Back for Business

21st January 2019

Posted In: FYI

The closing date for an initiative to help returning emigrants start and develop businesses in Ireland is this Friday (January 25).

The Back for Business entrepreneur mentoring programme, funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, runs over six months from February to July 2019.  There is no charge for those selected to participate.

The programme was run on a pilot basis last year to support entrepreneurial activity among those recently returned or planning to return to live and set up a business in Ireland. Those interested in learning more can download a brochure and register their interest in receiving an application form here.

Back for Business is specifically designed for recently returned emigrants who have lived abroad for at least a year and have returned in the last three years. Those planning to return in the near future will also be considered. (Eligibility criteria will apply). Many potential entrepreneurs returning home can often bring with them significant advantages of starting a business such as a strong network of international contacts, proficiency in foreign languages and a greater understanding of export markets. However, they can also have gaps in their local knowledge, contact base, and professional and personal backgrounds. Back for Business is designed to bridge these gaps, while also addressing the general challenges all entrepreneurs face when establishing a business.

Last year, the 38 participants on the pilot programme, which ran from November 2017 to May 2018, reported positive results on the programme.

  • At the end of the six-month programme over half of them were trading
  • Six had become exporters for the first time
  • 46 people were employed between them, and
  • 100% said they would recommend the programme to others.

Those selected to join Back for Business this year will take part in round table sessions focused on goals and milestones and facilitated by voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs, who have experience of successfully starting and growing a business. This year’s Lead Entrepreneurs are: Áine Denn, co-founder of Altify; Julie Currid, co-founder of Initiafy; technology entrepreneur and angel investor Mary McKenna; Michael Hoyne, founder of Merlyn Bathrooms; Nikki Evans, founder of PerfectCard; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.

The deadline for completed applications for Back to Business is Friday, 25 January 2019.

Pictured at this year’s launch: former participant of Back for Business, Clare O’Connor; Lead Entrepreneur, Thomas Ennis, Thomas Ennis Group and Ciarán Cannon TD, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development. Pic Orla Murray/SON Photo.