• About Us

Down Business Centre was established in 1986 as the local enterprise for the Down District Council area which, in 2015, became part of the wider Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.  The company is a not-for-profit organisation and works for the benefit of the local community by supporting new and existing small business and by playing an active part in business development at local, regional and national levels.

The Company has a formal Memorandum of Understanding with Newry and Mourne Enterprise Agency and the two organisations work closely together, seeking to complement each other’s work across all sectors.

Our role is principally three-fold; we provide business accommodation at competitive rates for light industrial, commercial and service sector businesses both new and established; we encourage and support local people on their journey into self-employment and we help businesses grow through training, one-to-one mentoring, programmes and masterclasses.    In addition we offer a suite of training and meeting rooms for hire.

We hold charitable status which means that surplus profits made through our property rental and funded programmes are re-invested back into the local community through the provision of free advice and support to individuals considering self-employment and to existing local businesses.

In promoting economic growth in the wider Newry, Mourne and Down area we partner with a range of organisations.  Our key partners include –

  • Newry Mourne and Down District Council
  • Newry Co-Operative and Enterprise Agency
  • Invest Northern Ireland
  • Enterprise Northern Ireland
  • InterTradeIreland
  • Neighbourhood Renewal
  • South East Area European Maritime and Fisheries Fund
  • Full Circle Management Consultants
  • Youth Enterprise NI

Our Executive Team

Janice McDonald

Janice McDonald

Centre Manager

Janice has been at the helm of the organisation since 2007. Having grown up within a family business – an award winning bakery in Newcastle – she knows from first-hand experience the hard work and determination needed to make a business successful. A Business Management graduate, Janice worked for a number of businesses before joining DBC in 1990.

An experienced business adviser, mentor and trainer, Janice is a passionate advocate for local business and works hard to maintain strong working relationships across local and central Government as well as with key decision makers in the public, private and community sectors. Janice is immensely proud of the impact that DBC has made in the economy of our local area.

e-Mail Janice at: Janice@downbc.co.uk

Joe McCoubrey

Joe McCoubrey

Business Adviser/Mentor

Joe has been supporting local businesses for more than 30 years. He is very much a ‘been there, done that’ man and brings a wealth of practical business experience and long established contacts to his role. At DBC he specialises in Business Planning, Marketing Planning and in identifying funding support for start-up and growth clients. Joe is also a part-time author and has a published a range of action thriller novels.

e-Mail Joe at: joe@downbc.co.uk

Karen Branagan

Karen Branagan

Property Manager

Karen is DBC’s accommodation expert and manages the smooth running of the Business Centre and is the principal point of contact for tenants and for businesses seeking accommodation. Karen has worked for DBC since 1998 and has a wealth of knowledge about our tenant businesses.

e-Mail Karen at: karen@downbc.co.uk

Joan O’Hara

Joan O’Hara

Business Adviser

Joan is at the forefront in the delivery of our Business Start-Up and Business Growth Programmes. Joan has spent her entire career in the enterprise development sector having worked for the Local Enterprise Network in Belfast before joining Down Business Centre in 2008. Over the years she has been has been instrumental in helping hundreds of local people take the decision to start up their own business and once established, she has helped so many of them grow their businesses in terms of staff numbers, product development and market reach.

Seeing an individual’s business dream grow from an idea into a successful venture is what Joan cites as the most rewarding and satisfying part of her job.

e-Mail Joan at: joan@downbc.co.uk

Andrea Boyd

Andrea Boyd

Receptionist and Administrator

Andrea plays a pivotal role, ensuring that our reception and administration functions are delivered effectively. Andrea is involved across all aspects of DBC activity and supports the wider team with administrative back-up. She is often the first person who visitors to the Centre meet and is a key point of contact for our tenants and support staff. Andrea has been with DBC since 2000.

e-Mail Andrea at: reception@downbc.co.uk

Ciaran Branagan

Ciaran Branagan

Caretaker

Ciaran is responsible for ensuring that the fabric of the Business Centre is maintained to a high standard and he provides a very practical, day-to-day maintenance role. Ciaran can turn his hand to most building and site issues and supports tenants across the units and office suites. Ciaran has worked at DBC since XXXX

e-Mail Ciaran at: reception@downbc.co.uk

Our Board

Linda Beers

Linda Beers

Chair

Linda is a Business Management Graduate who founded her business - Inform Communications - at the age of 24 years. Over the years Linda has gained a wealth of client experience having worked for many of Northern Ireland’s leading Public, Private and Voluntary Sector organisations managing complex PR, Media Management, Marketing Communications, Public Affairs and Stakeholder Engagement projects including highly contentious issues and crisis situations. Linda devised and ran the Food and Drink Show NI which brought celebrity chefs James Martin, Paul Hollywood and John Torode, amongst others, to Belfast.

e-Mail Linda at: chair@downbc.com

Michael Morrissey

Michael Morrissey

Vice Chair

Michael is a Chartered Accountant and a Partner in Morrissey Chartered Accountants, Downpatrick providing a full range of accountancy, tax and consultancy services to small and medium sized businesses. Prior to Morrissey Chartered Accountants, Michael worked for 20 years with Crossgar Foodservice as a director and shareholder responsible for the management and strategic direction of the business, which was sold to a US corporation in 2012. Michael graduated from Ulster University with a BA (Hons) Accountancy Degree before qualifying as a Chartered Accountant with PWC. Outside of work Michael is a board member of Mainstay charity in Downpatrick and Down Business Centre.

Stephen Donnelly

Stephen Donnelly

Director

Stephen has had a life-long interest in Mechanical Engineering, beginning his career at the age of 16, as an apprentice in Harland and Wolff, Belfast. He gained his engineering qualifications at the Belfast Institute of Technology and the University of Ulster, culminating in an MSc from Napier University, Edinburgh.

Stephen has worked for a wide range of international organisations such as BP and the Ford Motor Company and for a number of years lectured in Mechanical Engineering at Belfast Institute of Further and Higher Education. His career has taken him across the world and for a time he was based in Hong Kong working across China and Singapore markets.

In 2002 he joined Star Instruments as co-owner and Chief Executive. He is co-owner of the company’s holding company, Dunellen Group Limited and founder of its sister company Viewbrite Europe Limited with offices in the UK and USA. Stephen is a board member of the Engineering Employers Federation.

Claire Bain

Claire Bain

Director

Claire is a business studies graduate, a qualified trainer and an accredited executive coach. She draws on the skills and knowledge she has gained from over 25 years of leadership and management experience both as a business manager and as a consultant.

Claire has a track record of working with clients to achieve personal and business results, of motivating and developing people – while keeping a focused approach on business performance. Her passion is to improve business performance through people.

Joe McCoubrey

Joe McCoubrey

Director

Joe was one of the founding directors of Down Business Centre in 1983. He started his career as a journalist and was Editor of the Down Recorder for 17 years before switching to take over as Chief Executive of the Business Centre during which time he also managed the Northern Ireland Start a Business Programme for 5 years. He retired in 2014 to return to his first passion as a writer and to date has published 8 full-length action thrillers. He is an accredited advisor and mentor for a number of business start-up and business development programmes and continues to work on these on a part-time consultancy basis.

Patrick Brown

Patrick Brown

Director

Patrick has served as a Councillor on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council since 2014 and has been involved with a number of business ventures, social enterprises and charity projects from a young age. He currently runs Politrip, the world’s first political travel company, which combines his passion for politics, business and travel and was set up through the Go for it programme. He holds a BA in Politics, an MA in Globalisation and Development and is currently studying for a PhD at the Institute for Conflict Transformation at Queen’s University.’

Mark Murin

Mark Murin

Director

Mark is an experienced businessman with interests in the hospitality, storage equipment and property sectors. A native of Ballynahinch, he served for 5 years as a Councillor on Newry, Mourne and Down District Council and was appointed Chairman of the Council for 2018-19. During his year as Chairman Mark initiated the Chairman’s Charity Walk which saw him walk 66 miles across the Council area over a 3 day period in aid of local charities. Mark is a keen promoter of entrepreneurship and committed to encouraging and helping young people, in particular, set up their own businesses.

Mary Lou Press

Mary Lou Press

Director

Mary-Lou is a Partner in the Downpatrick based Estate Agency practice of Alexander, Reid and Fraser and has over 18 years of experience in property sales, lettings, commercial valuation and estate management. Mary-Lou is the Northern Ireland Regional Executive for NAEA Propertymark, a member of ARLA Propertymark, Secretary for the Northern Ireland Rural Valuers Association (NIRVA) and a member of the Central Association of Agriculture Valuers (CAAV).