Returning emigrants urged to join business development programme

Big help...Zarah Lawless of Coffee Calendar.
Big help...Zarah Lawless of Coffee Calendar.

Two returning Galwegians – beneficiaries of last year’s scheme – are encouraging fellow ex-pats to make the most of a state programme to help them establish new businesses back home.

Cian Conroy from Oranmore and Zarah Lawless of Calendar Coffee in Barna were two of the participants on last year’s Back for Business entrepreneur mentoring programme – and both are now reaping the rewards.

The free programme – which runs over six months – is funded by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and this year’s version was launched before Christmas by Minister of State for the Diaspora and International Development Ciarán Cannon.

It was run on a pilot basis last year to support entrepreneurial activity among those recently returned or planning to return to live and set up business in Ireland.

Cian Conroy from Oranmore was one of last year’s past participants having returned from the UK to launch his consultancy firm, Cian Conroy Consulting.

He works with developers of offshore wind farms and turbine manufacturers, with his main market in the UK.

“The practical insight into international business and scaling from the Lead Entrepreneur on Back for Business was exceptional and hugely valuable,” he said.

Another participant from Galway last year was Zarah Lawless of coffee roastery Calendar Coffee, based in Barna.

“Back for Business helped me realise starting a business was possible and that Ireland was the right place to do it,” said Zarah, who relocated from London back to her home city.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune.

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