Carrickfergus Enterprise has been awarded its ISO certification during lockdown to mark its continued and constant commitment to provide high quality services to its clients and local businesses.

ISO 9001 is the international standard that specifies requirements for a quality management system (QMS). Organisations use the standard to demonstrate the ability to consistently provide products and services that meet customer and regulatory requirements. The accolade has been awarded for the 21st year in a row and it is a positive boost for Carrickfergus Enterprise as it continues to support and mentor local businesses through this challenging time.

Continuing with business support since lockdown began, Carrickfergus Enterprise has been hosting weekly ‘Coffee & Catch up’ sessions. They have enabled local business owners and staff to collaborate via virtual calls to network and interact. Businesses have been encouraged to get involved with a focus on those located in the Mid and East Antrim area, the Causeway Coastal Route, Tourism & Hospitality Businesses as well as Women Entrepreneurs.  Businesses are connecting from Carrickfergus to Limavady and across to Rathlin Island.

Kelli Bagchus from Carrickfergus Enterprise said: “Now more than ever, we need to stay connected with one another and it is our aim to work with local businesses and clients we support, ensuring they meet their business and employment goals. This can be an isolating time however we have maintained our output during lockdown, proven by the recent ISO certification. We have adapted the way we work by introducing services such as our weekly virtual calls.  Activities like this have ensured we continue to maintain a high standard and keep connected with one another.”

Kelli Bagchus adds, “Sometimes, a coffee and a chat is all it takes to give someone the motivation to make a positive difference to their day. The meetings are actually giving businesses that don’t usually connect, a chance to have a chat and even collaborate for the first time, so it is proving to be a great success.”

One business owner who runs Ballyeamon Barn Hostel in Cushendall, has benefitted from the virtual meetings. Liz Weir said: “It’s quite a shock, you suddenly lose all your income with a snap of the fingers. Living alone in a remote but beautiful area can lead to depression and feelings of isolation. The regular virtual coffee and conversation sessions have kept me connected to other tourism providers discussing similar issues of concern. Apart from offering useful practical support, these sessions have raised morale and given me hope during a period of worry and economic crisis.”