Mayo female entrepreneurs are urging others from the county to join the latest cycle of ACORNS – a highly-successful development initiative to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland.
The call for applications for the latest cycle of the programme — ACORNS 8— was launched earlier this month by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue T.D. ACORNS is funded under the Department’s Rural Innovation and Development Fund.
Programme organisers are looking for female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who wish to start and develop new businesses or who have recently started a venture.
A total of 50 new entrepreneurs will be selected and the free initiative will run over six months from October 2022 to April 2023 with the deadline for applications at midnight on September 23, 2022.
This is the eighth year of the ACORNS programme and over 350 female entrepreneurs have taken part to date and a significant proportion of these are still actively involved.
Past participants from Mayo include: Barbara O’Flaherty of Let’s Get Digital (letsgetdigitalmarketing.com/ ) and McKinley Neal of PAX Whole Foods and Eco Goods (www.paxwholefoodsecogoods.com ).
Let’s Get Digital helps businesses to increase sales online through a combination of paid search, SEO, social media, display advertising and email marketing. On average, the company has increased client online revenue by 35 per cent. Barbara initially worked from home before moving to an office in Swinford, Co Mayo.
Barbara says: “I was privileged to be selected to participate in the ACORNS 7 programme. It has been incredibly inspiring to meet so many amazing business owners and like-minded people who strive to constantly improve their business and reach their goals. Paula Fitzsimons and her team, with their infectious positivity and drive, really pushed us to go out of our comfort zone and reach higher in our goals.”
Based on a belief that entrepreneurs learn best from each other, ACORNS is centred on interactive round table sessions facilitated by successful female entrepreneurs who have started and grown businesses in rural Ireland. These are known as ACORNS Lead Entrepreneurs, and they give their time free of charge to encourage and support the new business owners.
There is no charge for those participating in ACORNS, thanks to the continuing support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the voluntary contribution of time by the Lead Entrepreneurs.
Any woman with a new business based in rural Ireland — or a well-developed idea for a new venture they want to get off the ground — can get more information and register to receive an application form at www.acorns.ie