The Future is Bright for Coleraine Woman Exploring Enterprise

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 1,200 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.”