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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.




Attending the 2nd Annual Female Entrepreneurs Conference 2018 held at Galgorm Resort and Spa are l-r conference host Sarah Travers, Jayne Taggart CEO of the Causeway Enterprise Agency, keynote speaker Norah Casey Broadcaster and Publisher, from Women in Business NI Roseann Kelly and keynote speaker Grainne Kelly inventor of the BubbleBum Booster Seat. The conference was organised by Women in Business and the Causeway Enterprise Agency along with sponsors Causeway Coast and Glens Council, Mid and East Antrim Council, the Ulster University Business School, the Causeway Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise N.Ireland. 

If you grew up in Northern Ireland or anywhere in Ireland for that matter, the chances are that at some point you will have been told, ‘not to be so bold!’ Last week at the 2nd Female Entrepreneur Conference over 240 female entrepreneurs, one brave man and a 10 week old baby girl were encouraged again to Be Bold.


It was International Women’s day, at Causeway Enterprise Agency we have been hosting an event on this day for 17 years. Last year we decided to take it up a notch, along with the team at Women in Business and our supportive sponsors, this year we did it again, with new speakers, a new panel and a new challenge to #be bold for progress. As always our host was broadcaster and entrepreneur Sarah Travers, this year we were at the stunning Galgorm Resort and Spa. There was so much to learn and share so we have decided to make this blog 1 of 3, we have the beginning the middle and the end of this insightful day, starting with our first speaker of the day.

Grainne Kelly a mum-of-two, authentic ‘Derry Girl’ and former travel agent who revolutionized the child travel industry by inventing Bubble Bum: the world’s FIRST inflatable booster seat, burst on to the stage to tell her story, with humour, honesty and integrity and a single minded determination to succeed. According to Grainne, “No is just a temporary obstacle,” this certainly resonated with a few people at our table, what do you think?

Grainne told of how she wasn’t always destined to run a business, in fact as often is the case she had been told at school that she was, ‘a waste of a brilliant mind’ but instead of believing what she was being told she said this was the first time in her life that she recognised resilience. At that moment she knew that she was the only person that could affect her life, it was up to her.

She went on to save up for University with her babysitting money, decided not to go, worked for a construction company where being the only woman was, ‘no bother to her’ but wasn’t to be. She moved to the travel industry and found success largely by competing with herself to be at the top of the leader board. During this period and due to frequent trips to England with a young family, to visit a poorly relative, Grainne had the idea for what today is known as BubbleBum. Her mantra of ‘No is a temporary obstacle’ came in handy as she was frequently told her idea wasn’t possible.

We heard how she kept pushing, put the work in, understood how to get her product made, crash tested, the first time this had ever been achieved, and ultimately started to look for a manufacturer in China.

There were plenty of bumps along the way, securing to her patent, costly legal battles, moving to the USA without enough money. Throughout it all Grainne advised, “its always important to do the right thing and ask yourself, would my mammy be proud of me for this?”

BubbleBum is now being sold globally and has been successfully crash tested in the states. Grainne has said no, yes and no again to the worlds largest retailer Walmart because they simply weren’t a good fit. She has overcome a serious road traffic accident involving her kids and health problems that brought her to the brink. Her story of sheer determination, passion for her purpose and resilience, let the audience in awe.

She left us with some final thoughts – “For every inhale there has to be an exhale or you will combust”, self care and family is important, Grainne answers her phone to her family wherever she is in the world. The final word went to her beloved Dad, ‘there is no such word as canny’

From Derry girl to global entrepreneur with a business that saves children’s lives everyday, not bad for a girl that was told she was a waste of a good brain…


Over 200 delegates attended the Female Entrepreneurs Conference 2018, made up of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups. The event was supported by Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council. Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, Causeway Chamber, Enterprise Northern Ireland & Ulster University Business School.


If you have a business idea or need some help contact Causeway Enterprise Agency on 028 7035 6318 or email or Women In Business NI on 084 5607 6041 or email


View the full Gallery from the event HERE

Join Women in Business NI HERE

Join Causeway Chamber HERE

Were you told not to Be Bold when you were growing up?


At the Armstrong Medical stand for the Careers Convention are l-r David Grainger of the Causeway Business Education Partnership, Sam Goodchild of Armstrong Medical, student Sean Gillen, Edward Montgomery of sponsors The Honourable the Irish Society, Jayne Taggart of the Causeway Enterprise Agency, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council Business Development Officer Bridget McCaughan, student Emma Farren and Helen Canning of Armstrong Medical at the Causeway Business Education Partnership Careers Convention sponsored, through the Causeway Enterprise Agency and Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council, by The Honourable the Irish Society. 

The CBEP Careers Convention which is held annually to assist careers decisions for Year 11 and Year 12s took place on Friday 2nd March at Lodge Hotel. The event welcomed 1400 students from the CC&G area on the day.

There were over 40 exhibitors supporting the event. Exhibitors were drawn from across the UK; with Universities there from England and the local universities, Ulster University & Queens University strongly represented too. The Law Society NI were a very welcome new exhibitor this year, with their stand proving very popular with the students!

Local employers were out in force this year; Nicobrand, Hutchinson's Engineering, McAuley Engineering, Cranswick Country Foods, Armstrong Medical and Lacpatrick were there to educate the students about the career opportunities available in their local workplaces.

The further education colleges, NRC & NWRC demonstrated again this year that Apprenticeships and Careers are high on their agenda, offering qualifications in Hairdressing, Performing Arts, Media, Catering, Business and Computing, Engineering, Bricklaying, Joinery and Sports Science among others.

The highlight of the day had to be the NRC Performing Arts students “Flash Mob”, which promoted a career in Performing Arts. The daring students added a dramatic element to the day, showing off their skills in performance and dance to the crowd there. It was delightful to watch our local creative talent flourishing.

Chairman of CBEP, David Grainger said on the day "Fantastic day - great to see the students so engaged with the exhibitors. So much potential in our Borough. Proud of the young people in all our schools."

A busy day was had and the students were keen to find out their careers options, with high levels of engagement reported by the exhibitors and the students this year. Another successful event this year, now looking forward to next year!

The event is organised by Causeway Business Education Partnership and was supported by the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council as part of Enterprise Week 2018, The Honourable The Irish Society, and managed by Causeway Enterprise Agency.


CBEP Careers Convention Helps Students to Make Careers Decisions in 2018


Causeway Enterprise Agency and Women in Business NI were delighted to bring Niamh McAuley of Purple Dot Videos to Coleraine for a Mobile Movie Making Masterclass. A sold-out audience of lively female entrepreneurs were ready and willing to get to grips with using video to market and promote their products and services.

Over the course of the information-packed session, attendees learned what equipment they should look out for (and it costs a lot less than they thought!), tips on taking framing the perfect shots, the apps and programs, both paid and free, that they could use to edit their footage, and the free resources available to make their videos ‘pop’.

With videos accounting for more and more content online, and having a far better reach than traditional text articles, it was shown how vital it was for our attendees to get to grips with online video. Because as Niamh showed with some case studies she shared with us “30 seconds of video beats a sales pitch!”

To join Women in Business NI visit:

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View the full gallery for the event here

Why Mobile Video Matters


Announcing the 2nd Annual Female Entrepreneurs Conference 'Be Bold for Progress' to be held at the Galgorm Resort and Spa, Ballymena on the Thursday 8th March 2018 and calling all women are Roseann Kelly Chief Executive of Women in Business and Jayne Taggart CEO of the Causeway Enterprise Agency with host Sarah Travers.

Hot of the heels of the hugely successful, inaugural Female Entrepreneurs Conference, Be Bold For Change, which was held at Drenagh Estate, last March. Causeway Enterprise Agency and Women in Business are back with an even bigger event. As usual it take’s place on International Women’s day, Thursday 8th March and will be hosted by the fabulous broadcaster and entrepreneur Sarah Travers, at the stunning Galgorm Resort and Spa.

The theme of this year’s conference is “Be Bold for Progress” it has been designed to inspire, by providing with world class speakers and role models who will share their view on building a business for the future, what it will look like in the future and how we will work in it.

This years keynote speakers are Norah Casey and Grainne Kelly. Norah is a broadcaster and publishing entrepreneur was formerly a Dragon in the popular television series Dragons’ den and is a well-known radio and television personality. Grainne Kelly is a mom-of-two and a former travel agent who revolutionized the child travel industry by inventing BubbleBum: the world’s FIRST inflatable booster seat.

Jayne Taggart, CEO of Causeway Enterprise commented;

“Encouraging more Female entrepreneurs to ‘Be Bold for Progress’, by growing their existing business or starting a new one, is crucial to our economic future. We are delighted to be able to deliver a world class event with our partners at Women in Business. Following the success of last years conference our sponsors jumped on board again, this year Causeway Coast and Glens and Mid and East Antrim Councils are headlining the event together, demonstrating collaboration at its best!

Our keynote speakers and panel are all outstanding examples of what Female entrepreneurs can achieve and our delegates must agree as the tickets are already selling fast. There was so much positive feedback after last years event, so we are working hard to raise the bar again. I can’t wait to see everyone on the 8th March, it’s definitely not one to be missed.”

Over 300 delegates will attend the Female Entrepreneurs Conference 2018, made up of business owners, entrepreneurs and start-ups. The event is also supported by, Causeway Chamber, Enterprise Northern Ireland & Ulster University Business School. The female entrepreneurs panel, a popular feature of last years conference is back too, with names to be announced.

For more information about the Be Bold For Progress Female Entrepreneur Conference visit the event page HERE

Be Bold For Progress Female Entrepreneur Conference Launched


Karise Hutchinson has a story to tell. In fact, she probably has many stories. Karise is the mother of four children, wife of a micro business owner, a lecturer and the Provost of the Ulster University’s Coleraine Campus.

On the day after the launch of her book ‘The Power of Stories’, Karise joined us, an interested group of female business owners and leaders, to tell us how stories make connections for learning and bring issues to life. With an interest in management and leadership, Karise has explored the value of stories to business owners. Stories for business owners and managers, are not just marketing tools, they reflect reality. Stories for business owners and managers are not fiction, but are the facts and emotion on which our businesses are built.

We all have a story to tell. Our story tells the reality of what we have experienced, our own successes, our own struggles. In telling our story, we engage all the senses of the listener, and involve them in what we are offering.

Stories can help us create loyal customers. Karise explained that stories are like post-its stuck on a page, stories are almost ‘sticky memories’, and customers remember them. Stories help customers learn about the shape, the smell, the sound, the experience of our products and services. Stories cut through the noise of life, emails, tweets, texts and leave the customer with an experience which will be remembered because it has had an impact.

Some of us were sceptical; some of us were nervous and some of us doodled on our pages when Karise encouraged us to record our own story. However, when a few of the women in the room did tell their story, we listened, we engaged and we were involved, more importantly after the Women in Business event we still remember those stories.

You can purchase Dr Hutchinson's book HERE




Women in Business – The Power of Stories


September ended on a high for the team here at CEA when we opened the doors to our second Lead2Grow conference hosted in the freshly renovated and beautifully located Riverside theatre in partnership again with Ulster University.

It was a sell out event, live streamed to the globe and as we write this today we are wondering how we can capture all the amazing learning from the stellar cast of speakers, but we will try!

Leadership, being a leader, the leader, becoming a leader; are all terms that some of the best leaders struggle with, are great leaders born or made? This very struggle is the reason we created Lead2Grow. Dr Karise Hutchinson opened the conference explaining that we are a small business economy, that as a community or Tribe, as we learnt on Friday, we need our business leaders to generate wealth for us all to prosper. Karise reminded us that leadership development was key to successful businesses of all sizes.

So what did we learn? Here are our takeaways and if you were there and want a refresh or couldn’t make it and want to learn more, the link to the live stream is at the bottom of this blog.

Jill Robb - Origin Digital

Jill gave us a whistle stop tour of all things digital from her Snapchat glasses for catching video on the move to the fact that in the last 6 years the number of marketing platforms available has risen from 150-1500, truly mind blowing, where do you start? She suggested answering a question, “What issue/problem/pain are you going to solve for your customer?”, Create a strategy, a plan, pick your channels, choose your tactics, measure to see what works well and turn your customers into advocates.

The Panel

Our Panel was diverse, including Fiona Bradley, a leadership coach, Andrew Lynas, MD of a £100m+ food business, Paula Hillman, MBE, PSNI Chief Superintendent, and Tre Sheppard of Hope & Fury Records. 

Our host for the day Mark Carruthers chaired an inspiring Q&A session with our panel, there was so much learning, here are some of their Top Tips;


Do what you are good at, don’t be all things to all people

Your Talent Pool is critical – get the right people on your bus

Leaders are Culture Chiefs, set the values and create the culture

Great leaders coach, mentor and empower their team to become leaders in their own right

Leaders use the language of success

The Keynote Speakers

After a quick cup of tea, we were ready for our Keynote, one of the top 20 speakers and futurologists in the world Patrick Dixon, accompanied by his associate Ravi Dua of Global Innovations….

To say that Patrick burst onto the stage is an understatement, he launched into to telling us that he encounters ‘institutional blindness’ everywhere he goes, that often simple things were being missed and over looked by leaders around the world.

He said, ’take off the glasses and avoid losing perspective’ and used a simple story of his time as a waiter. He learned quickly that if he smiled and was speedy and courteous his tips would be good, compared to a restaurant he was recently at where all the guests were using the torch on their phones to read the menu! No one can take their customers for granted today. Create some magic for our organisations by making small changes - move with change for success

One of the most arresting slides of the day was titled:


Do things you believe in

It could sound glib, even condescending coming from anyone else but Patrick went on to describe the world as it has become, he described the FUTURE as Fast, Urban, Tribal, Universal, Radical, Ethical, as small business we have the ability to be agile, reach out and grow our tribes based on the Trust we build with them.

He illustrated how impatient we have all become, if a video hasn’t loaded within 3 seconds we have lost interest! As leaders we need to connect with our emotion - our passions – our needs – our customers needs!

Ravi then encouraged us all to tear up the old roadmap of how to create and grow a business, he suggested like Patrick that we needed to go deeper find our inner compass…. where Passion meets Purpose.

If 85% of the worlds population is living in emerging countries, then they are our market, we need to Lead2Grow and go Local2Global….

The challenge is set and we are here to help whether you haven’t started yet, have just started or have been in business for a while.

A final thought on an amazing few hours spent with inspiring people, in the Riverside Theatre at Ulster University in Coleraine, overlooking the beautiful River Bann, How lucky are we…comes from our CEO Jayne Taggart.

“I truly hope you enjoyed the day and that we have inspired lots of new ideas to help you as leaders grow your business. Let’s not be a Kodak, let’s look forwards instead of backwards. In the 1920’s a business was expected to have a lifespan of 67 years, today its 15, the landscape is constantly changing, the companies that win invest in their staff and in themselves as leaders. Don’t get left behind.”

View the Livestream of the event here

View the full galley of the event here

Attendee? A further email will be released, distributing slides and an evaluation to capture your thoughts. Keep an eye on your inbox!


When Passion meets Purpose #Lead2Grow



Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency, conference speaker Arlene Foster MLA and Dr Karise Hutchinson, Provost of Ulster University’s Coleraine campus at the launch of Lead 2 Grow: Leading Change for Success.



Causeway Enterprise Agency and Ulster University have recruited Europe’s leading futurist to help local businesses take advantage of the uncertain and fast-changing business and political landscape.

The keynote speaker at September’s Lead 2 Grow conference, Patrick Dixon, claims that businesses with unrealised growth should be working to understand the unknown and turn uncertainty into an advantage.

Dixon, who was recognised as one of the world’s most influential business thinkers by The Times ‘Thinkers 50’ list, is a business adviser to many of the world’s largest companies including Google, Microsoft and IBM.

He commented: “Technological, environmental and political changes are disrupting the business landscape at an ever-growing pace. What’s missing in many Northern Ireland companies is the process of understanding the unknown, using data on global trends, adjacent industries and underlying forces to make informed decisions on their futures.”

The event is to be addressed by Arlene Foster, MLA who will join Dixon, international start-up mentor, Ravi Dua, co-owner of Belfast-based Origin Digital, Jill Robb, event host, BBC political broadcaster, Mark Carruthers and a panel of distinguished local business leaders.

Dr Karise Hutchinson, Provost of Ulster University’s Coleraine campus said:

“Today’s business climate is characterised by political and economic uncertainty, particularly relating to Brexit and the collapse of the Northern Ireland Assembly. As a result, businesses need to be prepared for many eventualities in the short, medium and long terms. The panel at Lead 2 Grow is a world renowned group of forward thinkers who are ahead of the curve in their respective industries and will have a wealth of insight for businesses of all sizes in attendance.”

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency added:

“Lead 2 Grow will provide business leaders with the tools they need to not just respond to change but to embrace and prepare for it. The most successful companies are those with the greatest ability to change with the times, so we are aiming to promote this mind-set to the businesses in attendance.”

‘Lead 2 Grow: Leading Change for Success’ takes place on Friday 29 September at the Riverside Theatre, Coleraine in association with Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council and  the Chartered Management Institute. For more information visit


Local Businesses Should Take Advantage Of The Unknown


The Mountsandel Willow Weaving project was a heritage skills development programme delivered with local primary schools in Coleraine. The programme, funded by the Heritage Lottery through their Sharing Heritage programme, took local children on a journey to Mesolothic times.

Willow artist Louise McLean from The Designerie, delivered a series of willow weaving workshops with children from 5 local Primary Schools. A total of 135 pupils participated in the workshops which introduced them to the traditional heritage skill of willow weaving.

During the project Louise talked to the children about the historical use of willow, the local sources and the tools needed for crafting willow. She carefully demonstrated her craft and facilitated the children to individually design and make their own willow shapes – including fish, stars, butterfly, and garlic baskets. The children then worked as a group and made a replica Mesolithic Hut and Louise related what the children were learning to the Mountsandel site at Coleraine.

Commenting on the grant award Jayne Taggart said ‘The grant allowed us to deliver workshops which not only increased the children’s knowledge of the heritage at Mounsandel but also provided the opportunity for the children to express their creativity and learn new design and craft skills’.

At the end of the project the Mesolithic huts were displayed at each school and included in the 'Irish History Starts Here' exhibition at Coleraine Town Hall.

A final event was completed with the children participating in outdoor activity at Mountsandel Fort, with many of the children visiting Mountsandel for the first time.


A Journey into Mesolithic Times



Set against the backdrop of a blue sky and sparkling sea, with the rugged Skerries on the horizon , the scene could not have been more fitting. Nourished by lunch from Tanya and her team, enthused by the ambience of the Arcadia building, and garnered by the camaraderie of our Women in Business colleagues, we gathered to listen to Paula Hillman, Chief Superintendent of the PSNI.

If the view outside was breath taking, Paula’s talk was inspirational, colourful and motivating. Speaking of her career and her personal thoughts on leadership, she not only gave us a potted history of her journey through her profession, but an account of PSNI’s own story.

We were intrigued to hear of how when she joined there had been a three year gap in the recruitment of women to the forces. We were transported back to the eighties when women wore skirts, had a monthly allowance for tights and these along with thin soled shoes did little to help when chasing criminals on the street. These were not the only accessories of a female officer. At this time, on passing out, male officers were suitably equipped with protective clothing and personal protection weapons. Females on the other hand were equipped with, a handbag! Paula actually produced her handbag, a plain black rectangular long-strapped affair which she and her colleagues were supposed to carry on the beat. In a nod to its purpose, it had a hole on the top of it for the radio antennae to protrude.

Although this commentary provided much laughter in the room, Paula was not critical of the then RUC, and its attitudes to women. That was the way it was. It was not perfect but it was typical of society at that time. Things have progressed significantly and Paula has been involved in many of those changes, flexible working and equality high on her agenda during her professional career.

Along with an insight into her chosen career, we also enjoyed Paula’s thoughts on leadership. She encouraged us to take support from our female colleagues, to attend forums and network events like those of Women In Business. She urged us to support each other and not to feel guilty about the choices we make. Nothing stands still and if we choose to take time out to mind our children, it will pass, but if we choose to work full time, why should we feel guilty about doing so. She suggested that we know our own strengths, but also our limitations and gave us a piece of advice we all took away to put in practice, “Be Yourself – With Style”.

View the full galley HERE


Networking lunch with Chief Superintendent Paula Hilman MBE




Guest speaker at the Inaugural Female Entrepreneurs Conference 2017 held at Drenagh House, Limavady Dr Leah Totton of Dr Leah Clinics .

View a full gallery from this event HERE


Yesterday was a great day, this week was an extraordinary week. At Causeway Enterprise Agency we have been hosting an event for International Women’s day for 16 years. This year we decided to take it up a notch, so along with the team at Women in Business and our supportive sponsors, we gathered over 240 women entrepreneurs at the stunning Drenagh House on the Causeway Coast and challenged them to #be bold for change and boy did they deliver….

Tina McKensie roared on to the stage with a candid honest tale of the personal traumas she has lived through and an infectious energy for business, especially women in business. She described her vision and unapologetic ambition for her business and her team, she made the whole room feel that anything is possible if you are brave and bold and drive forward towards your goals.

Leah Totten, Dr Leah, winner of the Apprentice and local girl was up next after a quick-fire networking session lead by the Bespoke Communications girls, Sarah and Camilla, the room quickly erupted as everyone started to connect and try and help each other, have an ask, givers gain was the message. Having Lord Sugar as a business partner must guarantee a great start to any business, you would think? Leah outlined her passion for improving her industry, her outrage at the lack of regulation and admitted it would have taken her longer to get started without her big hitting partner, however we have no doubt she would have made it happen and that she will be one to watch in the future.

Our audience is always diverse and its important to us to keep it real and easy to relate to, so next up was our panel of 6 local entrepreneurs to tell their stories, biggest challenges and how they had been bold! From Coffee Shops to civil engineering, Game of Thrones tours to Present Trees and Rapeseed oil to Handbags, they described the no’s and the knockbacks that had driven them on, the highs and the lows of running a business and having a life. The warmth, humour and passion they spoke with stunned the room, we will be talking about this panel for a long time to come.

After a late lunch, it was the turn of Petra Wetzel, of West Brewery to speak (without notes), the corporate lawyer now Brewery queen, told of her journey from the first Dragons Den Pitch to business failure to a growing successful global business. Once again honesty, integrity, passion and energy hit the stage, sheer grit and determination to prove everyone wrong literally drove her to succeed. Petra has now started a fund to give back and help other women get into business, she loved her first visit to Northern Ireland and felt an instant connection, we loved her too, we think we will adopt her!

We all go to networking events and conferences, listen to great speakers, meet new people, but sometimes something special happens, it could be luck, a happy accident or it could be one of those days when the chemistry happens, the buzz in the room grows and women do what they do best share, support and connect with each other. We are excited to be part of what comes next…


If you want to be bold for change call 028 7035 6318 for a chat, Causeway Enterprise Agency can help





What Happens When Women are Bold…