Rural female entrepreneurs sought for ACORNS initiative

The latest cycle of the female entrepreneurship development initiative “Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups” (ACORNS) has been launched by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed.

Launching the call for applicants today (Monday, August 27), Creed said: “This is a tremendous opportunity for rural-based female entrepreneurs and I urge them to apply to participate in this exciting initiative.

“Once again, female entrepreneurs have the opportunity to avail of ACORNS and all that it has to offer to help them realise their ambitions.”

The ACORNS programme is focused on developing the potential of female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland.

The programme will run over six months from October 2018 to April 2019. The deadline for application is September 21.

Those interested can get more information and register their interest in receiving an application form at

Places will be offered to 50 early-stage female entrepreneurs. There is no charge for successful applicants.

A statement from ACORNS has said the programme is based on peer support and collaborative learning.

Participants work in interactive round-table sessions that are facilitated by successful female entrepreneurs who have started and grown businesses in rural Ireland.

Acting in a voluntary capacity, ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’ share their insights and experience with the group and support the participants to examine and address the issues and challenges they face in progressing their businesses.

Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting – the company awarded the contract to run the ACORNS programme – said: “The female entrepreneurs that I have met on previous cycles of ACORNS have shown tremendous commitment and drive.

“This programme is about helping such women to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.”

Past participants are also offered the opportunity to join the ACORNS Community, to ensure they continue to reap the benefits of the programme.

ACORNS has been selected to represent Ireland in the European Enterprise Awards 2018 for the category, Investing in Entrepreneurial Skills.

Over 150 female entrepreneurs have taken part in ACORNS to date.