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Minister Brophy launches a call to new applicants for 2022 ‘Back for Business’ programme

        • Up to 50 places for emigrant entrepreneurs
        • Successful applicants participate for free
        • Last participants sales more than doubled over 6-months

Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora, Mr Colm Brophy T.D. today launched a call for applicants for the ‘Back for Business’ programme, which helps returning emigrants develop new businesses in Ireland.

Launching the call for applicants, Minster Brophy said:

 “The Government is committed to supporting our citizens who come back to Ireland. Returning emigrants bring a wealth of experience and ideas and I welcome their contribution to our national prosperity. This programme presents a great opportunity for Irish citizens to tap into their entrepreneurial potential. I would encourage all those eligible to apply. 

“Back for Business has been a great success in supporting new businesses founded by returning emigrants across Ireland. New businesses generate economic activity and additional employment across the country. 

“I welcome the establishment of a Back for Business Community offering additional support to past participants to further develop their new enterprises. Past participants have made significant progress and I am proud of their achievements. 

The Back for Business programme was created to foster and support entrepreneurial activity among emigrants coming back to Ireland. It is funded from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, and has already seen significant success. 

This is the sixth year of the Back for Business support initiative. There are places for up to 50 entrepreneurs to participate in Back for Business 6.

The programme is aimed at prospective entrepreneurs who have lived abroad for at least a year and returned within the last three years, and at those who plan to return soon. Successful applicants participate free.

Applications for the 2023 programme, which runs from late January to June 2023, are invited to register their interest on and apply by Friday, 06 January 2023.


Press Office

10 November 2022


More Detail on the Back for Business support initiative:

Thirty eight participants completed last year’s programme, all of whom were very positive in their feedback. Virtually all felt nearer to achieving their ambitions, and would recommend the programme to others. 

At the start of the cycle, 47% were pre-revenue. At the end of the cycle, three quarters were trading (74%) with others planning to generate sales in the coming months. Moreover, the total turnover of trading participants had doubled to €3.1million and there were 32 more employees. 

One advantage of time spent out of Ireland is international contacts. At the start of Back for Business, eight of the participants already had some export sales. There were a further six first time exporters over the course of the six month cycle. The strong export orientation is evident with the majority expecting to have customers in export markets in three years’ time.

The programme addresses the challenges that all early-stage entrepreneurs encounter, but also focuses on the additional barriers faced by those who have been living outside Ireland. Those selected to join Back for Business 6 will take part in round table sessions, focused on the achievement of goals and milestones, which are facilitated by voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs who have experience successfully starting and growing a business.

The Lead Entrepreneurs, who participate in a voluntary capacity, are the backbone of the Back for Business initiative. The Lead Entrepreneurs for this cycle are Hannah Wrixon, founder of WrkWrk, formerly known as Get the Shifts; Morgan Browne, CEO of Milner Browne and Enterpryze; Paul Duggan of The Gardiner Group; Seamus Reilly, co-founder and formerly of Critical Healthcare; and Thomas Ennis, founder of the Thomas Ennis Group.

Hannah Wrixon, one of the Back for Business voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs said:

“I was lucky enough to receive excellent peer to peer support when I was starting out and developing my businesses and it made all the difference. It is great to be in a position to give back and to support those at the start of their entrepreneurial journey.”


About Back for Business:

  • It was designed and developed for the Department of Foreign Affairs by Paula Fitzsimons of Fitzsimons Consulting.
  • Back for Business is being implemented by Fitzsimons Consulting, specialists in areas related to entrepreneurship and growth. This is the sixth year of the programme.
  • A Back for Business Community is being formed for previous participants, who will be offered workshops, round-table reviews and an annual Community Forum. 

Eligibility criteria

  • Applicants will (i) have recently started a new business in Ireland, either on their own or with another business partner, or (ii) will be well advanced in their plans to start a business and have moved well beyond the concept stage, or (ii) 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 2020.
  • 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 new business is focused. 
  • Preference will be given to those who have returned to Ireland.

Lead Entrepreneurs: This year’s Lead Entrepreneurs are listed in the release above. Mini bios of the Lead Entrepreneurs may be found on the website

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