Exploring your own business

A NUMBER of local people are reaping the benefits of a programme to help long-term unemployed people to get back into work and explore the opportunities for running their own business.

The Exploring Enterprise 2 Programme (EE2P) gives unemployed people a first insight into starting a business and a foot up onto mainstream business support programmes.

Omagh 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. Candidates come from a broad range of backgrounds and have varying levels of experience, but all have in common the drive to run their own business.

The programme 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.


Sean Gallagher (22) is one of those who has used the EE2P initiative. He has launched an event photography business after being out of full-time work and unsure of his future direction.

Studying engineering at college before changing courses to study professional cookery, when Sean completed his diploma, he found professional chef work hard to come by and worked part time helping out in the local family pub when his uncle fell ill. Realising that he wanted to run his own business, but without any firm business idea, Sean was directed to Omagh Enterprise Agency and he joined the Exploring Enterprise 2 Programme. While chatting in the pub one day, the idea of an event photography business was suggested to him. After some local and online research, Sean was able to use his new-found business knowledge to see that the idea could be a viable business idea.

With the help of business mentor Roseleen Molloy at Omagh Enterprise Agency, Sean secured grant funding for photography equipment, set himself up online with a Facebook business page, SG Photography, and has already taken event bookings including school formals, school photos, kids’ parties, and family and children’s portraits.


Roseleen Molloy from the Enterprise Agency explained, “Through the Exploring Enterprise 2 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 in-sight 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.”

Sean revealed, “The Exploring Enterprise 2 Programme provided me with really useful support and advice. Roseleen and the Enterprise Agency team were there to help me understand how a business works, and helped with getting paperwork set up for things like tax and business bank accounts.

“As there are many people out of work, or in jobs they don’t have a real interest in, I think setting up a business gives you the opportunity to succeed in something you enjoy doing. I have been lucky with having good contacts. On word of mouth alone, the business has been busy over Christmas and the New Year. I like the independence this has given me and I’m working hard now to get my name out and grow the business.”


“This is an exciting time for Sean as he gets his businesses off the ground,” added Roseleen.

“Through the programme, he has been given the insight and confidence to think about how he can use the skills and experiences he already had to work for himself. He is already starting to reap the benefits so we’re thrilled for him and really look forward to seeing his business grows.”

Gordon Gough, Chief Executive, Enterprise Northern Ireland added, “It is encouraging to see that almost 800 people have completed the EE2P 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.”

Source: ulsterherald.com