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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.



Pictured L-R: George Robinson MLA, Dr Karise Hutchinson (Director CEA), Gregory Campbell MP, Adrian McQuillan MLA, Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister Jonathan Bell, Cllr Trevor Clarke, CEA Chief Executive Jayne Taggar, Dr Mark McKinney (Director CEA) and Norman Lynas (Director CEA)  

Enterprise, Trade and Investment Minister, Jonathan Bell, has praised local businesses for the positive contribution they are making to the economy.

Speaking during a visit to Coleraine and Portstewart, Jonathan Bell said he had been impressed by the wealth of skills and talent within the local area.

Mr Bell visited Causeway Enterprise Agency, Lynas Food Services, Zing Design and Print and Instagiv in Portstewart.

Paying tribute to Chief Executive Jayne Taggart and her team, Jonathan Bell said: “Over the last 10 years at Causeway Enterprise Agency, Jayne and her staff have supported 1,084 new business start-ups, generating an economic contribution to the Causeway area of £65.04 million and 1,734 jobs.

“I would like to take this opportunity to congratulate them for their contribution to the successful delivery of Invest Northern Ireland’s Regional Start Initiative across the North West Region.”

He also met with a number of councillors, MLAs Adrian McQuillan and George Robinson and East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell.

“It has been a real pleasure to meet with business people from Coleraine and Portstewart today and I would like to thank the MP, Gregory Campbell, and MLA Adrian McQuillan for inviting me to the area.

“From print and design, to food services and mobile technology - today I saw a wide range of the innovation and skill that gives local businesses a vibrancy that will continue to pay dividends for the economy.

“By investing in new product development and external markets, local businesses have shown they can maintain a strong foothold in terms of ongoing sustainability and growth.”

Source: Coleraine Times


Minister Jonathan Bell Hails Local Businesses


To celebrate International Women’s Day 2015 Causeway Enterprise Agency invites local women on Thursday 05th March to the Royal Portrush Golf Club for their annual Go Women Event sponsored by Invest Northern Ireland and Coleraine Borough Council in association with Causeway Chamber of Commerce and Women in Business.  Sarah Travers will compere the event which will feature a key note address from one of NI’s most successful female entrepreneurs – Mary McCall founder and Managing Director of - an online promotional platform designed to drive digital and mobile footfall into local businesses.  

In the three years since launch, TreatTicket has gained over 450,000 ‘opt in’ subscribers; sells ‘treats’ in 31 cities throughout the UK; and has developed an innovative new mobile self-service Saas platform to connect local businesses to local shoppers. In addition to launching and growing one of NI’s most innovative and successful e-commerce businesses, Mary has secured £1M in private investment since 2011, despite the challenges presented by the current economic climate. has already won a number of prestigious industry accolades, winning a Digital Advertising NI award; a Chartered Institute of Marketing Excellence Award; and Business Eye Awards.  It was named as one of the Top 50 Belfast Businesses; has formed a successful marketing partnership with UTV Media plc and was recently invited by the London Stock Exchange to join their ELITE programme.

Go Women, now in its 11th year marks the date by encouraging, motivating, recognising and celebrating female entrepreneurship with an annual supper and networking event that typically attracts over 100 women. In addition to the key note address Sarah Travers will interview a panel of successful local business women including Leonna Kane of Broighter Gold, Sharon Schindler of Shola Coach B&B, Louise McKeag of McKeag Opticians and Sue McClaughlan of Bluebird Care, all award winning local business women.

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency, organiser of the Go Women event encourages women of all ages and backgrounds to come along and learn from these inspiring business women saying “All around the world, International Women's Day represents an opportunity to celebrate the achievements of women and we have some fantastic success stories right here on our doorstep which we will celebrate on the night. Our Go Women event provides an opportunity for women to learn from these talented female entrepreneurs, to network and to discover tips and techniques on how to start up and grow their own businesses. Whether you are employed and thinking about career progression, are thinking about starting up your own business or want to learn how to grow your business this event offers lots of tips, advice and sign posting. Business advisors and mentors will be on hand throughout the evening from Causeway Enterprise Agency, Invest Northern Ireland and Coleraine Borough Council to discuss funded business support programmes to help women start up and grow their businesses. Women in Business NI and Causeway Chamber are also supporting the event and will be available to discuss the benefits of joining their business networking organisations.

The ticket only event starts at 6.30pm. Further information and tickets are available at

Causeway Enterprise Agency encourage women to “make it happen” in business in 2015


Dara’s baking hobby is now making him dough thanks to support from Causeway Enterprise Agency and Network Personnel. Pictured from right to left are Anna Logan of Causeway Enterprise Agency, Dara OhArtghaile of Ursa Minor Bakery and Geraldine Anslow of Network Personnel

Starting a business can be a challenge and never more so than when the person wanting to start up has limited resources. Access to funding for start-ups can be challenging and particularly if the individual is unemployed. Causeway Enterprise Agency in partnership with Network Personnel is committed to helping the unemployed and removing the barriers they may be experiencing when trying to start up a business. As a result of this support new businesses are starting up in Ballycastle, creating new jobs in the town and resulting in a positive result for the local community.

Through Invest NI’s Regional Start Initiative “Go For It” offered at Causeway Enterprise Agency in Ballycastle, entrepreneurs receive free business training and mentoring to explore their business ideas and develop a business plan. Where further specialist training or specific qualifications are required Network Personnel provide this through their “Source” Programme. As a further incentive to unemployed individuals a NEET (Not in Employment, Education or Training) Grant from Invest NI is provided when the business is set up.

Business is mounting up for Joni and Ian

Business is mounting up for Joni  McCord (centre left)  and Ian White (far right) having received support from Anna Logan of Causeway Enterprise Agency (L) and Geraldine Anslow of Network Personnel (centre right)  

Business partners Joni McCord and Ian White set up “In the Mount” framing business in autumn 2014 after completing “Go For It” at Causeway Enterprise Agency and receiving training through “Source” with Network Personnel. Ian attended training in framing and Joni completed a Creative Crafts Level 2 qualification equipping them with the specialist skills required to operate and manage their business. Joni and Ian commented “The support from both Causeway Enterprise Agency and Network Personnel has been so invaluable, we could not have got to where we are today without Anna and Geraldine.”

Find In The Mount on Facebook

Dara’s passion for baking is now making him dough.

Dara OhArtghaile of Ursa Minor Bakery pictured with the team at Lost & Found Coleraine who he supplied with his speciality breads

When Dara OhArtghaile contacted Causeway Enterprise Agency he had a wanted to start a business baking speciality bread, however being unemployed he was being held back because of a lack of funds to pay for a specialist bread making course. 

Dara sings the praises of both Go For It and Source and says that “I never could have done this without the support I got from Anna Logan at Causeway Enterprise Agency, that is how it all started, I contacted her to see if I could turn what was essentially a hobby into a business. Anna helped me develop my idea and write my business plan and then put me in touch with Geraldine Anslow at Network Personnel. Through their “Source” Programme I secured a funded place on a speciality Bread making course in Bath with French Bread Maker Richard Bertinet.  The course really broadened my experience and helped me understand how I could change things and develop my own new recipes without destroying the essence of the bread. The training and support I received is definitely the reason why I now have a successful business and I am really excited to develop the business further in 2015.

Upon completion of both courses Dara secured his NEET grant from Invest NI and used it to set up his business. Dara has not looked back and now spends his days making all sorts of dough. His breads are a firm favourite on the menu in cafes and restaurants all over the Causeway Coast including Thyme & Co Ballycastle, Lost & Found in Coleraine and Babushka in Portrush.

Find Ursa Minor Bakery on their website, or on Facebook and Twitter

Have a business idea?  Need a business plan?  Contact Anna Logan today by email here or call Anna on 02870 356318 ext 5

More details on the Source programme can be found on the Network Personnel website

Partnership approach removes barriers to Business Start-ups in Ballycastle


Attending the Women in Business event held at the Bellisle Spa are from the left Eimear McDermott of Voya, Sharon Thorpe, Bellisle Spa Manager, guest Jan McCrudden of Cherished China Vintage Hire with Jayne Taggart of  Causeway Enterprise Agency

North Coast Women in Business members enjoyed a morning of Christmas networking in December, courtesy of Bellisle House & Spa in Coleraine, who sponsored and hosted the event

The group were treated to a tour by Bellisle Spa manager, Sharon Thorpe, as well as complementary mini treatments, including hand and arm massages. North Coast’s WIB NI Regional Ambassador, Jayne Taggart, also received a free facial during a demo from organic skincare brand, Voya.

With tasty mince pies and refreshments, plus a gift from Aromatherapy Associates for each member and free entry to a fabulous prize draw, it was another great festive event from WIB NI. Congratulations to the prize-winner, Janet Millar, who will now enjoy a free treatment at Bellisle House & Spa!

If you would like to attend events like this, sign up for our newsletter by clicking here, or to get more information on the Women in Business network visit  their website

Women leading the way


The next time you source a hard-to-find item, think twice, as it might just reveal a gap in the market for a great business idea…

That’s precisely what happened to Maurice Lucas in 2009, when he went hunting for a few artificial trees for his house. Unable to find what he wanted, he turned to the internet, but discovered that to get his trees, they’d have to come from England – with a hefty postal charge attached.

“I thought - if I’m struggling to find these, everybody else will be struggling,” he says. Without further ado, his business idea for selling artificial plants was born and having recently left his manager’s job with a local retailer, Maurice decided to Go for it.   

“I went on Causeway Enterprise Agency’s Go for it programme,” he says. “I had my business idea and they took me through the business plan.”

Having sold his car to buy stock, Maurice had moved Best Artificial from his home to a Causeway Enterprise workplace unit by the end of the year. 

“CEA have been fantastic the whole way with me,” he says. “They’re there every step of the way. Even five years down the line, I’m still going there for advice.”

Initially planning to open a small shop and sell via ebay, Maurice’s internet sales took off and Best Artificial now sells a wide range of artificial trees, gardenware, flower and topiary balls through ebay, Amazon and Facebook, as well as via email marketing.

With seven full-time staff, Maurice has subsequently seen his business grow at the rate of 80% per year. 
As he says: “That’s fantastic!” 

Artificial is simply the Best!


Brothers, Connory and Damian McGill, fulfilled their career ambitions when they launched Sign-It Design in 1998 with the help of Causeway Enterprise Agency.

With Damian working in London and Connory creating CAD (computer-aided design) drawings for a local electrical company, both were keen for a change. Computers were slowly beginning to be used in signage design and with experience in creating logos, signage and fliers, Connory quickly identified a gap in the market for fully fabricated signage. 

 “We were the first sign company in Northern Ireland to use a digital camera to put images onto signs,” he says. “Then we started doing brand design.”

With Connory kick-starting the business from home, Damian joined as partner and the pair took part in what is now the Regional Start Initiative at Causeway Enterprise Agency. Funded by Invest NI, the programme provided a start-up grant which helped the brothers build their business and they subsequently moved into a CEA workplace unit in Loughanhill.

“We spent three years in the CEA unit - from 2002-2005,” says Damian McGill. “It was a great help and they gave great advice to us.”

Now in their impressive new factory in Wattstown Business Park, Coleraine, Sign-It currently employ a full-time workforce of 11, providing a full range of in-house brand management services. 

With five vans on the road, they cover the North Coast, Limavady, Dungiven, Maghera, Kilrea, Ballymena and Ballycastle areas, with McAtamney Butchers, Morelli Ice Cream, Lynas Foodservice, Ground Espresso Bars Ltd and Bob & Bert’s Coffee, amongst their local clients.

Says Damian: “We went from nothing to something!”

Signs of success…


Once the place to be for dancing the night away, and then vacant for many years the iconic building that is The Arcadia in Portrush has enjoyed a new lease of life over the past five years, thanks to Tanya Gillen. Having already launched a café, fitness classes and workshops, Tanya dreamt of hosting wedding parties and an evening supper club; an extension to her business that would take significant planning and investment. 

Thanks to insightful business mentoring from her Venture Causeway champions, Jack Cassidy (JKC BMW) and Norman Lynas (Lynas Food Service) coupled with their investment of £10,000 Tanya has renovated The Arcadia to create more business and employment opportunities.

“I pitched to Venture Causeway for investment for a Supper Club and to improve the space available for weddings,” she says. “I also hoped I’d get a bit of business support and I am so lucky to have benefitted from both.”

With her champions on board, Tanya was given free rein to complete the renovations, all of which were done by local contractors. She subsequently replaced the tiled floor and large cumbersome counter downstairs, and invested in furnishings for her cafe. 

As a result, Tanya doubled her seating space and is now taking bookings for weddings and private functions creating around six new jobs.

“We now also have Supper Club once a month,” she adds. “The Arcadia is going to be a facility for chefs to come in and serve a large group in one sitting in a beautiful setting with panoramic views of the Atlantic. We hope to have it once a month, then every three weeks, then every Saturday night!”

“The investment was very important, but the mentoring from Norman and Jack has been invaluable. Jack was very supportive and Norman Lynas was a big influence – his business acumen and support has steered me through.

“One of the most pertinent questions he asked me was – is this a hobby or a business? It really sharpened my focus and has made me re-think things. The advice was very insightful and I’m very positive about the future!”

A bright future for The Arcadia!


Enterprise NI Awards hosts Junior Minister, Jonathan Bell, ML (left) and UTV Presenter Sarah Travers together with (right) John D’Arcy Chairman of Enterprise NI present John Armstrong with his Special Recognition Award at the Northern Ireland Enterprise Awards held in Belfast at the end of November.

Local enterprise and entrepreneurship was celebrated at the annual Enterprise Northern Ireland awards held in Belfast. The purpose of the awards is to showcase the work done by the Northern Ireland small business community and the efforts of the local enterprise agency network to support business development. Winners included Armstrong Medical from Coleraine who received a special recognition award for business impact, with the award being sponsored by Business First Magazine.

Established since 1984, family owned and managed Armstrong Medical is recognised as a leading manufacturer of superior quality disposable respiratory products for anaesthesia and critical care application and currently employs 115 staff, markets to over 70 distributors in 50 countries and is continuing to develop its product range into neo-natal respiratory systems and deep sea diving.  

Hosted by broadcaster Sarah Travers, the keynote speaker was Junior Minister, Jonathan Bell, ML and the event was supported by Legacy Wealth.

Chief Executive of Enterprise NI, Gordon Gough, said: 

“Enterprise Northern Ireland is the voice of local entrepreneurship and we’re very pleased to celebrate great examples of local ingenuity and talent. Helping to develop strong companies that create employment and export across the world is an important part of what we do. These awards are an excellent chance to recognise hard work and dedication of businesses and members of the ENI network. Whether it is through offering business support or highlighting access to finance initiatives, our network of enterprise agencies is playing an important role in stimulating Northern Ireland’s economy.”

John Armstrong, MD of Armstrong Medical and Chairman of Causeway Enterprise Agency,  said of his award, 

“It is a great honour to receive a special recognition award at the Northern Ireland Enterprise Awards. This award is testimony to all the great work that goes on in Armstrong Medical and to the superb staff employed here.”

Enterprise Northern Ireland is the organisation responsible for representing the interests of Local Enterprise Agencies and small businesses with central government, official agencies, the private sector and other organisations operating in the field of enterprise and economic development. For more information on the awards visit

Armstrong Medical win Special Recognition Award for their contribution to the local economy


Chief Executive of the Causeway Enterprise Agency, Jayne Taggart, with guest speaker, Karise Hutchinson, at the Causeway Enterprise Agency's Women in Business lunch at the Lodge Hotel 

North Coast business women marked Women’s Entrepreneurship Day (WED) on November 19 at a special Women in Business (WIB) NI lunch at the Lodge Hotel in Coleraine.

The event, which took place during Global Entrepreneurship Week 2014, focused on how local business women can become successful leaders and drive their businesses forward.
Guest speaker, Dr Karise Hutchinson - Head of the Department of Business and Enterprise at the University of Ulster – subsequently talked about the importance of ‘Learning to Lead: The Key to Growing your Business’.

Arriving for the Causeway Enterprise Agency's Women in Business lunch at the Lodge Hotel are, from McWilliams Associates: Shiela Mitchell and Mary McWilliams, with Collette McCotter 

“I think women face a greater challenge in taking the time out to invest in their personal development,” said Dr Hutchinson. “The demands on them and the challenges are huge. If they want to grow their business and invest in their future, they need to take the time to do that. I think it’s important if you want to excel, to do ordinary things extraordinarily well. To do that, you need to carve out the time to focus and craft your skills”.

Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency (CEA), and WIB’s Regional Ambassador for the north coast, Jayne Taggart, said Dr Hutchinson’s address carried an important message for Northern Ireland’s female entrepreneurs.

“It’s important that local business women recognise their roles as leaders, regardless of whether they’re a CEO or not, and that they invest time in developing these essential skills,” she said. “To effectively lead others, as Dr Hutchinson pointed out, you need to be open to the idea of continual personal learning and development.This talk was, I think, a timely reminder of this, and a confidence boost for our Women in Business members, as well as other local female entrepreneurs. I think that as women, we can be highly influential leaders - we just need to acknowledge ourselves in this role first, before we can realise our potential.”

Making introductions at the Causeway Enterprise Agency's Women in Business lunch at the Lodge Hotel are Anne Bell Head of Coleraine High School, Jill Peterson of the Stables Flower Company and Danielle Tagg of Articlave Day Care Nursery 

WED, which launched at the United Nations headquarters in New York on November 19, aims to be a leading force in supporting women’s entrepreneurship from 2014 onwards. Created in partnership with the US State Department and 153 countries and their global ambassadors, the intention is to ‘Empower, Support and Celebrate Women Entrepreneurs Worldwide’.

Guest speaker, Karise Hutchinson, of the Ulster University Business School, addressing the audience at the Causeway Enterprise Agency's Women in Business lunch at the Lodge Hotel 

Women in Business (WIB) NI celebrate Women’s Entrepreneurship Day


Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency at Buckingham Palace, being congratulated by the Queen, in recognition of her outstanding business success.

The Queen’s Awards for Enterprise are the UK’s most prestigious awards for business success. There are 4 categories of Queen’s Awards – 3 for business success (International Trade, Innovation and Sustainable Development) and 1 for individual achievement in encouraging UK entrepreneurship (the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion). These exceptional individuals attended a celebratory event, held in their honour at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) on Monday, 14th July. Among those winners was Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency the only recipient from Northern Ireland to receive the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion. They were presented with their Grants of Appointment and congratulated by the Business Secretary, Vince Cable, Business Minister. 

Business Secretary, Vince Cable presents Jayne Taggart with the Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion 

Later that day the 2014 winners, from across the UK, attended an event at Buckingham Palace, hosted by the Queen, in recognition of their outstanding business success. A total of 160 corporate Queen’s Awards were announced for outstanding business achievement - 110 exporting companies won awards for International Trade, 39 for Innovation and 13 for Sustainable Development, benefiting the environment, society and the economy. Alongside the business winners, 8 individuals were awarded the Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion, having been nominated by their peers for outstanding voluntary efforts to support and encourage UK entrepreneurship.

Causeway Enterprise Agency Director Dr Mark McKinney meets Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II

When congratulating the 162 businesses that won the Queens Award this year, His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales also gave special mention to the 8 individuals who received the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion, of which Jayne Taggart was one. In 2014 Jayne is the only individual from NI to receive the award which recognises and celebrates her commitment in encouraging business enterprise skills and attitudes in others.

Causeway Enterprise Agency’s Chief Executive visits the palace to receive Queens Award