|The ACORNS initiative is an excellent opportunity for female Food Entrepreneurs|
There is no restriction on the sector in which the new business is focused. However, the selection process is competitive. The deadline for applications from interested candidates is Friday 11 September 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.
Known as ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’, these role models will work in a voluntary capacity to facilitate monthly round table sessions with up to eight participants. These will take place once a month over six months and will address enterprise challenges and support participants to consider how best to develop and advance their early stage businesses for sustainability and growth.
|Paula Fitzsimons, Deirdre McGlone, Alison Ritchie and Mary B. Walsh at the launch of ACORNS|
Simon Coveney TD, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine provided for the setting up of this fund in his 2015 budget allocation and, commenting on the ACORNS programme, he says: “I am delighted that this initiative is getting underway. Job creation is a huge focus for this Government and 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”
Minister of State for Rural Affairs, Ann Phelan TD, who is responsible for the implementation of the CEDRA Report, says that this CEDRA initiative aims to encourage a stronger level of enterprise development in rural areas and adds “Rural women’s entrepreneurship clearly represents an untapped potential and can contribute significantly to our economic growth. For many rural women, entrepreneurship is part of a broader livelihood strategy, often undertaken initially on a part-time basis. Emerging businesses need support to flourish. I am a strong believer in the value of mentors and in the importance being able to turn to experienced and trusted advisors from a variety of industries for advice and support”.
Female entrepreneurs interested in applying for the ACORNS programme can access information and register their interest at www.acorns.ie.