Deadline for ACORNS applicants fast approaching

This Friday, September 21, is the deadline for early-stage female business entrepreneurs in rural areas to join the latest cycle of ACORNS.

The female entrepreneurship development initiative, Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups (ACORNS), is focused on developing the potential of female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who wish to start and develop new businesses or have recently started a business.

The initial call for applications was made by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed, last month. ACORNS is funded under the Department’s Rural Innovation and Development Fund.

Over 150 female entrepreneurs have taken part in ACORNS to date and the current cycle is looking for 50 new participants.

The programme will run over six months from October 2018 to April 2019 and anyone with a new business – or an idea for a new venture they want to get off the ground – can get more information and register their interest in receiving an application form here. There is no charge for successful applicants.

As part of the programme, ‘lead entrepreneurs’ will 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.

This year, the lead entrepreneurs are:
  • Alison Ritchie, Polar Ice, Co. Laois;
  • Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare, Co. Westmeath;
  • Caroline McEnery, The HR Suite, Co. Kerry;
  • Deirdre McGlone, Harvey’s Point, Co. Donegal;
  • Mary B Walsh, Ire Wel Pallets, Co. Wexford;
  • Triona MacGiolla Ri, Aro Digital, Galway.

In addition, Heather Reynolds of Eishtec, Co. Waterford, facilitates the ACORNS Plus round table for those who have already completed a cycle of ACORNS and wish to drive forward the growth of their businesses.

Many past participants of ACORNS report increased sales, exports and job creation.

Commenting on the programme, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Michael Creed said: “Each year, the participants give an overwhelming endorsement of the role ACORNS has played in supporting them to grow their businesses.

“Once again, female entrepreneurs have the opportunity to avail of ACORNS and all that it has to offer to help them realise their ambitions. This is an opportunity not to be missed.”

ACORNS has been selected to represent Ireland in the European Enterprise Awards 2018, investing in entrepreneurial skills.