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  • Writer's picturePippa Hackett

ACORNS - Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups

Updated: May 27, 2022

From every acorn comes a big tree…

Last Month, I attended the ACORNS Community Forum in Mullingar where I was so inspired listening to the many motivating stories of these wonderful female entrepreneurs.

The ACORNS programme is a hugely successful development program which support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland.

Set on a belief that all entrepreneurs learn more from each other, successful entrepreneurs from rural Ireland known as ’Lead Entrepreneurs’, head interactive table sessions where they pass on their many skills and knowledge to other participants.

The programme is completely free for participants, as it is funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine through the Rural Innovation and Development Fund.

It was especially lovely to see participants from my own constituency of Laois & Offaly; including Barbara Brown, from Brown’s Vineyard in Portlaoise and Jennifer Doyle, from Millbee Studio in Tullamore, who produced sustainable beeswax food wraps.

It was also great to catch up with Ann Marie Feighery, of Feighery Farms in Birr. I visited her farm last year and saw for myself how her business, set on the family farm is successfully producing an award winning ‘Beetroot juice’ - which is delicious.

Paula Fitzsimons the ACORNS Director stated that over 250 people have taken part in the programme since its initiation; and receive over four times the applications for every space available.

To be eligible to participate in the program, the only requirement is that your business must be based outside of the city lights of Dublin, Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford. To qualify for consideration, you must have recently set up a new business or at advanced stages of planning with a clear idea.

If you would like to find out more or have any questions about ACORNS, please see for more information.

If you wish to apply you can register your interest on the ACORNS website today and you will be sent an application form when the next programme is open.


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