Starting a new business can be a challenge but if you have the right amount of experience and support, success may not be far away, as Coleraine-based florist Jill Peterson discovered when she set up her business “The Stables Flower Co”.

Jill had been employed as a florist for over 20 years and while she enjoyed an exciting and diverse career working all over the world she had always dreamt of setting up and running her own floristry business. Jill met some of the advisors from the Causeway Enterprise Agency during a mother and baby fair who explained how participating in Invest Northern Ireland’s Regional Start Initiative could help her make those dreams a reality.

“I always knew I was going to open my own business” smiles Jill, “I didn’t know when, where or how, I just knew I wanted to do it! I suppose having a young baby and wanting to spend time with her, created the “when” and discovering the stables where my business is now located gave me the “where” and attending the business plan training helped me with the how.”

Business start-up support 

Before launching her new venture, Jill took advantage of the business start-up support offered through the initiative, which included advice and expertise on business planning, financial forecasts and marketing. “The course was great. I have to say having ran a lot of big floristry companies I thought I knew everything I needed to know about running the business and while I knew a lot about running businesses for other people I had never set one up before for myself and that’s where the course really helped.”

“Friends and family all thought I was crazy to start a business during a recession and with a new baby but I’m really happy to say I have proved them wrong. Taking part in the programme boosted my confidence to start something I had a passion for and absolutely loved doing. I am thrilled to say my business is doing really well and although life is busy I can easily fit work around my family needs. This is The Stable Flower Co.’s second year and my calendar is really busy, I have blown my projections out of the water and have more than doubled my sales in year two and its only January.”

Practical advice I needed

“While I think a lot of my success is down to being creative, offering unique arrangements and being good with customers I know that the training and support I received through GoFor It helped me start on a sound footing. The programme provided me with all the practical advice I needed – from marketing to accounts – and, thankfully, gave me the confidence to literally go for it!”

“The support I receive from Causeway Enterprise Agency is invaluable. It’s wonderful having people locally that you can contact if there is something that you need help with or who provide you with the reassurance you need.”

The Regional Start Initiative is funded by Invest Northern Ireland and delivered by Enterprise Northern Ireland and its network of regional delivery partners. The Regional Start Initiative is provided in the Coleraine and Moyle council areas by Causeway Enterprise Agency.

Anyone living in Coleraine or Moyle interested in starting a business can log on to: for more information or call Causeway Enterprise Agency on 02870356318 to speak to a business advisor.