We Are Hiring! Marketing Admin Executive

Ards Business Hub are recruiting a Marketing Admin Executive to join our team based at Sketrick House Newtownards.

The Marketing Administrator will play a key role in the execution of a variety of marketing initiatives to raise awareness of our company brand, property, conference spaces and business support offering in addition to the delivery of effective face-to-face marketing campaigns that achieve the company objectives. It is expected that this role will evolve and transform, therefore the post holder will be expected to be flexible and adaptable to meet the changing requirements of the organisation. This role would suit a confident communicator with marketing experience or a recent graduate seeking their first professional experience.

Click here for further details

Linkedin For Small Business Workshop

LinkedIn is the social media platform people use to do business. Learn how to make the most out of your LinkedIn profile at this workshop.


Join us on Wednesday 28th September 6pm. Cost £24


Book Now


Meet Your Trainer

Ashleigh Watson, owner of Copper Square, is a Social Media Consultant who partners with brands, executives and entrepreneurs to grow their personal and professional brands on social media. With over 16 years industry experience, Ashleigh knows the difference a Social Media Strategy can make, the importance of connecting with your audience and remembering that people and purpose are at the heart of all that you do. Ashleigh has spoken at Social Media Savvy in Belfast, Digital Women events in the UK and was part of a panel of female entrepreneurs event hosted by Amazon in 2021. Ashleigh is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Marketing.

Gillian Robb is a freelance lifestyle photographer based in North Down. As a branding and headshot photographer, Gillian loves helping growing businesses across Northern Ireland create imagery that shows off their people, services, and products at their best. Gillan combines her corporate experience with creativity to work with entrepreneurs and businesses ready to tell their story, helping them relax and enjoy creating images that last and help their business grow…

About the workshop

This is an interactive session and so you should bring a laptop with you and Ashleigh will take you through a step-by-step guide to optimise your LinkedIn profile. Ashleigh will teach you how to find and connect with the right people on LinkedIn and share her knowledge on the type of content that works on the platform too. We know that branding and first impressions do matter and so we have branding and headshot photographer Gillian Robb to take your new headshot photo for your LinkedIn profile. By the end of this workshop you will have a better understanding of how to use LinkedIn and the opportunities it has for you and your business growth


‘6 Steps To Business Success’ – Join our September cohort

Have you ever wanted to be your own boss? Had a business idea but stuck with what steps to take to make it a reality? Do you live in the Ards & North Down borough?


Due to demand and in partnership with Rosemary Morrison from Directus we have another session of our ‘6 Steps To Business Success’ Workshops commencing on 13th September 2022.


Don’t delay – limited spaces available.  Complete this form to register your interest today and secure your place!

Body Success opens third women-only gym

A County Down fitness company has opened its third women-only gym at Ards Business Hub after the success of its personalised training programmes.


Body Success Fitness, which has gyms at Bangor and Holywood, has seen huge growth since the end of the pandemic and has further plans for expansion in the next 18 months.


After a long career as a personal trainer, Jim Gordon decided to open a new fitness studio exclusively for women after speaking to many clients who felt uncomfortable in a traditional gym.  “The atmosphere can sometimes be intimidating in a big gym, especially if you haven’t trained before and may not know how to use the equipment. Over and over women were telling me they wanted their own space with classes focusing on functional training,” he explained.


He opened Body Success Fitness in Bangor six years ago as a hybrid gym and training facility with classes running throughout the day supporting women not just to lose weight but to be healthier, fitter and stronger.  “Functional training is about being able to move better which in turn boosts confidence and can also help with mental health. We also work with our clients on nutrition and overall wellness,” he added. 


After the lockdowns lifted, there was a boom in interest in health, prompting Jim to open the third fitness studio at Ards Business Hub to cater for demand.  “We’ve had great success with people who have trained to improve health, lose weight and recover from illness. One great example of this is Gillian Cousins who lost two and a half stone after coming in to train with us in 2020. She loved it so much, that she has now qualified as personal trainer and works for us,” he said.


Ards Business Hub Chief Executive Nichola Lockhart said they were delighted to welcome the new gym to the park.  “Jim and his team are passionate about health and wellbeing and this shows in their classes, which are all about support and camaraderie with a group of like-minded people. We’re glad to be part of the journey of this great company as it grows and develops,” she said.


To find out more about Body Success Fitness go to www.bodysuccessfitness.co.uk

Clandeboye Yoghurt opens £2m creamery to continue growth

Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt has opened a £2 million creamery that will allow the company to quadruple production in order to grow sales with the potential to move into new markets.

The new site on the Clandeboye Estate sees the company moving from its original incubator site at Ards Business Hub after fifteen years of sustained growth.

General Manager Bryan Boggs explained that the company has grown between 30- 40% year on year since its inception in 2007 and needed a purpose-built factory in order to continue to develop and seek out new markets.

“When we first came to Ards Business Hub we had two staff and processed 300 litres of milk each week. Now we employ 20 people and process 6000 litres per day,” he said.  “It had always been our dream to build a sustainable business on the Clandeboye Estate, powered by green energy, using milk from our own herd,” Bryan added.

The business was the idea of the late Lady Dufferin who hired Bryan, an experienced food technician, to create an artisan yoghurt using milk from her herd of pedigree Holstein and Jersey cows. 

After developing the process at Loughry College, Bryan took a unit at Ards Business Hub to start production and prove that there was a market for the locally made yogurt.  Bryan explained: “As a small start-up, we didn’t want to risk a long-term lease and the unit at Ards allowed us to trial the product. Plus, all the food production units are fully serviced so there was no additional investment in the site needed.”

Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt started in a single unit with its first sales from a stall at St George’s Market. As it began to supply the Hastings Hotel Group and then all the major supermarkets in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, it took an additional three units.

Now with the new creamery allowing for increased capacity, the company is looking into new markets, particularly in England, Scotland and Wales, which would require a massive increase in production.  “Our close-knit team has played a hugely important role in this move and this new purpose-built factory will allow us to grow further. We are right on the parkland at Clandeboye and can see the cows that produce our milk out the window, so it’s a real farm to spoon journey,” he said. 

Nichola Lockhart, CEO of Ards Business Hub, said that she and her team were proud of the role they played in helping this thriving business through its journey from start up to becoming a major supplier of high-quality local yoghurt.  “Clandeboye Estate Yoghurt is one of Northern Ireland’s true food heroes. They had a clear vision to create an artisan product and built their business through quality, hard work and dedication. Ards Business Hub is a social enterprise and our aim is to help businesses grow and flourish and we are delighted with the success of this company,” she said.

All the food production businesses are located within the Hub’s Strangford Park site giving tenants access 24 hours a day seven days a week.  As the food businesses are located within the same area it is a good networking opportunity which may be beneficial for new businesses.

Other food businesses located there include Arctic Cubes, A Slice of Heaven, Mike’s Fancy Cheese, Bara Bakehouse and Hill’s Mixtape.

Property Rental – Strangford Park

Sitting proudly at the foot of Scrabo Tower is Strangford Park.

We have an exciting first floor office space available to rent within Strangford Park; this 240 square foot office, accessed by stairs, is ideally suited to a client-facing office environment.

This contemporary office is located within the Administration Block of the park and offers a modern, bright space to ambitious business owners. With free car parking, use of a kitchen and a breakout area and access 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

To find out more, complete our Property Enquiries form and Angela, our Property & Conference Co-ordinator, will be in contact with you.


‘6 Steps To Business Success’ Case Study – Kiri Cottage Crafts

We love to hear success stories from past participants of our Workshops.  Christine Casey recently attended our ‘6 Steps To Business Success’ course and her business, Kiri Cottage Crafts, is growing day by day – read her story here.


Please introduce yourself.
My name is Christine Casey, and I live on the Ards Peninsula, between Kircubbin and Portaferry. I learned to knit over 50 years ago, and have been on a quest to learn new crafts ever since then! I also coach horse riding, and practice a range of equine and human bodywork and energy work.
What is the journey of your success in to business?
My Grandmother, Mother and Aunt were all knitters and crocheters.  My Grandmother knit and sold Aran jerseys to America in the 1960s and 70s, and could turn her hand to nearly any textile craft. Between the three of them they taught me to knit and crochet and gave me every encouragement to learn more crafts. I learned to spin at the ‘Womens’ College ‘ in Belfast (sadly closed a long time ago), in the early 80s, and have been spinning ever since. I have demonstrated spinning at various venues for a number of years and started to teach friends to spin, then became a member of the then Ards Council Creative Peninsula collective which opened up more demonstration and teaching opportunities. More recently I attended the Ards Business Hub excellent ‘Go for it’ programme, and was subsequently assigned a mentor to help me write a business plan. Ards and North Down Council have been very supportive in helping me to create and advertise ‘craft experiences’, and the DAERA Rural Development Cluster group also, in offering opportunities to benchmark with successful experience providers, and in funding the development of a website. To date, with this support, I have run a number of successful, fun workshops where participants have learned to spin, use a peg loom, and make friendship bracelets, amongst other things.
Tell us more about your business?
As a crafter, I am keen that the knowledge and skills of traditional crafts are retained and actively practiced. I hope to achieve this by running classes, providing demonstrations and talks. I have a small workshop at home where I run half and full day workshops, and am happy to go to other venues to run bespoke events for groups. My key crafts workshops are knitting, spinning, peg loom weaving, and crochet. I have also offered workshops to learn how to create a ‘book angel’ using a paper folding technique; a ‘weaving in a nature’ experience, using natural fibres and foliage; friendship/pony bead bracelets, and I am planning to offer workshops to create mandalas, dream catchers and ‘God’s Eyes’ (good luck charms). The list will increase as I learn more, and as I am asked to run workshops using different crafting skills.
Who would you say has offered you the greatest support in your business journey?
All of the above! Hard to single any one person or organisation out – from my family, through to the local and central government programs – support has always been there and I am very grateful for it.
What goals do you have for the business 3 years from now?
To run an ever increasing range of craft workshops on a regular basis, sufficient to allow me to retire from my ‘main stream’ work, and have a little extra finance to reinvest in yet more skills, equipment and supplies.
How did your experience on the 6 steps programme help you on your business journey?
It was a really good first step. The material was very clear, with as much practical help as I could possibly ask for. It was well structured within the 6 modules, and delivered over a 3 week period which helped to keep me connected to what I was learning. The mentor was excellent and the business and financial plans that she developed for me were first class – well above my expectations.
If you could offer advice to anyone thinking of starting a business, what would it be?
Attend this program! Take your time, do one thing at a time and don’t rush into starting.
How did you find your experience with Ards Business Hub?
Find further information on Kiri Cottage Crafts visit their website www.kiricottage.co.uk.  Ards Business Hub thank Christine for her participation and wish her the best for the future.
Our next ‘6 Steps To Business Success’ course commences on 7th June 2022.  Register your interest here.