skip to main content

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.




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…


The Honourable The Irish Society is providing financial support for three years to the Causeway Business Education Partnership to assist with the facilitation of a key event that promotes the message of business and enterprise to our local schools within the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council. CBEP services a total of 19 post primary schools across the borough and through its activities will engage over 1600 young people.

Edward Montgomery, The Honourable The Irish Society said: “We are delighted to support the Causeway Business Education Partnership for the next three years. It is very important our young people are made fully aware of all the opportunities available to them on leaving school”

David Grainger, Chairman Causeway Business Education Partnership said: “It is great to have The Honourable The Irish Society as a sponsor again this year and have their commitment to sponsor for three years. The events that CBEP deliver in partnership with Causeway Enterprise Agency greatly benefit pupils throughout the Borough and help them to focus on possible career and further education opportunities”.

Causeway Business Education supported by the Honourable the Irish Society


View full gallery from this event HERE

Time on our minds - the most precious commodity of the entrepreneur

Taking the time to reflect, to learn and to grow a business is not a luxury, it’s a necessity and we have never been reminded of that fact more so than when we recently hosted a Women in Business Networking Lunch with Tanya Gillen, founder of The Arcadia in Portrush. During her presentation, Tanya shared her experience of discovering how work smart, how to be more efficient and effective by, wait for it, taking some time out, by creating time and space for yourself, by investing in that precious commodity of time. As we listened to Tanya talk about how she made the transition from busy TV producer to pursuing her dream opening her own yoga centre in the previously derelict and iconic Arcadia building in Portrush, delegates realised that time was a key factor in her success.

Just like many female entrepreneurs, Tanya is a busy working mum and is a real perfectionist so time is really precious and something that she felt she had little to spare. Yet when she paused and invested some time to think about and reflect upon her business she got great results. She made decisions that challenged her way of thinking and hasn’t looked back. As we listened to Tanya we all realised that we need to take a bit of time to think about how we can streamline processes within our business to free us up to work on the things that only we as the business owner can do; those tasks that require the personal touch.

Tanya rounded off her presentation with a meditation exercise when she asked us “what would you do now if nothing was holding your back?”

We asked one of the delegates, Debbie Rymer, founder of SAND Marketing, Porstewart what her thoughts were. Here’s what she shared:

“ I would A) employ someone, B) get a solicitor to handle my legal issues and C) get myself a mentor and guess what? A solicitor who’s office specialises in my needs was sat right beside me, another female entrepreneur who started her business a number of years ago offered me some mentoring and I had an epiphany about a young lady who would be a great staff member for me and all of this happened because I took the time to attend this event.

So you see, while I thought I could not afford the time to go to this networking lunch, attending it has in fact saved me mountains of time, and to be very honest, has given me some much needed perspective. I solved my legal problems, I have a marvellous new mentor who has been there, done that, I met a new client and I now have a new staff member, which has doubled my capacity as well as creating a wonderful opportunity to an aspiring young marketer. The result? I am being freed up to work on some other projects that are calling my name and will result in a more profitable business model”

We all need to “take time to make time”. This event reminded us of the power of learning from others, of connecting with other entrepreneurs and of the fantastic network of support that we women in business can offer each other, Chances are another woman in the room offers a solution to your problem and you in turn offer a solution to someone else’s. Next time you think you haven’t time to attend a seminar or a networking lunch I strongly urge you to make the time! You never know it might just help you to free up some time in the longer run.

Find out about our upcoming events check out our event page HERE


Time on our minds - the most precious commodity of the entrepreneur



It’s early January and the New Year’s resolutions are still intact. A group of dynamic ladies joined us at Causeway Enterprise Agency for that unique blend of inspiration and coffee that our Women in Business events always offer. Fiona Bradley facilitated a session with the very apt title ‘New Year – new mindset for success in 2017’. After grabbing a coffee and a luscious raspberry and white scone, we took the opportunity to connect with our fellow female entrepreneurs, particularly seeking out introductions with those ladies we were meeting for the first time. Together, we spent a couple hours focused on a positive mindset and obliterating those barriers that impede progress.

The great theologian and poet Francois Fenelon once said, ‘The more you say, the less people remember’. It can be said that it’s always the mark of an excellent event, when the participants have more to say than the facilitator, yet we all go home having learnt something. In the group, we talked about where we want to be in 2017, and we realised everyone has different priorities. And when it comes to surmounting roadblocks, everyone listened to how other people in the group have overcome something similar. That’s collaborative learning at its best!

Fiona kept the pace moving nicely, and did a great job of bringing ideas out for everyone’s benefit. Hopefully we all learnt the resilience to stick to our resolutions beyond the last week in January for once! There was a sense of a collective goal for 2017 around us adopting a positive mindset and taking small steps each day towards achieving our vision.


View the gallery for this event HERE



A New Mindset for Success in 2017!



Seen here recently receiving ‘Best in Professional Services-Small Business’, is winner Jayne Taggart Chief Executive of the Causeway Enterprise Agency Coleraine, presented by Women in Business with Sponsor Representative from the Progressive Building Society.

Jayne brings home ‘Women in Business Award’ to the North Coast.

In recognition of the exceptional work delivered by Jayne Taggart CEO of the Causeway Enterprise Agency in Coleraine, Women in Business has presented Jayne with the ‘Best in Professional Services – Small Business’ Award.

The annual award ceremony showcases and acknowledges the hard work and achievements of some of the most successful, entrepreneurial and inspiring business women throughout Northern Ireland. Now in their 6th year, all sectors and industries are invited so that the best of home grown female entrepreneurs are recognised. This is particularly for the valuable contribution that women make to the economic life of Northern Ireland.

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive Causeway Enterprise Agency Coleraine, is an ambassador and coordinator of the Women in Business network for the Causeway Coast & Glens area. Proactively developing opportunities for business networking events, these are held throughout the north coast inviting members and non-members to participate.

Upon receiving her award, Jayne stated “this is a great honour for me and my team at the CEA. I wish to acknowledge their support, as we are all very passionate about making the north coast a great place to do business.

“I genuinely feel privileged to do the work we do, supporting our start-ups and micro businesses within the area. It is a rewarding position, to be able to support others to realise their dreams. Making that leap of faith to start your own business shows great courage, particularly for female entrepreneurs”.

John Armstrong, Chairman of the Causeway Enterprise Agency stated, “We are delighted to hear of Jayne’s success in the Women in Business awards. This reflects accurately her professional efforts in the local community and as CEO of Causeway Enterprise Agency she is delivering on the ambitious strategic goals that have been set by the Board.”

This award was judged on businesswoman who consistently exceed the requirements of internal and external customers. This includes consistently meeting or exceeding challenging objectives, delivering the highest levels of service responsiveness and innovation within a professional practice.

Jayne continued, “We have some amazing ambassadors and role models in this area and it was fantastic to see three of them recognised for their business development. These include winner of the ‘WIB Excellence in IT’ award Sue McLaughlin of Bluebird Care and finalists Geri Martin of Chocolate Manor and Alex McGarry of The Bubbly Bar.

“I strongly encourage any new entrepreneurs, especially women, to come forward with their ideas, and avail of the opportunities to showcase their achievements and support others. These awards put out a strong message that women across the country are making a positive contribution to our local economy. I extend a warm welcome for more to join our local network, and enjoy the benefits of networking with a group of like-minded women, sharing the challenges and journey of running a business, and who knows…become future award nominees and winners themselves!”

For a list of the forthcoming Women in Business networking events and other opportunities provided by the Causeway Enterprise Agency Coleraine, go to with additional information available on Facebook and Twitter, or telephone 028 7035 6318

Jayne brings home ‘Women in Business Award’ to the North Coast


"Think before you ink" was Debbie's key massage at our Women in Business NI event last week where she introduced us all to a new way of delivering our brand stories, guaranteeing enjoyable and highly shareable posts & blogs that our audience will remember!

To join us for our next Women in Business event, just click here for further details


Game on - Business Story Telling Simplified


The gallery for this event is available here


Minister for Justice, MLA Claire Sugden and Mayor of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council Alderman Maura Hickey were key speakers at the recent ‘Women in Leadership’ event. Organised by the Causeway Enterprise Agency in association with Women in Business on 9th September at Flowerfield Arts Centre Portstewart, it brought together female leaders to hear the political leaders speak.


Hosted by media presenter Sarah Travers, the event was a huge success with women attending from all over the borough to hear the ladies share their leadership experiences and skills as they both work in our political arena representing very different communities.


Minister for Justice Claire Sugden shared her journey on how she became Minister for Justice and how she will continue to represent her local constituency as this is where she was originally voted into office. Minister Sugden is a strong role model, who is young, vibrant and open to discussing issues which many other political leaders tend to shy away from. As an Independent, she also has the political opportunity to address issues and push the system farther than many of her counterparts due to their party politic restrictions.


Mayor Maura Hickey was equally engaging as she took guests through her journey of the troubles when living in Belfast during the seventies, bringing up a family and how she ran a campaign to ensure the first SDLP representative was voted into Belfast City Council. She has continued her journey when she moved to Portstewart and strongly believes in the north coast and what the borough can achieve with the right leadership. Maura is a leader in her local party, and continues to drive development forward for the Borough as she aims to represent both sides of the community. Both ladies worked together when they were councillors in the legacy Coleraine Borough Council and endeavour to deliver strong leadership in their fields.


Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive Causeway Enterprise Agency Coleraine stated, “Mayor Hickey is an exceptional role model ,making a very significant contribution to our Borough since she came into office and everyone has nothing but praise for her in her leadership role. We are also all very proud of Minister Sugden and continue to support her in her achievements at Stormont.


“What came across from speakers including those on the panel, was how open and honest they were in terms of their roles, their journey and their challenges. What struck me was that they are ordinary women who have self-belief and the confidence to grab the opportunities life has thrown at them and in doing so they are making a real difference in our community.


“The event also showed how those attending have the same purpose and potential. I would like to personally thanks all those for coming particularly our Minister and Mayor as it was a great event and a great networking opportunity.”


For a list of the forthcoming Women in Business networking events and other opportunities provided by the Causeway Enterprise Agency Coleraine, go to with additional information available on Facebook and Twitter, or telephone 028 7035 6318.


Women in Leadership, leading the way from the North Coast.