Back for Business – Fostering Entrepreneurship

6th January 2020

Posted In: Be In The Frame

The closing date has been extended for returned emigrants to apply for the highly-successful Back for Business initiative which will support them to start or develop businesses in Ireland.

Applications now close on January 22, 2020.

This is the third year of the business development 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. (please note eligibility may apply).  The 2020 programme will run from February to July 2020. There is no charge for those selected to participate, and those interested in learning more can register their interest 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.

Tracy Armstrong of KO Kombucha, an Offaly-based producer of fermented tea drinks that are beneficial for the gut, is a previous participant on the Back for Business programme. She said: “We were just back from London, so didn’t have a network or contacts. Back for Business helped us build our business back in Ireland and offered the structure needed to make sure we were asking the right questions as a start-up business. It also gave us access to mentorship and a peer group of people with a shared experience.”

Áine Denn of Altify (pictured), which was recently acquired by US technology company Upland Software, is a Lead Entrepreneur on Back for Business. She said: “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.”

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; Micheal Hoyne, founder of Merlyn Showering; Morgan Browne, founder of Milner Browne; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.

The extended deadline for completed applications for Back to Business is now January 22, 2020.

For more information or to register your interest, please visit here>>