Applications for a new fully funded programme aimed at female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland is now available

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Applications for a new fully funded programme aimed at providing early stagefemale entrepreneursliving in rural Ireland with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to advance the development of their businesses. Entitled ACORNS - Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups - the programme is focused on unleashing the potential of female entrepreneurs who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards doing so. I am reaching out to let you know, as you are in a very good position to be able to identify those who could get real benefit from their participation.
 
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. If you know a suitable female entrepreneur who might be interested in applying or would like to apply for the ACORNS programme, the information can be accessed or you can register your interest at www.acorns.ie. Application forms will be sent to interested applicants immediately. The deadline for receipt of completed applications is Friday 11 September2015 and the pilot programme will begin on the 30th September, at the ACORNS residential Development Forum in Portlaoise, Co. Laois. There will be no charge for those selected to participate in ACORNS and their accommodation costs associated with the residential elements of the initiative will be covered.
 
Similar to Going for Growth, 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. The 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).
 
The programme will run from September 2015 until March 2016. Selected participants will be those who, on a competitive basis, best demonstrate their potential to advance their businesses and their commitment to fully engage in the initiative. If you would like to find out more about the initiative or have any questions about ACORNS please feel free to contact them info@acorns.ie or phone the office at 01 8450770 or download our brochure here.
 

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