Back for Bu­­­­­siness

11th November 2019

Posted In: The Topic

A call for applicants for an initiative to help returned emigrants start and develop businesses in Ireland has been launched today by Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciarán Cannon T. D. This is the third year of the highly-successful Back for Business developmental programme, which is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

The initiative was established to support entrepreneurial activity among 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.

The call is open today for applications for the 2020 programme, which will run from January to July 2020. There is no charge for those selected to participate and the closing date for applications is January 7, 2020. Those interested in learning more can download a brochure and register their interest in receiving an application form from here>>

Last year, the 38 participants on the second year of the programme reported positive results, including:

•Turnover for all participants combined increased by over 70% during the six months of the programme to a total of €1.3m

•A total of 48 new jobs were created by the participants who now employ 89 people between them

•92% said they felt nearer to achieving their ambitions having participated.

Launching the call for applicants today, Minister of State for Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon T.D. said: “Global Irish – Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, supports the successful return to Ireland of our Diaspora. Back for Business is a practical measure to implement this commitment. This programme can make a real difference to returned and returning emigrants, who want to establish new businesses in Ireland. The successful delivery of this programme will enable these entrepreneurs to build new businesses and contribute to our economy and society.”

Back for Business has been designed and is being implemented by Fitzsimons Consulting, specialists in areas related to entrepreneurship and growth.

 Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting, said: “Potential entrepreneurs returning home can often bring significant advantages 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 knowledge of the supports and the well-developed entrepreneurial ecosystem available to early stage entrepreneurs. Their professional and personal networks in Ireland have been adversely affected given the years that they have spent out of the country. Back for Business is designed to bridge these gaps, while also addressing the general challenges that all entrepreneurs face when establishing a business. I am delighted that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has made this possible.”

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 (now Upland Altify); Brian Crowley, Broadlake and founder of TTM Healthcare; Gillian O’Dowd, co-founder of Azon Recruitment Group; Micheal Hoyne, founder of Merlyn Showering; Nikki Evans, founder of PerfectCard; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.

Áine Denn of Altify, which was recently acquired by US technology company Upland Software, has been a Lead Entrepreneur on both cycles of Back for Business. She says: “It was a pleasure to lead diverse groups of ambitious returning Irish emigrants – men and women with a focus on B2B and B2C and all at different stages of their entrepreneurial journey. I have been really impressed with their experience, learned working in world-class organisations across the world. These returning Irish are experts in their field, they know what great looks like and they have the talent and drive to achieve success in the new Irish companies they have started.”

The deadline for completed applications for Back to Business is January 7, 2020. For more information or to register your interest in receiving an application form, please visit here>>

Pictured at the launch today were (l-r) Lead Entrepreneur Áine Denn of Upland Altify, Minister of State for Diaspora and International Development, Ciarán Cannon T.D. and past participant Barra Kelly of Xusa Properties and Structural Home Design.