Enterprise Causeway is offering people the chance to begin to chart the way to setting up their own business or investigate new employability prospects through its free Exploring Enterprise Programme.

Open to those who are unemployed, or working less than 16 hours per week, the course helps participants assess business ideas and job opportunities through group training and individual mentoring.

It aims to help increase confidence, create a personal development plan and explore either the possibility of starting a business or a new job.

Leo Mullan, Business Advisor at Enterprise Causeway, said the programme has already proved to be hugely beneficial for many people.

“Over the past number of years we have had some wonderful success stories, with participants on the programme starting businesses in nearly every industry sector and other participants finding employment”. 

“You do not need to have a business idea to join the programme and all learning takes place in an open, non-threatening environment”.  

Running over six sessions in total, two mornings per week (Tuesday and Thursday) participants can work towards achieving a qualification in Business Enterprise. You can gain an understanding of the concepts involved in starting a business, an insight into marketing a new business and a grasp of key finance principles.  Participants can also avail of help developing their CVs, writing job applications and searching for further education/training courses  

Previous participant, Robert Wiggins of Wee Jeans Café in Coleraine, said he had initially intended to go on the course to learn key financial skills but the Exploring Enterprise Programme offered much more.

“One skill that I learnt that was a big help was advertising and management skills as well,” he explained. 

“It also helped me bring me out of my shell because you were in a group with people, you got to talk to them and find out different opportunities that they were doing, and some of them were interchangeable and over the course we were able to help each other out.”

Christina Smyth used the course to help her start Nellie Doodle Aprons, and after a friend recommended it to her was able to take much from the course.

“I think it was actually just that I knew nothing about starting a business and it was so encouraging,” she said.

“The four main skills I learnt from completing the course were management skills, financial skills, product development and marketing.

“I think I would have been terrified at the thought of doing something like this time last year and since completing the course I just think, I’m just loving this. The creative freedom and the satisfaction of doing something I love has just been brilliant.”

After working for seven years in both England and Northern Ireland, physiotherapist Brianne O’Neill decided to set up her own business. 

She explained: “I enrolled on the Exploring Enterprise programme after meeting with a business advisor at Enterprise Causeway and it has helped me to develop my business, marketing and financial skills”. 

Meanwhile, participant Richard Moore gained employment in youth work and said: “Completing the course helped him structure programmes for his youth work and had provided him with a sense of achievement”.

The Exploring Enterprise Programme is funded through the Northern Ireland Social Fund 2014-2020, Investment for Jobs and Growth Programme, The Department for the Economy, Causeway Coast & Glens Borough Council and Enterprise Northern Ireland   

Do you have a business idea you want to explore? If so, call Robin on 028 7035 6318 or email eep@enterprisecauseway.co.uk.