Don’t fence yourself in

Damian Rodgers is an experienced metalworking engineer with expertise in railings, gates and maintenance of industrial equipment. Damian became unemployed in May 2014. He reviewed his situation and felt the best potential for the future was to continue to use the expertise gained in gates and railings engineering. He decided to start a business called DR Gates and Railings.

Damian was working in the business on his own. Immediately he began to realise how much he needed to know, and do, to make the business work. He learned about the Invest NI Regional Start Initiative and after making enquiries decided to take part on the programme. Working with a business adviser from Causeway Enterprise Agency he soon had a comprehensive business plan that reassured him about his sales prospects, turnover and general business planning approach.

Damian identified funding needed to accommodate sales growth. Unfortunately, an application to his bank for a loan was rejected. He returned to his adviser at Causeway Enterprise Agency for a review of his situation. Damian was informed about two loan funds that might provide loans for his expansion needs – the NI Small Business Loan fund and Start Up Loans. Both loan funds are NI Government initiatives that are managed by Enterprise NI in Limavady. Damian considered both funds and decided to make an application to Start Up Loans mainly because of the associated mentoring. He was supported throughout the application process by his adviser at Causeway Enterprise Agency.

Damian reflected on his entrepreneur journey, “Looking back I can see that I had three needs – advice, a place to do my business and funding.” He continued, “The Invest NI Regional Start programme informed me about my business venture and the associated risk; it led to signposting to funding that has allowed my business to develop through an additional £6000 of capital investment; and it has steered me to additional premises with Causeway Enterprise Agency allowing me to grow my sales.“

Damian continues to benefit from the relationship with Causeway Enterprise Agency. He has been signposted to the Alchemy Programme which is a bespoke business support programme available through the Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.

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