ACORNS, a new start-up programme aimed at funding early-stage female entrepreneurs in rural areas of Ireland, is seeking applications.
Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups (ACORNS) is focused on unleashing 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.
The programme aims to assist 50 start-up female entrepreneurs living in rural areas as defined by CEDRA – the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas. These are all areas of the country outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford.
The programme is funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, there is no charge for successful participants.
ACORNS is targeting untapped entrepreneurial potential
A report from the Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) contained a recommendation that a Rural Innovation and Development Fund should be developed to support “innovative, small-scale pilot initiatives that explore the diverse range of potential identified through the CEDRA process.”
Applicants must have recently set up a new business (no earlier than 9 July 2013), which they either own or part-own.
Those who are not already trading must be actively planning a new venture and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve.
If they are not already trading, activities such as organising the start-up team, looking for equipment and facilities, saving money for the start-up or writing the business plan would all be considered as active commitments to starting a business.
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 30 September at the ACORNS residential Development Forum in Portlaoise, Co. Laois.
“I believe that significant untapped entrepreneurial potential exists among women in rural Ireland and the objective of ACORNS is to equip these early-stage entrepreneurs with the appropriate knowledge, confidence and networks to successfully start and develop sustainable businesses,” said Paula Fitzsimons, the founder of Fitzsimons Consulting, the company awarded the contract to run ACORNS.
“Working with the team of volunteer Lead Entrepreneurs and with the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and CEDRA, I am convinced that we can harness that potential for the good of the individuals concerned, their local communities and the wider economy.”
Rural entrepreneur image via Shutterstock