A fund of €130,000 has been made available to help fund the development and training of a business programme aimed at women in rural Ireland.

And the Department of Agriculture is looking for service providers to deliver the programme.

The request for tender is under the CEDRA Rural Innovation and Development Fund.

The Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said that job creation is a huge focus for this Government.

I hope that by targeting female entrepreneurs, who are currently under represented in start-up enterprises, that we can increase the level of business and employment generation in rural areas.

The Minister of State for Rural Economic Development, Ann Phelan, who is responsible for the implementation of the CEDRA Report, outlined that this CEDRA initiative aims to encourage a stronger level of enterprise development in rural areas.

“This programme is especially directed at women living in rural Ireland who have recently started or who have taken the first steps towards starting their own business.

“Its intention is to provide them with knowledge, support and networking opportunities so that their businesses can succeed and grow.

“Rural women’s entrepreneurship can contribute significantly to our economic growth and it clearly represents an untapped potential.

For many rural women, entrepreneurship is part of a broader livelihood strategy, often undertaken on a part-time basis, and where it is difficult to separate production tasks, as well as market and non market work.

The programme will run for at least three to six months duration and is expected to involve up to 50 selected nascent female rural entrepreneurs who, on a competitive basis, best demonstrate their potential to advance their businesses, the Department said.

It is expected that the developmental programme should be ready to start around September. The closing date for tenders is July 9, 2015.

The Department says that the successful tenderer will be the person or consortium which best meet the fund’s stated objectives on a competitive economically advantageous basis.