Meet our Tenants

Meet our Tenants at Nendrum Park

Would you like to know more about the fabulous tenants that are located at Ards Business Hub?

Click on the image below and explore an interactive map of Nendrum Park.

 

Need help using the map?

 

Once you click on the image below it will open up as a pdf in a new tab.

Click on any of the location icon’s and you will be directed to the tenant’s website or social media platform!

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Mike’s Fancy Cheese

Our Tenant Case Study: Mike's Fancy Cheese

Mike’s Fancy Cheese has been at Ards Business Hub since the company was first started by Michael Thomson a decade ago.

 

When Belfast man Michael Thomson first got the idea of making his own cheese, he knew that Newtownards was the perfect location. To make great cheese, you need the best milk, so after getting plenty of advice from the team at Clandeboye Estate Yogurt – who were also based at Ards Business Hub for many years – Mike found two nearby dairy farmers to supply his new business.

 

He went to England to study cheese-making in 2012 and then ran a successful crowdfunding campaign to get the business off the ground. He moved into a unit at the Hub’s Strangford Park to start making Young Buck, his signature blue cheese, made to a recipe that started from a book called Practical Cheesemaking that was published in 1917.

 

The cheese was a massive success and he and his team – three full time and one part time – now make enough cheese to sell to suppliers throughout Northern Ireland, Ireland, the UK and Europe as well as selling direct to customers in a shop in Belfast and online, mainly by subscription. The shop and the online business also carry an extensive range of Irish cheeses.

 

“When I started the business, I had a good idea that the cheese would be a success. There was no one else in Northern Ireland producing a cheese like it. And no cheeseboard is complete without a blue. At the very start we sold the cheese at pop up events and festivals but now about 70 per cent is sold wholesale,” he said.

 

What they say about Ards Business Hub:

 

For Mike the location was key to his choice to move to Ards. The positive recommendation by long-term tenant Clandeboye Yogurt – which has only recently moved to its own premises – helped cement the decision. Mike’s Fancy Cheese has now taken on a second unit in the park as it plans for growth – either increasing its production or trialling a brand-new cheese.

 

Mike said: “We absolutely love it here and I honestly don’t think we could have done it anywhere else. Not only are we close to our suppliers but the units are perfect the needs of a food production business. We make cheese three or four days a week, and this is such a nice, relaxed atmosphere in which to work.”

 

What we say:

 

Ards Business Hub Chief Executive, Nichola Lockhart said: “Mike’s Fancy Cheese has become one of Northern Ireland’s food heroes. Mike had such conviction in his product and he and his team work hard to continually develop the business. We are delighted that they chose to start their story here at Ards Business Hub.”

 

 

Find out more about Mike’s Fancy Cheese here.

Black Modern Media Productions

Business Support Case Study

Dean Black - Black Modern Media Productions

Meet the new businesses supported by Ards Business Hub: Black Modern Media Productions

 

Dean Black, the CEO of Black Modern Media Productions, has always had a passion for gaming, which led him to develop an interest in digital content creation and website design.

 

The ICT graduate from Bangor found himself pursuing a career in customer service for ten years, but after a period at home with his fiancé who was expecting their son, he realised that his work-life balance was wrong and he wanted to pursue his dream of running his own digital media company.

 

He had worked on various content creation projects with companies, providing photography and videography to help with their online brand profiles and his work began to get noticed.

 

“It was then that a very close friend of mine introduced me to a potential customer that was looking for some content creation and marketing for their business and had been impressed with my work. On that day, Black Modern Media Productions was born,” he said.

 

Dean had the skills to create fantastic online content but needed to learn the basics of running his own business. He contacted Go For It NI and they put them in touch with a business advisor based at Ards Business Hub.

 

What he said about the business start programme at Ards Business Hub:

 

“The service provided by Ards Business Hub was fantastic. They showed me how to secure the funding to buy essential camera and office equipment and helped me every step of the way to develop my business plan.

 

“The advisors continue to provide me with advice, equipping me with the financial skills to run the business. They are continually sending me links to any classes or networking events that would help me grow the company. I couldn’t recommend them highly enough.”

 

“The business is going from strength to strength and I’m flat out working for a range of companies. As well as working with companies in Northern Ireland, work takes me to London, Dublin, Manchester, Liverpool and Edinburgh.”

 

What we say:

 

Ards Business Hub Chief Executive, Nichola Lockhart said: “Dean is a perfect example of someone who is harnessing his passion and interests to create a highly successful new business. Content creation is a fast growing industry in Northern Ireland and we look forward to helping him as much as we can in the future.”

 

Find out more about Black Modern Media Productions here.

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McCoubrey Property Management

Business Support Case Study

Matthew McCoubrey - McCoubrey Property Management

Meet the new business supported by Ards Business Hub: McCoubrey Property Management

 

Newtownards man Matthew McCoubrey spent 20 years in the building trade before deciding to set up his own business in November 2021.

 

Matthew had been doing a range of jobs for years, helping homeowners maintain the interior and exterior of their properties and two years ago he made the decision to go out on his own. He offers assistance maintaining and improving the home, including repairs and painting and decorating and much more.

 

He contacted Louise Davidson from the Go For It programme at Ards Business Hub, who gave him the advice he needed to start and run his own business.

 

“I’m now working six or seven days a week, as word of mouth has been excellent for my business. Twenty years of experience working in construction has given me the skills to do a really good job. I believe that preparation is one of the most important factors in producing good quality work,” he said.

 

What he said about the business start programme at Ards Business Hub:

 

“I decided to contact the team at Ards Business Hub to find out about Go For It and I received a lot of help in how to register the business and put all the legal requirements in place. I learned how to balance my books and get them ready to send to my accountant.

 

“Staff at Ards Business Hub have been helping me with the social media side of things, how to promote my business using the available channels. I have been in constant contact with them and it has been brilliant.

 

“They have been a great help and have made life a lot easier for me.”

 

What we say:

 

Ards Business Hub Chief Executive, Nichola Lockhart said: “Matthew is using his 20 years of experience in the building trade to ‘build’ an excellent new business. His attention to detail and willingness to learn all of the tools to setting up and running a new company means he has built a secure foundation for the future. We look forward to seeing how his business grows and thrives in the years to come.”

 

Find out more about McCoubrey Property Management by going to their Facebook Page:

www.facebook.com/McCoubreyProperty/

 

Available Office Space – FE4

Available Office Space

Are you a small business owner in need of an office space to start expanding your business?
 

Sketrick House takes pride in its prime location, nestled at the base of the iconic Scrabo Tower. This cutting-edge office building offers a contemporary, well-lit environment, tailored to meet the needs of forward-thinking business owners.

 

We have a new office available at Sketrick House.

 

Unit: FE4
Size: 450 sq ft
Rent (Ex VAT): £430.70

 

Would you like to find out more about our available unit? Please complete our Property Enquiry Form, and someone from our team will be in touch with you as soon as possible.

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Explore Enterprise Support Service

Northern Ireland (NI) Explore Enterprise Support Service

The Northern Ireland (NI) Explore Enterprise Support Service is a new initiative delivered by Enterprise Northern Ireland in partnership with The Princes Trust NI which provides self-employment or employment support to economically inactive individuals across Northern Ireland.

 

This is a free service that provides an insight into starting a business or allows you to take the first steps to gaining employment.  You do not need to have a business idea to join.

 

The NI Explore Enterprise Support Service offers mentoring and training at a pace tailored to your needs and you have the opportunity to work towards achieving a level 2 qualification.
 
Our experienced Business Mentors will support participants through a range of activities including:
  • One-to-one tailored mentoring and guidance
  • Workshops and Level 2 training
  • Support from the wider ecosystem
 
To be eligible for this service you must be:
  • Aged 16 or over
  • Economically Inactive (those not in employment who have not been seeking work within the last 4 weeks and/or are unable to start work within the next 2 weeks)

 

This project is funded by the UK Government through the UK Shared Prosperity Fund.

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Finding Your Business Idea

Finding Your Business Idea

By Ethan McCullough

One of the most common conversations I have with people is how they have always dreamt of starting their own business but are unsure of what to do.  However, most of the time the answer is much more obvious than it seems, and all it takes is a bit of self-reflection!

 

Firstly, think of any skills you have, including very specific skills as well as broader ones. (Read our blog post on Self-Employment to learn more about these skills) How might these be applied to a business idea? Then, consider what you are passionate about. This is important because this passion will help weather the potentially challenging times as you start your business. For instance, if you are excellent at woodworking and passionate about vintage furniture, a good business idea might be a furniture restoration service.

 

Next, study the environment around you, including your job, daily life, and hobbies. What problems do you encounter that are not currently being solved? Consider how you’re business idea might solve any problems you’ve found in a way that taps into your knowledge, skills and passions.  If your hobby is to hike, for example, you could start a hiking gear rental company or a hiking tour company.

 

The next place any entrepreneur should look when coming up with new business ideas is their own network of family and friends. After all, these are the people who know you best and will be most likely to support your new venture. By asking those closest to you for ideas, you’ll not only get some great suggestions, but you’ll also get an idea of what kind of business would be a good fit for your skills. Your friends and family will also have very different perspectives than you. They have their situations they deal with every day that you may not have thought of.

 

A great way to come up with new business ideas is to think about ways you could make existing tasks easier or more efficient. For example, let’s say you’re a real estate agent. You could come up with a service that helps people find their dream home by doing all the research for them. By thinking about ways to make everyday tasks easier, you’ll be able to come up with plenty of new business ideas that have the potential to be successful without all the mental effort.

 

There are millions of business ideas out there. Here at Ards Business Hub, we can provide you with the skills to become your own boss. If you are interested in starting a business, but unsure where to begin, contact one of the business support team to discuss how to turn an idea into a reality.

 

 

 

To find out how you can turn your dream of being a small business owner into a reality, get in touch with us today!

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Next Services

Our Tenant Case Study: Next Services

Next Services is a specialist building services company, set up by Robert Brown, providing bespoke mechanical, electrical and renewable solutions.

 

After more than 18 years rising through the ranks of a mechanical and electrical engineering company, Robert decided to set up his own business and moved into Ards Business Hub in 2019. With a background working on large community projects, he was well-placed to work with some of the biggest companies in the UK and the company has gone from strength to strength and now employs seven people plus additional sub-contractors.

 

The company offers solutions to their clients including installation design and project management in the commercial and industrial sector. The team have years of experience and have worked in a huge range of sectors including health, education, commercial, accommodation, leisure and government.

 

Quite a number of their projects have been across the water in the UK. They have just completed a major year-long project for a client in the prestigious area of Deansgate in central Manchester where they refurbished an impressive, listed building. The ground and first await speculative restaurateurs and the second, third and fourth are bespoke fully fitted office turn key developments. Next Services provided all the building services, design, lighting, life services, heating, ventilation and facilities for this exceptional development.

 

“We take great pride in our work and it’s a fantastic sense of achievement to see the completed project and what we have been able to achieve for our clients,” Robert said. 

 

What they say about Ards Business Hub:

 

Robert chose Ards Business Hub as his company’s base because he was so impressed with the quality of the building, from the entry atrium area to the high-spec offices and airy meeting rooms.  

 

“It has a very professional quality that made us feel right at home. When we were first starting the business, we needed to have client meetings here and our offices needed to reflect the high quality of the work we do within this industry. We felt that Sketrick House was aligned with who we are as a business. We believe Ards Business Hub played an important part in our development and growth as a company,” he said.

 

What we say:

 

Next Services first took an office in Sketrick House as they established the company and then moved to a larger unit in Strangford Park, which has been fitted out and refurbished to include office and storage spaces. 

 

Ards Business Hub Chief Executive, Nichola Lockhart said: “Their professionalism and eye for detail shows in everything this company does. We are delighted to have watched the growth of Next Services over recent years. Our flexible licence agreements at Ards Business Hub allows tenants to move between sites quickly and easily as their business requirements change.”

 

Find out more about Next Services here!

Is Self-Employment for you?

Is Self-Employment for you?

By Ethan McCullough

Did you know that there are around 5 million self-employed people in the UK, making up 15% of the labour market? 


Self-employment is more common than it seems, and this could be the year you finally fulfil that ambition of becoming your own boss and being in control of your future/destiny!
 

 
Successful Start-Up Characteristics

Successful start-ups are only successful with the right person or people behind it. As a budding entrepreneur, it is vital that you possess some, if not all, of the following characteristics:  

 

Self-beliefIf you don’t believe in yourself and your business, then who will!  

ResilienceNot everything is going to work first time and that’s okay!   

(Did you know that Sir James Dyson developed more than 5,000 failed prototypes before landing on the right design, which became the fastest selling vacuum cleaner ever made in the UK?) 

CreativityYou must be innovative, imaginative and have the incentive to push your business forward with new ideas.  

CommitmentYou get out what you put in! Like anything in life, the more effort you invest in your business, the more successful it will be! 

  

Pros and Cons of Self-Employment

Now let’s look at some of the pros and cons of self-employment. It is important to remember that self-employment isn’t all sunshine and rainbows! If it was, then we would all be making the switch!  

 

Pros 

+ Creative freedom  

+ Independence  

+ Job satisfaction  

+ Personal Development

  

Cons 

– Long hours  

– Social isolation  

– Unpredictable finances  

– Lack of employee benefits 

 

Most people are waiting for the ‘right time’ to become self-employed, but the truth is that there is no ‘right time.’ You can, and will, learn and develop skills as you go along provided you are doing it for the right reasons.  

 

A support network is vital in running your own business and here at Ards Business Hub, we can be with you every step of the way! 

 

 

 

To find out more, and enquire about our available Business Support, get in touch with us today!

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CS Circuit Design

Business Support Case Study

Caleb Smyth - CS Circuit Design

Meet the new businesses supported by Ards Business Hub: CS Circuit Design

 

Caleb Smyth, a highly trained and experienced electronics expert who has been designing circuit boards since 1997, set up his own company CS Circuit Design in January 2021. Caleb works on everything from basic circuit boards to very intricate microprocessors.

 

Most of his work is with start-up companies in Northern Ireland’s burgeoning high tech industry, producing prototype electronic parts that his clients can use to demonstrate viability to would-be investors. However, because of the quality of his work, he has also been commissioned to work on finished products.

 

Caleb possessed all the technical skills to run a thriving company but decided to build on his business skills. He was familiar with Ards Business Hub and knew some of the staff so he turned to them for mentoring and support. “I enjoy learning new skills and believe in networking and talking to people so the staff at Sketrick House were the ideal people to help me take my business idea further. The CEO, Nichola Lockhart, suggested I do the 6 Steps to Success in Business Course,” he said.

 

The course consists of six free workshops covering topics such as personal development, market research, marketing, financial planning, legal aspects and business planning.

 

What he said about the business start programme at Ards Business Hub:

 

“The course at Ards Business Hub was very good and opened my eyes to the complexities of running a business. I am still learning but this course set me on the right path, showing me the aspects I needed to know, such as cash flow, the legalities, how to acquire the right company insurance. It was really practical.

 

“I would highly recommend anyone looking for business support and advice to approach the people at Ards Business Hub. They are very skilled in what they do and go out of their way to support you at every stage of development.

 

“The business is going very well and I am very grateful to everyone at Sketrick House for helping me out.”

 

What we say:

 

Ards Business Hub Chief Executive, Nichola Lockhart said: “Caleb is a very skilled technician and when I heard that he was looking to set up his own business, I thought we could help. He is working in an area of business that is booming in Northern Ireland and it is fantastic to see him using his experience to contribute to innovative products and new ideas.”

 

To find out more click here!

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