the latest trends in women’s fashion with an inventory of unique clothes by vibrant fashion designers around the world.

Daughter, Jayne, studied International Fashion Marketing at Glasgow Caledonian University And has worked in the retail fashion industry for over 12 years in a variety of roles including sales, buying, visual merchandising and personal shopper. Jayne’s mum, Barbara, is a keen follower of fashion and an experienced local businessperson, having ran a successful fitness business for over 10 years.

After a mother and daughter shopping trip in Coleraine town centre, Barbara and Jayne agreed there was a real gap in the local market for an independent ladies clothing boutique that offered something different than the typical high street fashion retailer.

They decided to sit down and develop their vision for opening their very own ladies clothing boutique and that’s when they turned to the Go For It Programme through Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council to help them transform their passion for fashion into a business.

Jayne Allison, co-owner of Stable Lane Boutique, said: “Fashion has been an obsession since I was very young, and I always knew I wanted to work in the retail fashion industry. I have had various roles from Saturday part time sales positions at high street fashion outlets, to visual merchandising and management roles with multinational fashion retailers.

“However, my dream has always been to one day open my very own fashion boutique that would allow me to express my own ideas on ladies’ fashion with unique styles and outfits that you wouldn’t typically find on the high street.

“It wasn’t until early 2017 on a family shopping trip in Coleraine that the idea really started to take shape. We realised that there weren’t any independent ladies’ fashion outlets in the area, only the usual big name high street stores that you find in every town and city across Northern Ireland.

“That’s when we decided to contact the Go For It Programme to see if we could turn my dream into a reality. We sat down with Linda Dixon from Causeway Enterprise Agency, who really helped us a lot. She guided us on the market research we needed to do to scope the viability of the business and then helped us to develop a robust business plan. It was this business plan that really propelled us to launch Stable Lane Boutique.

“We are celebrating our one-year anniversary at the end of August and we are going from strength to strength with a loyal customer base that’s growing all the time. The past 12 months has been such a whirlwind, but it has been amazing experience. I can now say that I’m the joint-owner of a ladies’ fashion boutique that delivers stylish, unique and affordable clothing.”

The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.

Linda Dixon, Go For It Business Advisor with Causeway Enterprise Agency on behalf of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council said; “Jayne and Barbara contacted the Go For It Programme with a clear idea for a business and the products they wanted to sell.

“They are both extremely passionate and it was up to us to channel this enthusiasm, not forgetting their outstanding knowledge on all things fashion, by helping them to develop a robust business plan that would give them the confidence to go out there and make it happen.

“I am delighted that Stable Lane Boutique is really flourishing. They have done a fantastic job creating a unique customer experience with a range of stunning clothing lines like nothing else in the area. I would recommend that any local women who haven’t popped into the boutique to give it a try – you won’t be disappointed.”

If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business call 0800 027 0639 or visit: visit


Fashion savvy duo’s eye for style drives business success


At Cloonavin for the launch of the Exploring Enterprise Program with the Causeway Coast and Glens Council Mayor Cllr Brenda Chivers are Joanne Millar Business Advisor Roe Valley Enterprises, Anna Logan Centre Manager at Causeway Enterprise Agency, Martin Clark Business Development Manager with the council and Exploring Enterprise Program Manager Shirelle McIvor.

A new programme has launched in the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council area which will boost jobs by working with unemployed and economically inactive people in the region.

The Exploring Enterprise Programme, delivered under the European Social fund (ESF) Programme 2014-2020, will be managed by Enterprise Northern Ireland and rolled out locally by Causeway Enterprise Agency and Roe Valley Enterprises Ltd.

The Exploring Enterprise Programme is a free special support initiative aimed at helping unemployed or economically inactive individuals improve their employment prospects as well as exploring potential self-employment opportunities.

The course provides one-to-one tailored business mentoring support, with the opportunity to work towards achieving an accredited QCF Level 1 Qualification in Understanding Business Enterprise.

Participants will get the opportunity to visit local businesses and work as part of a team to develop business skills and knowledge.

The Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens, Councillor Brenda Chivers, said: “The Exploring Enterprise Programme aims to increase business awareness and give support to individuals thinking of starting their own business. Small businesses are the backbone of the local economy and we need a constant stream of new people coming forward with business ideas. Exploring Enterprise gives people an opportunity to research and develop their ideas. In many cases people need encouragement and the programme can give them the confidence to go ahead. For many the programme provides a purpose that helps them focus on moving forward.”

Michael McQuillan, Chief Executive of Enterprise Northern Ireland, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for participants who are experiencing challenges or facing barriers to entering or returning to the labour market, to gain an understanding of enterprise and become employment or self-employment ready.

“While being provided with the opportunity to explore self-employment as an option, the participant can work towards a recognised qualification in Understanding Business. This endorsement professionalises their engagement in the programme and is something they will always have to evidence their capability, as they build a career in enterprise.”

This is an Enterprise Northern Ireland initiative which is part funded through the Northern Ireland European Social Fund Programme 2014 – 2020, the Department for the Economy, Local Enterprise Agencies and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.


Click through for more information on the Exploring Enterprise Programme


Exploring Enterprise Programme Launched in Causeway Region



It was lovely to welcome familiar faces and new ones last Tuesday at the WIBNI Networking event in the Lodge Hotel, where attendees enjoyed a relaxed and informal networking session with coffee and a chat with other Business Owners before the event kicked off.

Attendees had the pleasure of learning from Marketing Strategy expert Gillian McLean from Thrive Marketing & Communications. Gillian, a former CIM Ireland ‘Marketing Director of the Year’ and recipient of Women in Business award for ‘Marketing Campaign of the Year’, has extensive marketing strategy development and execution experience across a range of industries. Gillian told us of just some of her vast experience, which included rebranding of National Museums NI and explained to us how important market research of the customers was in developing the current “Explore, Engage & Enjoy” theme, this saw visitor numbers double at museums in Northern Ireland!

The group were keen to hear more about how Gillian develops marketing strategies. Gillian strongly advised us that MARKET RESEARCH is crucial. In fact, Gillian stressed that marketing strategies should never be developed without doing proper research first. Gillian talked us through the structure of developing a strong marketing strategy, this resonated with the group there and got their minds thinking how they could apply this to their own businesses.

Gillian made sure that the attendees understood that measuring marketing campaigns success was crucial, whether that be phone calls or digital analysis of conversions.

The group thoroughly enjoyed the event and have left well informed and educated about how to best develop a marketing strategy for their own businesses.

It was beneficial to hear the principles we teach here at CEA, reinforced and reiterated from an expert in the field. Thank you, Gillian!


View the full gallery from the event HERE


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Join Women In Business NI HERE



Strengthening Local Business Marketing Strategies with Gillian McLean at WIBNI event



What a delightful sunny morning it was at the Business Breakfast with Maria Costello, held on Wednesday morning past, at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine. Crusoe’s at the Riverside provided more than 100 attendees with a beautiful tasty breakfast alongside a networking venue with a glorious view over the surrounding countryside, the room had a relaxed atmosphere to chat in before the event kicked off in the theatre itself.

Maria talked us through her inspiring and eventful career to date, regaling us with tales of her ups and downs over the years, this determined lady was not going to let broken bones get in her way, 24 over the years to be exact! Maria started her talk off by showing us her first moped which she bought to transport her to and from her first job, this was just the beginning of something wonderful for Maria as she fell in love with bikes and has since become one of the most accoladed women bike racers in the UK, with a career spanning more than 20 years. In fact, Maria is the only woman motorbike racer to get an MBE.

Maria achievements in bike racing are numerous, just a few are, first woman ever to claim a podium finish in a race around the notorious Isle of Man TT course, securing the female lap record at the Vauxhall International Northwest 200 in 2016, she has also set a Guinness World Record, been voted Sports Personality of the Year in her native county, become an animated character in a PlayStation game, a rider double for Reese Witherspoon in a Hollywood movie and a published author.

Attendees were impressed and inspired to learn of Maria’s resilience, getting back up after failures and broken bones to achieve many firsts in her career, becoming fighting fit when others advised her to give up, she didn’t, instead she went on to achieve even more in the sport that she loves.

After the business breakfast, we all agreed that we had witnessed the story of a unique and special person. Maria Costello has managed to challenge gender stereotypes in the male dominated world of motorcycling and it was wonderful to be reminded that it can be possible to pursue the things we love in life, like Maria has.

The Business Breakfast with Maria Costello, was organised by Ulster University in association with The International North West 200 as part of the 50th anniversary celebrations of the University, in partnership with Causeway Enterprise and Women In Business NI.


View the full gallery from the event HERE

Business Breakfast at the Riverside Theatre with Maria Costello

What a delightful sunny morning it was at the Business Breakfast with Maria Costello, held on Wednesday morning past, at the Riverside Theatre in Coleraine. Crusoe’s at the Riverside provided more than 100 attendees with a beautiful tasty breakfast alongside a networking venue with a glorious view over the surrounding countryside, the room had a relaxed atmosphere to chat in before the event kicked off in the theatre itself.