A YOUNG businesswoman from Annalong has received a prestigious award from The Prince’s Trust. Robyn Knox, 24, set up her business, SouthPoint Coffee Co, after losing her job abroad because of the pandemic. The Prince’s Trust and TK Maxx & Homesense Awards recognise young people who have succeeded against the odds, improved their chances in life and had a positive impact on their local community. Robyn scooped the NatWest Enterprise Award, which recognises young people who have overcome barriers and achieved success in creating a sustainable business or social enterprise. She said the support she has received from The Prince’s Trust has been “invaluable”. “I have been able to turn a dream into a reality and do something I love every day,” Robyn added. In the early months of 2020, she was working in entertainment for Royal Caribbean in the cruise line industry when the pandemic led to Robyn losing her job and having to come home. On her return, Robyn looked for some employment but nowhere was hiring due to the restrictions in place, so she found herself unemployed. She decided she would pursue a dream and reached out to The Prince’s Trust for support. “When I was younger, my family had a holiday home on the southeast coast of Northern Ireland, in an area called ‘Southpoint’.
“Our summers were filled with baking, cooking, and hosting friends and family. “I’ve always loved baking, especially for other people, and always had an idea in the back of my mind that I would love to make a business out of it.” Robyn joined The Trust’s Enterprise Programme to learn how to transform her idea into a reality. During the course, Robyn reached out to a local farmer who had an old horse box stuck in his field. “I asked him if I could have it, and he said, ‘If you can get it out of the field, it’s yours!’” Robyn continued working on her business plan as her brother, dad and granda began converting the horse box and transforming it into a small coffee cart. Robyn now runs Southpoint Coffee Co. in Kilkeel. The business is named after the location where the idea originated, Cranfield, the most southerly point of Northern Ireland.
Since launching in March 2021, the business continues to grow. Robyn has launched a website, a new range of merchandise, and has started hiring out Southpoint Coffee Co. for weddings and events. “I have been extremely busy and have had customers travelling from far and wide to try our coffee, sweet treats and snacks – including catering for our doggy customers too!” “All of our staff tips from our coffee sales go to charity as well as 50 per cent of proceeds from our merchandise. All the charities we work with are local or one that we have a personal tie to.” Looking towards the future, Robyn adds she is excited about continuing to make great coffee and chatting to each Southpoint customer. “I’m so excited to see how the business grows, to launch new products, and to serve Southpoint coffee at more special events as restrictions ease. “The Prince’s Trust has given me a sense of reassurance during a big step which felt so daunting and uncertain. Launching my own business is the best thing I have ever done.” Julie Baker, Head of Enterprise and Climate Engagement at NatWest, congratulated Robyn on winning the award. “You are a worthy winner of the NatWest Enterprise Award and a shining example of a young entrepreneur,” she added. “We wish you all the best for the future and we have no doubt you will go on to achieve great things with your business.”