A Co Antrim business man has turned his passion for fishing and the countryside into his very own business with the support of the Go For It Programme, in association with Mid & East Antrim Borough Council.
This project is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth & Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) Programme.
Barry Reid launched Trout Tours NI in April and says that taking opportunities to do something he enjoys was an easy decision to make.
“If you do and share something you love – it isn’t really like work,” he explains. “I had a love of trout fishing and I started to think - why not share this passion with others and turn my hobby into a business.
“I decided to offer exceptional affordable fishing holidays, along the Causeway Coastal Route. I don’t really have to work hard to sell the greatest adventure fishing holidays in the world. I just let Northern Ireland speak for itself.
“We look after everything from picking up our guests at the airport, to sorting out accommodation, fishing licences and accompanying them to some of the most beautiful parts of this country for some of the best fishing. The response so far has been great with guests enjoying the beautiful NI fishing waters and Ulster hospitality.
“The business is becoming more and more established with repeat trips being booked all the time. Visitors are enjoying the guided fishing and local knowledge provided by our professional facilitators.
“A large part of the success of the business to date has all been down to the Go for it Programme as they were able to help me turn my business dream into a reality.
“My advisor was Laura McCourt, from LEDCOM and she was truly inspirational. Laura was really great in helping me turn my idea into a viable business concept and providing key information to help get the business off the ground.
“She helped me think about my long-term objectives and helped me set realistic goals for the business. Laura helped me develop a business plan and financial forecasts for the first two years which was invaluable. She also helped me complete a risk assessment and look at marketing tools to encourage overseas visitors to explore the beautiful fishing waters and landscape of Northern Ireland. These are aspects of the business that I needed help and guidance with.”
Barry adds such has been his success with the Go For It programme that he would encourage other people with a business idea to do the programme and gain a clear focus before starting out.
He added: “It is a free tool at your disposal and you get all this access to experts who can really support and guide you. They are very professional and know about all aspects of business. They can help you at every stage along the way.”
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.
Laura McCourt, Business Advisor with LEDCOM Larne for Mid & East Antrim Borough Council, said: “Barry has a life-long passion for fishing and showcasing all that is great about the Borough that he lives in. He has successfully combined these to develop a viable business that will hopefully benefit the local tourism industry.
“When he joined the Go For It Programme, it was clear to see that he was highly motivated and all he needed was our guidance to help turn the idea into a reality. We worked with him to develop his business plan, helping him define the business concept and routes to market, how he would market the business effectively and developing his financial forecasts for an initial two-year period.
“It’s great to see Trout Tours NI up and running attracting so many new visitors to the Borough. Barry offers a welcoming environment for customers and goes that extra mile to ensure they experience a fishing tour in Northern Ireland like no other!”
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