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Minister McHugh announces programme for returning emigrant entrepreneurs

Minister Joe McHugh, Irish Abroad, Funding, Press Releases, Ireland, Global, 2017


Minister for the Diaspora announces new Government Funded Mentoring Programme for returning emigrant entrepreneurs

- Government allocates up to €100,000 to the project
- Project is part of implementation of Diaspora Policy & was shaped by the work of the Chair of the Inter-departmental Committee on the Irish Abroad which Minister McHugh chairs
- One year pilot programme will ensure initiative meets the needs of participants and communities

The Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development, Joe McHugh TD, today (Wednesday) announced a new Government funded mentoring programme to support returning Irish emigrants who wish to set up businesses in Ireland. Funding of up to €100,000 will be allocated to the project this year as part of the work of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on local diaspora engagement.

This is an important new initiative to implement the Government’s Diaspora Policy, which contains a commitment to facilitating, in practical ways, those who left Ireland and want to return home.

This new initiative will work to assist emigrants who have returned, or plan to return, to live and work in Ireland to foster and support entrepreneurial activity by working to address barriers and challenges to starting a business that are unique to that group.

Speaking today Minister McHugh said:

“As Diaspora Minister, I have met many Irish emigrants around the world who want to return home but are concerned about the challenges they face. I have been working with colleagues across government in my role as Chair of the Inter-departmental Committee on the Irish Abroad to ensure that government works in a joined up way to realise the objectives of our Diaspora Policy, effectively addressing issues affecting the Irish abroad and those seeking to return.

“We want Irish emigrants to come home and we want them to play a vibrant role in their communities and in our society when they do. Today’s programme is aimed at fostering and supporting retuning emigrants who are coming home with great proposals to start their own business.”

This mentoring programme will supporting returning emigrant entrepreneurs in a new way and will support Irish business. The Minister said:

“Returning emigrants often have much to offer their local communities. Research suggests that time spent living abroad improves capacity to succeed in creating and growing businesses. Yet returning emigrants face challenges unique to them in setting up business. These include gaps in personal and professional networks, support, and up to date local knowledge which would be crucial to successful establishment of new businesses.

“The programme will seek to attract applications from returning or recently returned emigrants with entrepreneurial ambition whether starting, partnering, acquiring or investing in existing businesses or playing an entrepreneurial role, advising and supporting innovation within existing businesses.”

Press Office
03 May 2017



The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade provides significant funding and support through the Irish Government Emigrant Support Programme to organisations working with citizens who wish to return to Ireland. Over the last decade over €4 million has been allocated to Irish based organisations working with returning emigrants. Funding of such organisations in 2016 saw an increase of €60,000 on the funding for the previous year.

A request for tenders for a service provider to deliver this new project will issue in the coming days.

At the conclusion of this initial one-year pilot programme, the programme will be reviewed, with a particular emphasis on the measurement of its practical impact on participants and their communities, and the economic contribution of the programme.