Returned emigrants to Galway urged to develop businesses

An initiative to help returning emigrants start and develop businesses in Ireland is looking for participants from Galway to apply before the deadline of tomorrow Friday, January 25.

The Back for Business entrepreneur mentoring programme runs over six months and there is no charge for those selected to participate. It is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and was launched before Christmas by Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciarán Cannon.

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 business in Ireland. The call is open for applications for the 2019 programme, which will run from February to July 2019.

Cian Conroy from Oranmore was one of last year’s past participants who returned from the UK to launch his consultancy firm, Cian Conroy Consulting. He works with developers of offshore wind farms and turbine manufacturers, with his main market in the UK.

“The practical insight into international business and scaling from the Lead Entrepreneur on Back for Business was exceptional and hugely valuable,” he said.

Another participant from Galway last year was Zarah Lawless of coffee roastery Calendar Coffee and both urge others to apply for the programme.

“Back for Business helped me realise starting a business was possible and that Ireland was the right place to do it,” says Zarah, who relocated from London.

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 in notes below )

Those interested in learning more can download a brochure and register their interest in receiving an application form from

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, these men and women 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 months programme over half of them were trading.

Six had become exporters for the first time.

46 people were employed between them,

100 per cent 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.

When launching the programme, Minister Ciaran Cannon said that Global Irish – Ireland’s Diaspora Policy, is committed to facilitating, in practical ways, those who left Ireland and want to return home.

“Back for Business reflects this commitment. More and more Irish emigrants are returning home to Ireland to live and to work and as we have seen in the pilot, this is an initiative that can make a real difference to returned and returning emigrants who have a keen desire and ambition to be entrepreneurs. It is designed to support them to go beyond just creating a job for themselves and to aim higher and create a thriving business that can provide employment for others and value added in their local community,” he concluded.

The deadline for completed applications for Back to Business is tomorrow January 25 2019. For more information or to register your interest in receiving an application form, please see


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