MoS Ciarán Cannon, TD, Reception to celebrate the 2nd Cycle of ‘Back for Business’
Speech02 July 2019
Let me start by welcoming you all here to Iveagh House this afternoon to celebrate the successful conclusion of the second cycle of the ‘Back for Business’ programme.
I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this project, in particular Paula Fitzsimons, the Director and architect of Back for Business. Paula has been an enthusiastic and dedicated leader of this initiative since its inception two years ago, and I wish to acknowledge the incredible work that she is doing in taking Back for Business from strength to strength.
I wish to pay particular tribute to Áine Denn, Julie Currid, Mary McKenna, Michael Hoyne, Nikki Evans and Thomas Ennis who are the lead entrepreneurs and mentors and who have given generously of their time and know-how over the course of this cycle.
My thanks also to Clodagh, Orla and Eileen from the Back for Business team who have provided tremendous support in ensuring the successful conclusion of the second cycle.
But above all, I want to thank you, the entrepreneurs, who have dedicated your time, energy and talents to this programme over the past few months.
This is the second year of the Back for Business programme, and you should all feel a great sense of accomplishment and achievement. Looking at the tremendous diversity of initiatives represented here today, I can say with confidence that you have all done fantastic work in building upon the first successful year of the programme.
I am delighted that my Department has supported this exciting initiative. In my role as Minister for the Diaspora I work to support Irish communities abroad, but increasingly I hear about Irish people living abroad who want to come back home to live and work. In this regard, the Government has been working to facilitate the return of our emigrants to the greatest degree possible, not just because we want our family and our friends to return home, but because Ireland needs that breadth of experience and talent that they bring back with them.
This is what makes this endeavour so unique – the skills and experience that you as returning emigrants are reinvesting in your local communities and in our economy. Living abroad takes you outside of your comfort zone and often into environments that are highly competitive and very different from Ireland. This can be a great source of innovation, as you draw upon this experience to develop new ideas for growing our economy, be it through new products or new ways of thinking.
Each of you will have your own story to tell – some of which we heard earlier this afternoon during the celebration event. Each of you brings your own set of insights and skills that have been developed overseas. But together you have a shared story – that of being an Irish person abroad who has been successful and who has decided to build on this success at home.
Turning business ideas into reality and making a success of them is one thing, but I believe through Back for Business many of your initiatives will also benefit the families and wider communities in the areas where your companies are operating or will operate.
Small businesses are the backbone of the local economy and I know that in supporting your individual businesses we are also helping support local development.
Coming from Galway I’ve seen in recent years the development of local businesses that start out as an idea and grow into a reality. In areas like manufacturing, ICT, pharmaceuticals and arts, I have seen businesses develop and feed into national and international supply chains.
I have every confidence that in the not so distant future, we will see your own companies develop and prosper.
I want to conclude with a message of sincere congratulations to each and every one of you. It only remains for me to wish you the best of luck as you embark on the journey ahead. You have gained from a wealth of experience – both the shared experiences of your peers who are also starting to build a new business, but also from the insights and experience of your mentors.
We will be following your progress and success with great excitement.