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Local artisan baker has key ingredient for business start-up success

DATE: 24/09/18

COUNCIL AREA: Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council

ENTERPRISE AGENCY: Roe Valley Enterprises Ltd

BUSINESS ADVISOR: Joanne Miller

A local artisan baker from Limavady has turned her life-long dream of running a coffee shop into a reality with the support of the Go For It Programme.

The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.

Margaret-Ann Sexton and her partner launched The Yellow Bird Café in late 2017 after deciding to share her passions for baking delicious goodies and for all things coffee with the North West’s general public.

The Yellow Bird Café, which employs 8 full and part time staff, is a coffee shop and bistro that serves a range of the highest quality coffee, flavoured coffees and teas, and prides itself on its array of freshly baked scones and home-made sweet treats.

It also offers a breakfast, lunch and dinner menu six days a week, along with a wide range of exclusive private booking options, with a firm focus on using the finest locally sourced fresh ingredients.

Margaret-Ann has always worked in the hospitality and catering industry and she previously worked as a Support Services Supervisor for the Western Health and Social Care Trust, managing the catering and domestic team across the Trust’s Gransha Site.

With a genuine passion for cooking and baking, Margaret-Ann and her partner sat down and developed her vision to turn her dream of owning her own coffee shop and bistro into reality with the help of the Go For It Programme.

Margaret-Ann Sexton, owner of The Yellow Bird Café, said: “I’ve been in the catering trade my whole life. I loved my job with the Western Trust, but I always felt like I was missing out on what I truly wanted to do. It has always been my dream to open my own coffee shop that allowed me to interact with customers on a daily basis and serve up my freshly baked produce. This was when I started to think about starting my own business, so I discussed everything with my partner and this gave me the confidence and belief in myself to finally go for it.

“A friend of mine, Alastair Crown from Corndale Farm, who produces Northern Ireland’s first hand-made free-range chorizo and salami, recommended the Go For It Programme, so I booked an appointment with Roe Valley Enterprises Ltd and I’ve never looked back.

“My business advisor Joanne Miller was a real help as it was great to sit down with someone experienced and compile a personalised business plan, specific to my needs and my vision. She really helped me understand what was needed to set up a business.

“I am now the proud owner of The Yellow Bird Café and feel so at home running my own business. I really couldn’t have done it without the help of my partner, who has been a massive influence in helping me achieve my dream. We have fantastic team of staff, each bringing their own personality to the business. The first few months have gone by in a flash and I’m really looking forward to seeing what the future has in store.”

I am now the proud owner of The Yellow Bird Café and feel so at home running my own business.

The Go For It programme is delivered free of charge by a team of experienced business mentors through Northern Ireland’s wide network of enterprise agencies. It provides expert advice and help with developing a robust business plan to help turn ideas into a commercial enterprise.

Joanne Miller, Business Advisor with Roe Valley Enterprises Ltd in Limavady said; “Margaret-Ann has been a breath of fresh air to work with since she joined the Go For It Programme. She is hard-working and highly motivated with a clear vision for a business that she is genuinely passionate about.

“We worked with her to develop her business plan, helping her define the retailconcept, selecting the right location, staff, sales strategy, supply chain, marketing and financial forecasts.

“It’s great to see the Yellow Bird Café up and running and absolutely thriving. Margaret-Ann really has created a welcoming environment for customers with staff who are well informed and friendly, and not forgetting it has the best coffee and baked treats in Limavady.”

If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business call 0800 027 0639 or visit: visit www.goforitni.com

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