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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

ACORNS 8 Now Open

Pictured at the ACORNS Community Forum in Mullingar, April 2022

I want to encourage all Midland’s based female entrepreneurs to apply for ACORNS 8, a scheme to support new business start-ups.

ACORNS is fully funded by the Department of Agriculture so there is no charge for participants. Places are always over subscribed and I encourage women to register their interest in the programme as soon as possible.

Up to 50 new early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural areas will be selected for the six-month programme which will run from October 2022 to April 2023. Selection is on a competitive basis.

I have met many women who have participated in the programme, including from Laois and Offaly. Women like Barbara Brown, from Brown’s Vineyard in Portlaoise and Jennifer Doyle, from Millbee Studio in Tullamore. Participants tell me of all they learn from the Lead Entrepreneurs, women with first-hand experience of running a successful business in rural Ireland, and from each other.

A recent evaluation shows that the group of early-stage female entrepreneurs who took part in the latest ACORNS programme, doubled their combined turnover to €3.1m in just six months. The firms involved also increased their combined workforce over the cycle from 94 to 116 (19%), an increase of 22 new jobs in rural Ireland.

That’s very impressive and important at a time when we are transitioning away from some traditional employment. I’m asking any woman with a business idea to take the next step; consider ACORNS and speak with your Local Enterprise Office. This Government is supporting enterprise and innovation in rural Ireland, and ideas that lead us forward towards our climate resilient future are especially welcome.

See for details on how to register your interest and apply



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