Back for Business is an initiative to foster and support entrepreneurial activity among returned emigrants or those planning to return to live in Ireland in the near future. The six-month part time development programme is aimed at assisting them to start and develop a business. It addresses the challenges that all early stage entrepreneurs face with a particular focus on the additional barriers and challenges faced by those who have been out of the country for some time. This can often result in their local knowledge, contact base and professional and personal networks being less developed than those of typical entrepreneurs. Back for Business aims to bridge this gap.
The call for applications is now open.
Those interested in receiving an application form should register their interest in the first instance on the website www.backforbusiness.com and they will be sent an application form by email. This form should be completed and returned by email attachment to firstname.lastname@example.org. All completed applications must be submitted by 25 January 2019.
If you have any questions, or if there is any difficulty registering online, please phone us on (+353) 1 8450770 or email us on email@example.com
As it is expected that there will be many more applications than there are places available, it will be a competitive selection process. The Lead Entrepreneurs will play a key role in selecting the successful candidates. They will be seeking those who are prepared to fully engage with the initiative over its six months duration; demonstrate a determination to advance their fledging businesses; are prepared to work hard in pursuit of their entrepreneurial goals; and expect to become employers.
The Back for Business Lead Entrepreneurs will meet to assess the applications and candidates will be notified in the following days.
Back for Business is for returned emigrants who have lived abroad for at least a year and have returned to Ireland in the last three years, or for emigrants currently living abroad who are planning to return to Ireland in the near future. These will be men and women of different ages and experience who have lived in different parts of the world and are returning to Ireland for different reasons.
Their experience of living and working abroad will often bring significant advantages for starting a business, such as having a strong network of international contacts, fluency in foreign languages and greater cultural understanding of foreign markets.
Suitable applicants will be (i) those who have recently started a new business in Ireland, either on their own or with another business partner, or (ii) those who are well advanced in their plans to start a business and have moved well beyond the concept stage, or (iii) they are becoming/have become entrepreneurs through the acquisition of an existing business. If the business is newly established, it will not have generated sales before the end of October 2016. If acquired, it will not have been acquired before this date.
In respect of the business whether new or acquired, they will be a major shareholder and key decision maker in the venture. Furthermore, they will have the ambition and expectation of becoming an employer of others within three years. There is no restriction on the sector in which the business is focused.
This innovative initiative is funded through the Emigrant Support Programme by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade which seeks to facilitate in practical ways those who left Ireland and want to return home. Thanks to the support provided there will be no charge for those selected to participate in the initiative.
Minister for Foreign Affairs & Trade.
Welcoming the new initiative, Minister Coveney said: ‘I am delighted that my Department is once again supporting this exciting initiative, following a very successful pilot. Irish people who have travelled, or spent a number of years out of the country, often have exceptional entrepreneurial skills. The challenge is to maximize this potential for the benefit of the individuals who have recently returned and their families and also for the benefit of the communities in which they are locating across the country.”
Minister of State for the Diaspora & International Development. Minister Cannon also welcomed Back for Business, saying: ‘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. As we have seen in the pilot, it 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.’
Fitzsimons Consulting specialises in areas related to entrepreneurship and growth. Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting, is a recognised expert on entrepreneurship. Paula has been the national coordinator for GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) for Ireland since 2000, a former President of the consortium of GEM national teams, and a former Director of GERA, the governing body for the Global Entrepreneurship Research Association.
Fitzsimons Consulting has been central to the design and development of award winning initiatives, which focused on specific demographic groups to maximise their entrepreneurial potential: Going for Growth (www.goingforgrowth.com) and Senior Enterprise (www.seniorenterprise.ie). More recently the team has developed ACORNS (www.acorns.ie).
Speaking of her approach to developing this initiative for returning emigrants, Paula Fitzsimons commented: “Back for Business has been designed to draw on the proven successful elements in these other award winning initiatives. Voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs will be the backbone of the initiative; role models will demonstrate what is possible; and a focus on goals and milestones will keep participants on track to achieve their stated ambitions. Participant entrepreneurs will support each other to achieve their growth aspirations, to overcome common challenges and to strengthen their networks.”
Fitzsimons Consulting is most grateful to KPMG who on a voluntary basis are hosting and facilitating workshops on Finance, Tax and KPIs for participants of Back for Business.