Sunday 19 May 2019

Returning emigrants get help to form startups

Startup help: Former Back for Business participant Clare O’Connor; lead entrepreneur Julie Currid, Initiafy; and Ciarán Cannon, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development. Photo: Orla Murray/SON Photo
Startup help: Former Back for Business participant Clare O’Connor; lead entrepreneur Julie Currid, Initiafy; and Ciarán Cannon, Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development. Photo: Orla Murray/SON Photo
Ellie Donnelly

Ellie Donnelly

Returning emigrants will be helped to launch and develop businesses in Ireland under a Government initiative.

The 'Back for Business' entrepreneur mentoring programme is designed for recently returned emigrants who have lived abroad for at least a year and have come home in the last three years.

Those planning to return in the near future will also be considered.

The aim of the programme is to bridge gaps entrepreneurs may have in the areas of local knowledge, contacts and professional backgrounds, while also addressing the general challenges all entrepreneurs face when establishing a business.

"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," Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciarán Cannon, said.

"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 added.

Those selected to join the programme, which has been designed and is being implemented by Fitzsimons Consulting, will take part in round-table sessions that are focused on goals and milestones.

Clare O'Connor, a scarf designer and previous participant of the programme, said that it proved helpful in giving her focus as well as "keeping me on track and creating goals to bring me to the next level.

"I began the programme with ideas and samples. I am now trading with a luxury product on the market," Ms O'Connor said.

The sessions are facilitated by voluntary lead entrepreneurs who have experience of successfully starting and growing a business.

Among them are Áine Denn, co-founder of tech company Altify; Julie Currid, co-founder of contract management software business Initiafy; tech entrepreneur and angel investor Mary McKenna; Micheal Hoyne, founder of Merlyn Bathrooms; Nikki Evans, founder of PerfectCard; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.

The closing date for applications is January 25, and the progreamme will run over six months starting next February.

Irish Independent

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