A reminder to all those interested, the deadline is today! The Department of Agriculture has rolled out the second year of the ACORNS business development initiative aimed towards rural women who have entrepreneurial interests. It falls under the CEDRA Rural Development and Innovation Fund.
Minister Michael Creed has called the programme ‘very effective’ and feels positive that the second year of the programme will be very successful. 56 early-stage entrepreneurs are needed, and candidates must be women based in rural areas.
It aims to give support to women and instil a confidence in them regarding their business ideas. This year, 44 women completed the pilot ACORNS programme, while this year there’s been a slight increase in the number of potential applicants, which is good news.
“The success of last year’s programme shows what a difference mentoring and peer learning can make to rural women in developing their new business ideas,” explained Creed.
A statement from the ACORNS programme says that it is ‘fully funded under the Department’s CEDRA Rural Development and Innovation Fund’.
“The initiative is focused on developing the potential of female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards setting up a business. There is no charge for successful applicants.”
ACORNS stands for ‘Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups’. Here are some of the statistics explaining last year’s candidates’ success:
- Eight businesses began to trade for the first time during the pilot
- Of the 35 trading, 86% increased their combined sales by 43% during the pilot
- 10 participants made export sales during the pilot, including five for the first time
- Participants increased their total number of employees by 13%
To be considered, you must have set up a business no earlier than 29th June 2014, which you own (or part-own), or you must be ‘actively planning a new venture’ and have a ‘clear idea of what they want to achieve’. You must also be outside of the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford to be considered a ‘rural-based’ applicant.
The deadline for application for this year’s ACORNS programme is TODAY, Thursday 22 September 2016. Interested female entrepreneurs can access information and register their interest at www.acorns.ie. Note: If receiving/sending application form by post, you will most likely miss the deadline and not be considered.