Becoming an entrepreneur is difficult and requires a tremendous leap of faith, as well as adaptability, a broad skill set, connections, and communication skills. However, this should not stop anyone from pursuing their dream of becoming a business owner as there are dozens of resources and support available for those brave enough to branch out on their own. Some common challenges faced by entrepreneurs include managing cashflow, making time, hiring quality and reliable employees, and planning ahead for those unavoidable pitfalls faced by any business owner.
These challenges can be especially hard for those who are new to the country and are facing issues like language barriers, lack of connections, and an underdeveloped entrepreneurial network. These challenges can discourage many entrepreneurs from continuing their business upon returning to Ireland or even discourage them from returning at all.
Back for Business is a mentorship program in Ireland that connects such people to mentors who can advise and guide them through the challenges of beginning your own business.
Mentorship programs provide valuable opportunities for the mentor to give back to their communities and find new ways to utilize their years of experience, knowledge, and wisdom in order to guide their mentee through success.
This leads to the question, are mentorship programs effective? While Mentorship programs allow communities to make better use of their individuals, it is important to remember when it comes to entrepreneurship, mentorship programs are not about providing someone with the answers to starting a successful business. Often times, there is no black and white right answer. Decisions like hiring employees, managing cash flow, budgeting for wages and expenses, and marketing have answers that can vary depending on each individual business and their owner. Rather, mentorship is about enhancing the skills needed to make these decisions. Such skills can include language skills, communication skills, technological skills, organizational skills, networking skills, and resilience.
Furthermore, the Back for Business mentorship program is designed to encourage entrepreneurs to go above and beyond and expand their business further, into something that is more than just a job but rather an expression of their passion.
There are many benefits that can be reaped through such a program – not just for the mentor and the mentee but for the community as a whole. Increasing the number of thriving businesses in a community can encourage others to pursue their passions, thus creating more entrepreneurs, it can also more employment opportunities for the general population, allowing others to put their own hard-earned skills and education to use, and finally, it can stimulate the local economy and result in prosperity for the community. In fact, this mentorship program created a total 27 jobs in the first year it ran, in spite of its small size. Finally, this program allows for people to network with one another. Even outside the realm of entrepreneurship, mentor-mentee relationships have been proven to be exceptionally valuable. A network of such relationships is a haven of experience and advice that can be traded and shared for the betterment of the community.
This pilot program has been running since 2018 and began by accepting 38 participants. Now, it accepts up to 50 participants who are emigrating back to Ireland. To be eligible for participation in this program, you must have been off Irish soil for a period of at least 12 months and must be relocating back to Ireland.