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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.



After a sweet year of success, the stars of the local enterprise sector were celebrated at the annual Enterprise Northern Ireland awards, held at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast on Thursday 26th November. Hosted by broadcaster Claire McCollum, the glittering evening showcased the work done by the Northern Ireland small business community and the efforts of the local enterprise agency network in supporting business development.

The event was opened with an address from Patsy McGlone MLA and the audience also enjoyed an engaging and inspiring presentation from Tom Griffiths, founder of, who is widely regarded as the creator of the modern gap year industry.

There were many worthy winners at the ceremony but the Exploring Enterprise Programme Personal Development Award was of particular local interest. Danielle Tagg, Director/Manager of Articlave Day Care Nursery was singled out as the winner, having impressed the judges with her engagement in the programme and her achievement of the various milestones and outcomes along the way. They also felt that she displayed exceptional commitment and dedication in overcoming adversity. Her journey from having no recognised qualifications or experience in her chosen sector to a business owner and employer is an encouragement to everyone. Thanks to Exploring Enterprise and her own hard work Danielle has now opened a Daycare Nursery in Articlave which employs 5 full time and 3 part time staff.

The Exploring Enterprise Programme develops employment opportunities for the long term unemployed, providing one to one advice and training, leading to an award in Understanding Business Enterprise. In the past twelve months over 500 participants have completed the programme.

Jayne Taggart, CEO of Causeway Enterprise Agency said:”Exploring Enterprise is a key programme of support and we in Causeway are delighted that it has helped Danielle to start up and grow such a promising business.”

Chief Executive of Enterprise Northern Ireland, 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 the hard work and dedication of businesses and members of the Enterprise Northern Ireland 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.”

Keith Liggett from Legacy Wealth, the headline sponsor of the Awards said: “We were proud to support the awards again this year to show our commitment in helping to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurial tenacity and determination is alive and well and the 2015 Northern Ireland Enterprise Awards certainly showcased Northern Ireland’s brightest business talent.”

Continued Success for Danielle!


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


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!


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!


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


If you are unemployed and determined to make 2013 a year when you improve your prospects, get a qualification, increase your employability or start working for yourself then Exploring Enterprise 2 could help you on your way.

The Exploring Enterprise2 programme focuses on the needs of people who have recently lost their jobs, those who have been out of work for the longer term and specifically aims to support those people who have a disability; are lone parents; or young adults who are neither at a school or college in employment or in a training scheme. It concentrates on rebuilding confidence and regenerating people’s personal career ambitions and provides support through training sessions and one to one mentoring to develop opportunities for people to enter employment. The course is also a great foundation for anyone thinking of working for themselves and enables participants to explore their business idea and take the first steps to developing a business plan.

Training is delivered in both Ballycastle and Coleraine at the premises of Causeway Enterprise Agency. It’s very practical, and requires no previous qualifications. The next course starts in November 2013 and is offered on 12 mornings over 2 ½ weeks, meaning that if you take part you could be finished and have an accredited qualification by the the new year.

Local girl Rebecca Montgomery aged 19 from Garvagh has given her life and career a make-over and is starting her own beauty business after taking part in Exploring Enterprise2 at Causeway Enterprise Agency. Rebecca studied beauty in Limavady and has worked in some of the area’s most prestigious salon’s including the Spa at Galgorm but like so many talented young people found herself without a job in late 2012. What she did have however was an idea and a determination to succeed. She wanted to start her own business and encouraged by her entrepreneurial mother, Erica founder of “Slim Within”, Rebecca contacted the Causeway Enterprise Agency and enrolled on the Exploring Enterprise2 programme.

Rebecca speaks enthusiastically about Exploring Enterprise2. “I found the course really helpful and I really enjoyed it. For me the best part was the day when they took all of us to the Arcadia in Portrush and we got to hear first-hand from 2 local business owners about the good and bad points of starting up and running your own business. Their honesty and experience really inspired me and the course then helped me with the practical elements. Something else I valued was the opportunity to meet new people. When you find yourself unemployed or not in education you miss the social interaction that comes from being part of a team or a class and the programme makes you feel part of something. It’s great to know that support is there if and when you need it and I can’t recommend it enough. I am just putting the finishing touches to my business plan and will be launching “Reb’s Health and Beauty Parlour in the spring and I am feeling really positive about the future.”

Eligible Applicants must be over 16 years of age and either unemployed or working/in education for less than 16 hours per week. To find out more or to register interested applicants should contact Anna Logan at Causeway Enterprise Agency on 02820 70356318 (Mon – Fri 9am – 5pm).

Exploring Enterprise2 is part-financed by the European Social Fund, the Department for Employment and Learning and Enterprise Northern Ireland under the Northern Ireland ESF Programme 2007 -13 and is being delivered in Coleraine by Causeway Enterprise Agency on behalf of Enterprise Northern Ireland.

For further information contact Debbie Rymer on 02870 356318 or by email

Improve your opportunities and career prospects in 2013

If you are unemployed and determined to make 2013 a year when you improve your prospects.