Returned emigrants to Longford encouraged to join Back for Business

Longford Leader Reporter

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IMAGE: SHANE O’NEILL

Back for Business launch IMAGE: SHANE O’NEILL

The call is open for returned emigrants to Longford who are starting and developing businesses in Ireland to join the latest cycle of the highly-successful Back for Business developmental programme.

The call was launched recently by Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciarán Cannon T. D. This is the third year of Back for Business, 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. (Eligibility criteria in notes below)

The 2020 programme 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 www.backforbusiness.com

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, 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.”

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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.

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 see www.backforbusiness.com

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