New start-ups can get free training...so why not ‘Go For It’?

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Spring is a time of new growth and if you have a budding business idea then it’s a great time to get that business started.

Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council through the Go For It programme delivered by your local enterprise agency are offering new start-ups free training, mentoring and advice to develop their business plan and launch their business. In this feature we meet some inspiring local entrepreneurs that were helped by the Go For It programme this year to discover how it helped them make their business a success.

Grand designs from Greysteel

Olivia Casey Boutique is a sparkling example of why you shouldn’t be dissuaded from chasing your dreams. At 23, and with zero industry experience, Casey Moore’s credentials for starting her own business would not exactly have filled anyone with confidence. And yet, seemingly against the odds, this unassuming graduate in Fashion & Textile Design at the University of Ulster has made enormous progress after just three months of trading. Relying on social media and word-of-mouth, Olivia Casey Boutique is about to showcase an exciting new urban-influenced collection (designed by Casey), is already the darling of several prominent Irish fashion bloggers, and can boast more than 3,000 followers on Facebook.

Casey says: “I’ve dreamt about opening a clothes shop since I was young and once I graduated, I really wanted to design my own line of clothes. As soon as I came out of university I went on Jobseekers as I’d heard there was a grant for the first year of a new business. That was no longer the case, but I was recommended to speak to Roe Valley Enterprises. They were great. They registered me on the Go For It Programme and structured everything for me - they did my business plan, which enabled me to secure a start-up bank loan. That wouldn’t have been possible without their help.”

Spend some time with Casey Moore and you’ll begin to believe anything’s possible for this young designer. Shy, yet driven; clearly talented, yet totally unpretentious (that alone is fairly unusual in the rarified air of the fashion world); she might have to get used to the spotlight sooner rather than later. New York, London, Paris, Milan…Greysteel! Laugh all you want, but Casey (Olivia Casey Boutique) might just be about to become the poster girl for small business start-ups.

Hunger pangs? Corndale Farm has the perfect cure

Take a passion for raising pigs, a love for food, mix it with a hefty helping of drive and determination, then add some creativity and the ability to spot a gap in the market. These are just some of the ingredients that comprise Corndale Farm’s recipe for start-up success.

Alastair Crown who started Cordale Farm in 2016 told us “No one else was making chorizo locally, despite it being increasingly well known by the general public and used more and more by chefs. It was perfect to get our brand out there as the fact we were producing something more associated with Spain in Limavady helped to generate interest.”

Since producing that very first batch of Corndale Farm Chorizo at home (January 2016) things have progressed at pace. Undoubtedly the biggest step, however, was moving the chorizo operation from the kitchen table to business premises. “That was the scary point. It required a substantial investment, both in the premises and equipment. It was a big step and that’s were Go For It at Roe Valley Enterprises came in. They were responsible for sorting out a unit for us and it really helped speed the business up. They also worked with us to sort out a business plan and projections. With the investment we were making, it was essential to be able to look at figures for capacity, output, and turnover. It gave me the confidence to move forward.”

Corndale Farm’s ‘field to fork’ approach, the quality of the product, and that unique local flavour, has attracted a loyal (and ever growing) following. And it’s only the beginning. New product lines are close to launch date, and there are exciting plans for optimizing space in the existing premises.

If you’ve been inspired by Casey and Alastair talk to a business advisor today to see how Go For It can help you start your business visit www.goforitni.com or call 0800 027 0639.