Fine Gael TD for Wicklow and Minister for Agriculture, Food, Forestry and Horticulture, Andrew Doyle, has welcomed the launch of the second year of a key development programme for aspiring rural female entrepreneurs, ACORNS.
“This important initiative is a six month part time key development programme for aspiring female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards setting up a business. It is fully funded under the Departments of Agriculture’s CEDRA Rural Development and Innovation Fund and there is no charge for successful applicants.
“I believe that this programme could be of huge benefit to many female entrepreneurs living in rural areas of Wicklow and I would encourage them to apply.
“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. It provides a safe, supportive, challenging, informative and highly collaborative environment, where entrepreneurs help entrepreneurs to learn from each other and benefit from positive peer pressure. A core element is the involvement of lead entrepreneurs, who have already started and successfully grown businesses in rural Ireland. These business women, on a voluntary basis, facilitate the interactive round table sessions, act as role models and mentor the successful applicants.
“In addition to being of benefit to the individuals concerned, the knock on impact of the ACORNS programme for local communities and the wider Irish economy is very significant.
“Last year 44 entrepreneurs completed the pilot ACORNS programme, with all participants reporting that participation was of value to their business.
“I’m delighted that this programme is now entering its second year and increased funding is being provided by CEDRA through the Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine. We are delighted to be in a position to offer more places on the programme this year and to further support the development of those who participated in the ACORNS pilot.
“Fine Gael has made sure that rural development is a key priority in the Programme for a Partnership Government and my colleagues and I want to ensure that the fruits of our recovering economy are used to support local communities here in Wicklow.
“The deadline for application for this year’s ACORNS programme is Thursday 22nd of September 2016 and I would encourage interested female entrepreneurs in Wicklow to access information and register their interest at www.acorns.ie.”