Some 50 places are available for rural female entrepreneurs on the latest Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups (ACORNS) cycle.

Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed is urging female entrepreneurs to take part in the Government-supported programme, which has already helped over 200 women.

“The ACORNS programme is a tremendous opportunity for early stage female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland to help them realise their ambitions,” Minister Creed said.

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“I would urge those who have recently started or are about to start a new business to apply to participate in this exciting initiative, as it is an opportunity not to be missed.”

The six month programme runs from October 2019 to April 2020 and the deadline for applications is 20 September.

New ventures

Paula Fitzsimons, founder and managing director of Fitzsimons Consulting, the company that developed the cited statistics that showed that the rate of entrepreneurial activity among women says teh programme is going from strength to strength. She said that on average, 850 women are starting new businesses in Ireland every month.

There were also strong findings from ACORNS participants who had taken part in the last cycle.

These include:

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  • Combined turnover for participants is €2.3m – an increase of 43% over the six-month programme cycle.
  • Thirteen participants became exporters for the first time.
  • Nineteen additional part-time employees were hired during the cycle, with 26 companies planning to hire additional staff this year.
  • Of the participants, 86% said ACORNS brought about practical change within their business; 95% felt nearer to achieving their ambitions and 100% would recommend participating in ACORNS to others.
  • For more information on eligibility criteria and how to apply click here.

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