ACORNS - Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups

ACORNS is dedicated to seeking out and assisting up to 50 start-up female entrepreneurs living in rural areas as defined by CEDRA – the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. These are all areas of the country outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.

As ACORNS is fully funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, there is no charge for successful participants. Their costs at the residential elements of the programme are also covered.

To qualify for consideration, applicants must have recently set up a new business (no earlier than the 9th of July 2013), which they either own or part-own. Those who are not already trading must be actively planning a new venture and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve. If they are not already trading, activities such as organising the start-up team, looking for equipment / facilities, saving money for the start-up or writing the business plan would all be considered as active commitments to starting a business.

There is no restriction on the sector in which the new business is focused. However, the selection process is competitive.

You can access information and register their interest at Application forms will be sent to interested applicants immediately. The deadline for receipt of completed applications is Friday 11 September 2015 and the pilot programme will begin on the 30th September, at the ACORNS residential Development Forum in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.

The ACORNS initiative will consist of interactive round table sessions that are facilitated by other female entrepreneurs who have started and successfully grown businesses in rural Ireland and believe in the philosophy of entrepreneurs supporting entrepreneurs. Our volunteer  Lead Entrepreneurs for the pilot programme are Alison Ritchie of Polar Ice, (Portarlington, Co. Laois), Anne Cusack of Critical Healthcare, (Kilbeggan, Co. Westmeath), Anne Reilly of Paycheck Plus, (Dunleer, Co. Louth), Caroline McEnery of The HR Suite (Tralee, Co. Kerry), Deirdre McGlone of Harvey’s Point (Lough Eske, Co. Donegal) and  Mary B Walsh, Ire Wel Pallets (Gorey, Co. Wexford).