A call is currently open for candidates for a new cycle of ACORNS. As you will recall ACORNS is focused on early stage female entrepreneurs, whose businesses are located in rural Ireland. The initiative is supported by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Thanks to this support there is no charge for those selected to participate.

ACORNS is based on peer support in Lead Entrepreneur facilitated round tables. All the Lead Entrepreneurs have come from the Going for Growth Community and all have started and grown businesses themselves in rural Ireland.

While there are a great many registering their interest and receiving an application form every day, we want to ensure, in so far as possible, that those who could benefit from the opportunity get to hear of it in time to apply. Those interested in registering should do so at – and they will be sent out an application form. The closing date for the receipt of completed application forms is 20th September.

Attached is the brochure for the latest cycle for your information. There is also a short video on the homepage of the website, which explains the initiative in three minutes.

The outcomes from previous cycles are very encouraging in terms of participants reporting increased confidence, motivation and enhanced networks, as well as increased revenues, employment created and new exporters.

To be eligible for participation on ACORNS 5 applicants must:

  • Have set up a new business which has generated sales no earlier than the 1st of January 2017; or be actively planning a new venture and have made good progress towards getting the new venture off the ground. Indicators of actively planning a business would include organising the start-up team, sourcing equipment / facilities, money saved for the start-up, writing the business plan, etc. We would expect that if they are not already doing so, that they would begin to generate sales over the course of the cycle.
  • They must own or part-own the business which must be located in a rural area, that is in an area outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford;
  • They must commit to attending the Launch Forum over two days in October 2019 (14th/15th); the ACORNS Community Forum on 20th and 21st April 2020; the monthly meetings from November 2019 to March 2020; and give the required personal commitment to advancing their business ideas over the six-month programme duration; and
  • They must expect to become an employer within three years.

All the round table sessions and events are held outside Dublin.

We are delighted that Christine Charlton has agreed to meet the selected participants for ACORNS 5 when they come together for the first time in Mullingar in October. She will be able to brief them on the supports available from the LEOs to assist them in establishing and growing their businesses.