Back for Business – Final Call

7th February 2022

Posted In: Entrepreneurship

Emigrants hoping to take part in peer support programme to help them develop start-ups in Ireland are being urged to submit their applications before the February 15 deadline.

The Back for Business developmental programme, which is now in its fifth year, is available to returned or returning Irish emigrants planning to either start or develop an existing business.

The free six-month programme runs from the end of February to June with past participants reporting impressive results. Indeed, last year’s intake saw their combined revenues double over the course of the programme and their workforces triple – despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest cycle of the scheme, which is funded by the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, was launched last month by Colm Brophy TD, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora.

Back for Business was established to foster and support the entrepreneurial ambitions of the returning diaspora. It aims to tackle the challenges faced by nascent entrepreneurs – as well as the additional barriers faced by returning emigrants, in particular their unfamiliarity with professional networks in Ireland and gaps in their knowledge of the native business scene.

The scheme is open to candidates who have lived abroad for at least a year and have returned in the last three years, as well as those planning to return to live in Ireland in the near future. (Eligibility criteria in notes below)

There are up to 50 places available on Back for Business 5. Those selected to join Back for Business 5 will take part in round table sessions, focused on goals and milestones, which are facilitated by voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs, who have experience of successfully starting and growing a business. The Lead Entrepreneurs are central to the peer support initiative.

This year’s lead entrepreneurs include Áine Denn, co-founder and formerly of Altify; Heather Reynolds, co-founder and formerly of Eishtec; Paul Duggan of The Gardiner Group; Seamus Reilly, co- founder and formerly of Critical Healthcare; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.

Áine Denn, one of the Back for Business voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs said:

“It is terrific to meet so many with real entrepreneurial flair determined to create new businesses on their return to Ireland. Starting a new business while moving home is not easy. I am delighted to give my time to supporting these brave entrepreneurs.”

Thomas Ennis, another of the Back for Business voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs said:

“I was lucky enough to receive excellent mentoring when I was starting out and it made all the difference. It is great to be in a position to give back and to support those at the start of their entrepreneurial journey.”

Also new this year is the creation of a separate Back for Business Community, which will see previous participants take part in round-table discussions, workshops and an annual Community Forum.

Back for Business has been designed and is being implemented by Fitzsimons Consulting, specialists in areas related to entrepreneurship and growth. The deadline for applications is Tuesday, February 15. Those interested in learning more can download a brochure or request an application form by logging on here>>