Rural Women To Become Enterprise ‘Acorns’

12 Aug 2020 | 10.26 am

Rural Women To Become Enterprise ‘Acorns’

New round of support scheme to add 50 entrepreneurs

12 Aug 2020 | 10.26 am

A new cycle of Acorns will help 50 early-stage female entrepreneurs in rural areas over the next few months and will continue to support previous participants.

Adding 50 more rural women in the sixth cycle of the Department of Agriculture’s Acorns scheme will mean that more than 200 entrepreneurs will now benefit from the scheme.

Women with new businesses or well-developed ideas are now asked to join the free programme, and successful applicants can look forward to peer support and the insights and experience of ‘lead entrepreneurs’ — established rural business women who participate in the programme on a voluntary basis.

The lead entrepreneurs are Anne Reilly of Paycheck Plus in Louth; Caroline McEnery, The HR Suite in Kerry; Eimer Hannon, Eimer Hannon Travel in Meath; Larissa Feeney, Accountant Online; Mary B Walsh, Ire Wel Pallets in Wexford; and Triona MacGiolla Rí, Aró Digital Strategies in  Galway.

Minister Dara Calleary commented: “Acorns provides valuable peer support to early stage female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland, who have recently started or are about to start a business. In the challenging circumstances that we find ourselves, this support is needed now more than ever. I encourage early stage female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland to apply without delay.”

The fifth cycle of Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Startups was affected by Covid-19 restrictions, with participants and rural businesses generally hit by the effects, but the programme went online with the final round table sessions and workshops held remotely.

Supported by their lead entrepreneurs and their group, 75% of participants pivoted their business to take account of the changed circumstances and 27% reported a positive impact on their business.

The closing date for applications is September 21. The programme will run over six months from October 2020 to April 2021.

Applicants must, among other criteria, have set up and own or co-own a new business which has generated sales no earlier than 1 January 2018, or be actively planning a new venture and have made good progress towards getting the new venture off the ground. The business must be outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick or Waterford, and the applicant must expect to employ someone within three years.

More information and an application form are available here.

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