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Go for it

About the programme

How would you like to be your own boss? The all-important first step in starting out on your own is testing out the idea with an expert advisor and creating a business plan – this is what Go for it delivers.

All it takes to start the process is a call to a Go for it business advisor or visit the website to arrange a meeting. You could be joining the thousands of people who have already taken advantage of our free advice and mentoring.

The benefits of the programme include:

  • a one-to-one assessment meeting with a business advisor
  • tailored guidance to develop your business plan
  • a finance and business planning workshop
  • advice on how to access grants and funding
  • a one-to-one finance and business planning meeting
  • best practice guides, tools, videos and more to help you get started.
Watch these short videos to find out more.

How do I apply?

You can register online or call the Go for it programme directly on 0800 027 0639 or visit your local enterprise agency.


Go For It is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme. It is delivered free of charge through Northern Ireland’s wide network of Enterprise Agencies, by a team of highly experienced business mentors.

Case studies

Find out how some local businesses benefitted from the Go for it programme to guide them through their start up stage.

Active Wellness

Former finance professional Jackie McWilliams has turned her passion for wellness into a new business venture following a long career in finance, thanks to the Go For It Programme, in association with Belfast City Council.

Following extensive research and training, Jackie set up Active Wellness in east Belfast to provide a range of therapeutic massage treatments, self-care tips and yoga in the workplace.

Jackie said, “I worked in finance and sat at my desk for most of the day, meaning that I was becoming very inactive. I started to have lots of aches and pains and wasn’t sure why. I began to do my research and found that massage and mobility exercises would help get my body moving and alleviate any niggles and pains that I might have been having.

“After a couple of massage sessions, I really started to feel the benefits, mentally and physically, and was raving to everyone about the positive difference it was making to all aspects of my life. I got thinking that quite a few of my friends and family were also suffering from aches and pains caused by their day job, as well as stress related illness, and wanted to explore opportunities to help them and their employers.

“I completed my massage training, caught the bug and just wanted to know more. I was amazed at how much better I was feeling and really wanted to share all my new found knowledge to help others, that’s where the Go For It Programme came in. I attended an information session, filled in the enquiry form online and got speaking to my business advisor at East Belfast Enterprise the next day, it was all very quick.

“I knew what I wanted to do, but I was unsure about how I could start and grow my team, find suitable premises and market Active Wellness to the right people. The advice I received was second to none. It was all really clear and practical and really helped me to focus my idea and develop a clear strategy for growth. We put everything into a very comprehensive business plan, which I now treat as my business bible, it signposts me to where I need to go and how I’m going to get there. The process of writing the business plan made me query the finer details of my business and really allowed me to see its future potential.”

Find out more by watching the video.

Bear in Sheep’s Clothing

Bernie Kennedy, driven by the need to be at home with her children, turned her love of knitting into a thriving business whereby she sells hand-dyed, locally and ethically sourced yarns to crafters around the world.

Bear in Sheep’s Clothing provides a range of luxury British yarns which have been spun in Yorkshire and then dyed in Belfast.

Since graduating from Environmental Sciences in 2007, Bernie has brought her environmental awareness into everything that her business does and stands for. Whether it’s her dyeing techniques, her packaging methods or the suppliers she uses, she keeps the environment in mind!

Bernie said 'Thanks to the Go-for-It programme, I feel I can move forward with my business in a more professional manner. My business advisor provided me with lots of knowledge and free support that have allowed me to build up my business with confidence and pride. I would seriously recommend the Go for It programme to anyone!'

Lagan Ribs

Lagan Ribs, founded by John O’Hare and John Graham, are an authentic street food company currently trading within St George’s Market, Belfast. 

Lagan Ribs takes pride in its creative flair, which, combined with their extensive experience in the hospitality sector, makes for an original and moreish food experience.  

Lagan Ribs uses locally sourced ingredients, where possible, to produce marinated, slow-roasted, pulled pork rib meat; served in a freshly baked bap with a delicious sauce accompaniment. 

Inspired by their travels and experiences of street food, Chef John O’Hare set to work creating the perfect sauce. Manufactured and bottled in distinctive Lagan Ribs packaging, their sauces and pulled ribs represent the best of Belfast street food.  

John O’Hare explains “We knew we wanted to offer our customers the best of Belfast street food, but we also needed help with the basics to get us up and running. The Go for It programme helped us to identify opportunities to bring our product to market, showing us how to allocate expenditure, forecast sales, manage our cash flow, brand and market our product, and how to use social media to engage and grow our customer base.” 

If you would like to start you own business or would like to find out more, call 0800 027 0639 or visit

Contact us
0800 027 0639