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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.



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


With Northern Ireland having the worst rate of shop vacancies in the UK, local businesswoman Áine McGuckian of The Little Herbalista, is flying the flag for Northern Ireland in the national TestTown competition with the hope of rejuvenating Coleraine’s town centre.
It is all part of the Carnegie UK Trust TestTown programme, an enterprise competition to encourage young people aged 16-30 to create innovative new businesses to help bring energy back to flagging town centres.
The Little Herbalista will represent Northern Ireland in Cambridge from the 6th to 13th October and aspires to win the grand prize, a whopping £10,000 of start-up funding, a month trading in London on Oxford Street, and continued support from the Carnegie Trust and their partners.
Áine McGuckian of The Little Herbalista explains: “High streets are lagging in today’s economy. As shop owners, whilst we do face stiff competition, what some may see as a threat, I see as an opportunity. With premises lying dormant TestTown was the perfect chance for me to develop my dream of operating my own herbal remedies business and opening my own shop in my local town centre, Coleraine.
“Coming off the back of the recession, one fifth of shops in Northern Ireland are empty, which is significantly higher than the UK average. Considering Northern Ireland is a small business economy, with 98% of all businesses here classified as small, there is undoubtedly great opportunity for these premises to be occupied.
“Winning the Northern Ireland heat in June of this year, the competition gave me the opportunity to launch my own business ahead of the TestTown grand final in October. Finally, I have to say a huge thank you to RiverRidge Recycling, The Diamond Centre, Causeway Enterprise Agency, Limavady Roller Doors, Zing Design and Print, O'Connells’ Garage, Garvagh, Nevin Electrics, and Country Garden Herbs, Garvagh. Without the support from established local businesses, The Little Herbalista may have remained a distant dream!”
Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency adds: “We are delighted to see The Little Herbalista do so well.  CEA was able to support Aine in starting up her business through Invest NI’s Regional Start Programme, helping her to develop a Business Plan and offering business advice and mentoring.  “Aine displays great drive and ambition for her new business venture and is a great  role model and source of inspiration for other young entrepreneurs ”.

The TestTown Grand Final takes place in Cambridge on the 6th to 13th October. The Little Herbalista can be found in The Diamond Centre, Bridge Street Coleraine; to find out more about their products and services call in to the Diamond Centre, contact (028) 7034 2711, or search for The Little Herbalista on Facebook.

Local Businesses support Entrepreneurial Spirit


This spring over 100 students aged 9 - 12 years from 6 Coleraine schools swapped the classroom for the boardroom for a day when they took part in “Business Battleground” a unique business challenge developed by Causeway Enterprise Agency (CEA) and funded by the Department for Social Development (DSD) through the Coleraine Neighbourhood Renewal Partnership (CNRP) and sponsored by Morelli’s and Kelly’s.Portrush..

During the challenge students are tasked with designing and marketing a new ice cream desert for Morelli’s. This fun and stimulating activity provides students with the opportunity to develop entrepreneurial, creative and problem solving skills by understanding how a real life business works. In the exciting day-long workshop students learn about working roles and responsibilities as they grapple with production, marketing and time management.

To facilitate the challenge CEA once again took over the entire entertainment complex at Kellys, Portrush providing each school with a dedicated room in which to set up their business. The Morelli family sponsored the event supplying ice cream, sauces, decorations, inclusions and plates for each school to create a potentially award winning desert. In addition 5 members of the Morelli family from both Portrush and Portstewart acted as judges for the competition. The event reached its climax when Damian Morelli awarded 2 schools the challenge winners.  St Joseph’s Coleraine won the Post Primary category with St Johns Primary School Coleraine receiving the award for the Primary School category as well as the coveted prize for best overall product. To recognise the achievement of the pupils the best overall desert from St Johns is now on sale in Morelli’s Portstewart.

Speaking on behalf of Morellis, Damien Morelli commented:

“We were really thrilled to once again support Causeway Enterprise Agency with their Business Battleground Challenge, it’s great to be part of something so innovative, fun and inspiring and it’s fantastic that our local schools are offered these unique opportunities to experience business challenges first hand and that pupil’s get a chance to learn enterprise skills at an early age. As a family we were all involved in the business from a very young age, you didn’t really have a choice, you could say it’s in our blood and I suppose when you grow up in a family owned business you do naturally inherit business skills. Not every child gets that opportunity though which is why programmes like these are so important and that’s why we are really pleased to be able to support the CEA in inspiring the next generation of business owners in the Triangle.”

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency commented:

This challenge reflects our ongoing commitment to supporting and encouraging enterprise skills in Coleraine.  Working with a long established entrepreneurial family from an industry that children can immediately relate to makes the challenge all the more real for the teams, this coupled with the uniqueness of the venue makes the challenge exciting, memorable and highly engaging while teaching the pupils highly valuable enterprise skills to support their ongoing personal development.”

Entrepreneurial Pupils design new desert for Morelli’s Portstewart during Schools Business Battleground Challenge

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency (CEA) has been awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion, the highest honour that can be bestowed on a UK company or individual.

The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion is one of the Queens Award for Enterprise and is awarded annually to individuals who play an outstanding role in promoting the growth of business enterprise and entrepreneurial skills in other people.

Jayne a well-known and well-respected promoter and advocate for enterprise and entrepreneurship and has been directly involved in promoting enterprise in the Causeway area since 1994 when she joined Causeway Enterprise Agency.  

Promoting enterprise and entrepreneurship is at the core of who Jayne is, she is actively involved in developing and delivering enterprise programmes to schools, the FE and HE sector, the disadvantaged, the unemployed, social enterprises, start-up and growing businesses.  She’s 100% passionate about investing in the self- belief, skills, attitudes and opportunities of individuals representing all sectors of her local community, allowing them to realise their true enterprise potential and dreams. This prestigious award recognises her commitment and achievements both through her paid role as Chief Executive of CEA and her voluntary contributions which have had a substantial impact on enterprise promotion and development in Coleraine, Moyle and Northern Ireland as a whole.

This award comes in significant year for Causeway Enterprise Agency as it celebrates it 30 year anniversary. It’s been an exciting year for the company in which it launched a Student Incubation Unit in partnership with the University of Ulster, a Coderlab designed specifically to train primary and post primary children in app development and game design and Venture Causeway the new venture capital competition to encourage and support local Coleraine businesses and start-ups. In addition the company with Jayne at the helm merged with North Antrim Business Agency to create one large agency to serve both Coleraine and Moyle council areas.
Jayne’s voluntary work, tackles disadvantage in the worst areas of deprivation within Coleraine and promotes women’s enterprise. Over the last 10 years at CEA with the support of her staff she has supported 1,084 new business start-ups, generating an economic contribution to the Causeway area of £65.04 million and 1, 734 jobs. 

“I feel extremely honoured to have been awarded The Queen’s Award for Enterprise Promotion” said Jayne Taggart, “This award also recognises the hard work and dedication of my team and our Board and acknowledges our commitment to enterprise development, the local economy and reflects our passion for developing and supporting our local community.  Having such a great team and supportive board enables me to realise so many great initiatives and programmes.”

Congratulating Jayne on her award Gordon Gough, Chief Executive of Enterprise Northern Ireland praised Jayne’s commitment to enterprise and the NI economy saying:

“Jayne’s contribution to enterprise in Northern Ireland has been immense. It is because of her commitment to economic development in NI and her lobbying skills that CEA is one of the leading economic development organisations in the North West of NI and one of the foremost local enterprise agencies in the province. I am delighted that she has received the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion.”

Business man and celebrity chef Sean Owens of Gardiners Restaurant added

As I reflect on the influence and impact of the activities carried out by Jayne Taggart, it is abundantly clear that, put simply Jayne’s work has made a difference to the lives of the many people she has targeted with her vision and relentlessness. Jayne is a focused and driven individual who has nurtured worthwhile projects from conception and seen then through to successful outcomes. Jayne Taggart – Makes things Happen – We need more Jaynes!”

Former Chair and member of CEA Board, , Dr Mark McKinney MD of ATG group Ltd who nominated Jayne for the award commented
"Jayne is exemplary in her field - delivering way beyond what is seen as core activities for a Local Enterprise Agency. Her creativity, determination, leadership, strong network of influential stakeholders and above all, her genuine desire to see individuals grow and develop and realise their potential are all the essential ingredients that result in her being so effective in the work she does and set her aside from her peers."

Only 10 individuals are awarded the Queens Award for Enterprise Promotion each year and in 2014 Jayne was the only individual from Northern Ireland to receive a personal accolade which speaks volumes of her commitment to enterprise and the local economy. Jayne will attend a reception at Buckingham Palace to celebrate her achievement and then carries this award for life.

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency wins The Queen's Award for Enterprise Promotion 2014


Guess who's coming to tea with UTV's Sarah Travers providing the cake, Annie Rooney of Suki Tea ready to pour for Jayne Taggart of the Causeway Enterprise Agency at the Go Woman Event held in the Magherabuoy Hotel and standing are left to right Roseanne Kelly of Woman in Business (NI), Annette Deighan of the Causeway Chamber of Commerce, from Invest NI Tara Herron, Debbie Rymer of the Causeway Enterprise Agency and from Coleraine Borough Council Caroline McCabe

Causeway Enterprise Agency celebrated International Women’s Day with Sarah Travers and an all-female line-up of speakers at Go Women 2014

The annual Go Women Event organised by Causeway Enterprise Agency (CEA) and hosted by UTV’s Sarah Travers was a buzz of activity with plenty of chat and business connections being made among the 142 local business women who attended.

Go Woman now in its 12th year celebrates International Women’s Day, a global event that acknowledges the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future. Every year Causeway Enterprise Agency invites successful business women to share their stories, hints and tips with a large audience of career women and female business owners. This year CEA extended their celebrations to include stands from local female business owners allowing them to showcase even more female talent from the Causeway Coast. On stage Sarah was joined by a panel of award winning business women including Annie Rooney co-founder of Suki Tea, Barbara Allison, founder of Zest, Clare Rainey founder of Kooky Cook, Ruth Wilson, MD of Beaufort Interiors and Cara Macklin, Director of The Malone Lodge and Macklin Group.

Sarah Travers says:

“I’m really happy to be a part of Causeway Enterprise Agency’s Go Women event celebrating International Women’s Day. I thoroughly enjoy hosting the event and meeting such fabulously talented business women, it’s such an inspiration to hear their stories, learn from their experiences and share in their success. Go Women is a fabulous event and it’s amazing to see such a large female audience turn out for it every year.”

The annual event is made possible thanks to the support of key sponsors Invest Northern Ireland, Women in Business NI, Causeway Enterprise Agency and Coleraine Borough Council, and is also promoted by Causeway Chamber of Commerce.

Des Gartland, Invest NI’s North West Regional Manager said:

“Invest NI is working to raise the profile of female leadership in business to encourage more women to set up and run their own businesses through programmes such as our Regional Start Initiative. Female entrepreneurship remains the largest under-represented group when it comes to enterprise in Northern Ireland and events such as this provide a platform to show case the innovation, leadership and contribution that women are making to our economy and to encourage more women to consider starting a business.”

Jayne Taggart, Chief Executive of Causeway Enterprise Agency and an Ambassador for Women in Business NI added

“International Women’s Day inspires us to celebrate female achievements worldwide and our annual Go Women event provides us with the opportunity to mark it at a local level. The feedback we receive tells us that women really value the event, feeling inspired, motivated and reassured about their ability to fulfill their entrepreneurial dreams. Our support is not limited to one day though. We are committed to providing year round support to encourage women to start their own business and provide them with the support to help it blossom through suite of funded programmes and events in partnership with Women in Business NI and encourage any woman, thinking of working for herself to get in touch and avail of the free support on offer.”

All-female line-up of speakers at Go Women 2014


It’s Feet First into Self-employment for Beverley

Beverley Ward from Coleraine gives Business Advisor Leo Mullan from the Causeway Enterprise Agency a reflexology massage to celebrate her taking her first steps back into employment as a self-employed reflexologist after completing the Exploring Enterprise² Programme (EE²P) through Causeway Enterprise Agency.

Coleraine woman, Beverley Ward is one of many candidates from Coleraine who are reaping the benefits of a programme to help long-term unemployed people to get back into work and get a feel for business.
Following a late diabetes diagnosis at age 11 Beverley has continually struggled with illness, but has taken the first steps back into employment as a self-employed reflexologist, after completing the Exploring Enterprise² Programme (EE²P) through Causeway Enterprise Agency.

EE²P gives unemployed people a first insight into starting a business and a foot up onto mainstream business support programmes. It is part-funded by the European Social Fund, the Department for Employment and Learning, Enterprise NI and the local Enterprise Agencies under the NI ESF Programme 2007-13.
Beverley explained why the programme was so valuable to her. She said: “I have faced a fair bit of adversity in my life – my father left home when I was seven years old and then at 11, I was given a late diagnosis with diabetes which resulted in me suffering a stroke. This lead to a series of medical problems including nine bouts of pneumonia, my heart stopping three times, seven months spent in hospital – three in an induced coma – as well as an infection which lead to the partial loss of my left hand.

Despite everything, Beverley went on to achieve nine GCSEs, a BTEC National Diploma in Caring Services and a degree in Psychology with Education. Two years ago she took up her next challenge, a two year course in Reflexology. Her tutors were concerned that her disability would stand in her way but she proved them wrong, and despite further illness she completed the course. Beverley’s mum then told her about the Exploring Enterprise² Programme and how it might help her to get a reflexology business up and running.

Causeway Enterprise Agency has delivered a comprehensive training and development programme which gives candidates a formal CCEA qualification, as well as developing essential skills and improving confidence.
Leo Mullan, Business Advisor with the Enterprise Agency said, “Through the Exploring Enterprise² Programme we hope to create a pool of new business talent within Northern Ireland’s most deprived communities. Candidates don’t need to have a specific business idea to join. The programme provides an insight into starting a business and gets candidates thinking about the possibilities within their grasp. We can then help them take the next steps to help them fulfil their ambitions.”

Beverley Ward is inspired by the Programme. She said: “The Programme gave me the insight into what is required to set up a business and really boosted my confidence. The Enterprise Agency team were really supportive and the aftercare service has been really helpful too.”

Beverley has set her sights on a new career and has recently set up her own reflexology business, B’Serene Therapy. She said, “I’ve never allowed my disability to get the better of me and am determined to make the best out of life. I’ve learnt so many new skills by embarking on the Exploring Enterprise² Programme and want to use my newfound skills to really develop my business. I could never have set up my own business without the support of Leo and the team and I’m more determined than ever to make a success of my business.”
Leo Mullan said, “We are thrilled for Beverley. She is a truly inspiring individual who has overcome lots of personal challenges to take control of her future. Through the programme she has been given the skills, insight and confidence to open her mind to lots of positive opportunities. We are delighted that she is already making the most of these and getting out there to move her ambitions forward. We wish her every success.”
Gordon Gough, Chief Executive, Enterprise Northern Ireland said “It is encouraging to see that almost 1200 people have completed the Exploring Enterprise2 Programme to date and in doing so they have increased their employment capabilities. In the current climate it is vital that people have the skills and networks to grasp employment opportunities and start their own business. Growing the private sector is a key component of the Northern Ireland Economic strategy and EE2P is right at the heart of this.”

It’s Feet First into Self-employment for Beverley


Test Town in Association with Carnegie UK

What is TestTown?

 TestTown is a 7 day enterprise programme for young people aged 16-30 that is part pop-up festival, part skills course, part innovation challenge! TestTown is about giving the next generation of entrepreneurs the support to realise their potential while demonstrating how high streets benefit from imaginative thinking. We provide unique trading space,specialist advice and development funding.

TestTown isn’t a competition where you are judged on how much money you make – this is a competition which will reward innovative thinking, an enterprising mind and risk taking. We are looking for highly creative, innovative ideas to stretch the public’s imagination of what a town centre is.


Who is TestTown for?

TestTown is open to individuals or groups of up to 4 people aged 16-30, who live in the UK or the Republic of Ireland. Anyone with a good idea and the motivation to make it happen can apply.

The competition is open to people are who are in business, or are new to business. Participants can sell goods, provide services, or demonstrate new products. They can be charitable or for-profit. The only rule is that they use physical town centre space as a productive hub for delivering their business – whether that’s a shop, an office, a public park or a market stall!


Where is TestTown happening?

Eight towns and cities will host a TestTown competition in 2014. TThere will be 7 ‘TestTown Local’ heats in the spring and summer, building to the UK Grand Final in the Autumn. Click here for the TestTown Local locations, we will announce the host of the Grand Final in the coming weeks.

TestTown Local

There are seven TestTown Locals across the UK. You can view all the locations here.

You tell us in the application form which TestTown you want to go to. You don’t have to pick the TestTown you live closest to – this is a UK wide competition and you choose where you want to go.

A judging panel from each TestTown location will pick 5 teams with the most inspiring concepts to come to the TestTown Local finals week. Teams will be competing for the chance to win £500 start-up funding and a place in the National Final.

TestTown UK Grand Final

The TestTown UK Grand Final is the final stage of the UK’s biggest high street enterprise challenge. The Grand Final will see the winning teams from each TestTown Local once more demonstrating their businesses and competing to be named the winner of TestTown 2014. The winner will receive £10,000 start-up funding.

We will announce the host of the National Final in the spring.


When is TestTown happening?

TestTown Local competitions will be taking place in June-August. You can find out the dates of each location by visiting their page on the website. The TestTown National Final will take place in the autumn. TestTown is a 7 day programme. To take part you need to make sure you will be free for a week during the dates specified by each TestTown Local.

Key Dates:
2nd – 9th June – TestTown Coleraine


For more information visit the TestTown website - click here

How would you like to win £10,000 for a good idea?