Back for Business: Declan Treanor, Performance Treanor

Back for Business: A year working as a business consultant was enough for Declan Treanor to realise that the corporate world wasn’t for him.

Finding it incompatible with his desire for a balanced and healthy life, the MSc graduate in Strategic Management and Planning from Smurfit Business School returned to Belgium where he had spent the preceding years. He started his own business there as a personal trainer.

“I had studied Commerce and French for my undergraduate degree. I wanted to use my French so I moved to Brussels with Glanbia for a number of years. After the stint with PWC in Dublin, I knew I wanted to do my own thing. I had a qualification as a personal trainer so when I moved back to Brussels I said I’d give it a go,” says the former Dublin senior footballer.

“Entrepreneurial people love the creative side of business and not so much the administrative side. Back for Business was great for focusing your mind on the parts that don’t come as easy to you”

“It went really well. I trained a lot of employees with the European Commission, all different nationalities. From that I developed a network that led me to do corporate talks on nutrition, mental health, positive self-talk and mindfulness. That’s how Performance Treanor, my company, got started.”

On top of personal training and corporate seminars, Declan has expanded his offering to include workshops and programmes dedicated to mindfulness, health and wellbeing. His enthusiasm, he says, is informed by his own experience of managing anxiety and depression.

“Lots of people are doing similar things in this space but what makes Performance Treanor unique is my holistic approach. I look at the connections between the physical, mental and emotional health. I also focus on continuous improvement. The great lie of the self-help industry is that one book or top tip can change your life immediately. The reality is that there can be no quick overhaul. It’s all about small, incremental changes and a mindset shift.”

Declan is aiming to develop partnerships with other wellness brands in the next 12 months, and is currently in the process of  delivering his three-week mind, body, soul programme with different companies.

“The idea is to get the ball rolling for people who want to work on holistic health but don’t know where to start. One day we’ll have a mindfulness session, another day it will be laughter yoga, then negating cognitive distortions and finally upping physical activity. It’s all about teaching people small and incremental good habits and then building from there,” he says.

Declan is  grateful to Back for Business for supplying him with a ready-made network of professionals who also understand the challenges of setting up a business after returning home from abroad.

“Coming home is tough. In my case, my network was back where I’d just come from so I was suffering a bit of a culture shock. It was a relief to be put into a group of people who understood that, and who also knew about finances and how to deal with different pieces of regulation. Entrepreneurial people love the creative side of business and not so much the administrative side. Back for Business was great for focusing your mind on the parts that don’t come as easy to you,” he adds.

Are you thinking of coming Back for Business?

This is the sixth year of the Back for Business programme and there are up to 50 places available to support those have returned to Ireland – or are  thinking about it – and have or want to start a business here.

The Back for Business developmental programme, which is funded from the Government’s Emigrant Support Programme, was created to foster and support entrepreneurial activity among emigrants returning to live in Ireland. The call for this year’s applications was launched by Colm Brophy TD, Minister of State for Overseas Development Aid and Diaspora. 

Back for Business 6 will run from the end of January to June 2023. There is no charge for those selected to participate and the closing date for applications is Friday January 6th 2023. 

Back for Business is aimed at those who have lived abroad for at least a year and have returned in the last three years or those planning to return in the near future. It addresses challenges that all early-stage entrepreneurs encounter, but also focuses on the additional barriers faced by those who have been living outside Ireland for some years

Participants on last year’s programme increased their combined workforce by 76% and more than doubled (107% ) their turnover during the cycle – despite the restrictions placed on businesses as a result of the Covid pandemic.

Those selected to join Back for Business 6 will take part in round table sessions, focused on goals and milestones, which are facilitated by voluntary Lead Entrepreneurs who have experience of successfully starting and growing a business. 

This year’s Lead Entrepreneurs 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.

A Back for Business Community is also being formed for previous participants, who will be offered workshops, review round tables and an annual Community Forum.

Those interested in learning more about applying for Back for Business 6 can download a brochure and register their interest in receiving an application form by visiting

Main image: Declan Treanor, founder, Performance Treanor. Background image by Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash

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