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Young Ballymena baker turns passion for cakes and coffee into successful local café

A Ballymena baker has turned her passion for cakes and coffees into a thriving local café, The Ticket Bakehouse in Cullybackey, thanks to the help from the Go For It programme in association with Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

The Go For It Programme is part funded by Invest Northern Ireland and the European Regional Development Fund under the Investment for Growth and Jobs Northern Ireland (2014-2020) programme.

Maia White, launched The Ticket Bakehouse in 2022, after a local prominent business person asked her if she would be interested in setting up her own café in a rustic building located at Cullybackey train station.

The passionate artisan baker jumped at the chance and hasn’t looked back with The Ticket Bakehouse becoming a popular spot for breakfast, brunch, lunch, freshly ground coffee, and delicious baked goods.

Maia explains:

“When I launched the business, it was so nerve-wracking but at the same time really exciting. I must admit, it was hard work, and it took a lot of planning, but there is no better feeling than watching people eat and enjoy the food you’ve prepared.

“I love the social aspect of running my own business, I just love talking to people, and building that relationship with my customers is fantastic and something I take a lot of pride in.

“Watching people eat and enjoy my food, is something I’m very proud of, I bake from the heart, and I absolutely love it.

“I enjoyed working for an employer, but there’s nothing better than being your own boss and having your own freedom".

Maia’s ambition of opening her own café became reality after taking part in the Go For It programme through the Mid and East Antrim Borough Council.

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 support to develop a business plan that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into commercial businesses.

Maia said:

“There’s so much that goes into opening a business and the planning takes forever! But the Go For It programme was really helpful when I was trying to wrap my head around the logistics of everything.

“My business advisor helped me produce a business plan which supported me with forecasting, budgets, and deadlines. It’s so valuable to have something solid and professional for when I need it.

“I had never done anything like this before, and my business advisor was really helpful throughout the entire process, and his knowledge was a great confidence boost for me.”

Deputy Mayor of Mid and East Antrim Borough Council, Councillor Beth Adger MBE:

“I’m delighted to see how Maia has turned her passion into a reality through seeking support from the Go For It programme.

“Starting a business takes hard work and determination, and it’s evident that Maia has delivered and continues to deliver on both of these key pillars for success.

“It’s exciting to see new businesses like The Ticket Bakehouse establishing themselves in the Borough, and we can only encourage more of this as entrepreneurs are key to our local economy, and we aim to support them right from the idea stage.

“Considering entrepreneurship for the first time can be challenging, and I would encourage anyone thinking of becoming their own boss to access the programme as the support on offer is invaluable.

“I’m delighted to see Maia succeeding with her business, and I wish her continued success for the future".

Melanie Christie Boyle MBE, Chief Executive, Ballymena Business Centre said:

“Through the Go For It programme Maia was able to get support in areas such as market research, financial planning, marketing, and goal setting. We supported Maia with the creation of a business plan that worked for her while reflecting the goals and objectives she had for the business.

“Maia has work exceptionally hard, and has taken an idea, love and passion combined this with her positive energy and has turned that idea into a successful business. She has transformed a dream into a reality, and I’m delighted to see how far Maia has come.

“We wish her continue success as she welcomes new and returning customers to her wonderful café.”

If you have a business idea you’d like to develop or if you are thinking about starting a business contact the Go For It Programme on: 0800 027 0639 or visit:


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