After running a very successful pilot, ACORNS, an initiative to support early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland are now seeking applications for a second funded programme aimed at providing early stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to advance the development of their businesses.

Entitled ACORNS – Accelerating the Creation Of Rural Nascent Start-ups – the programme is focused on unleashing the potential of female entrepreneurs who have recently started a business or who have taken concrete steps towards doing so.

ACORNS are looking to select up to 56 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.

There is no charge for successful participants, as ACORNS is fully funded under the CEDRA 2015 Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine. Successful candidates will also have the costs associated with the residential elements of the programme covered. Minister Creed in launching  the second year of ACORNS described the initiative  as  “ a significant opportunity for new female entrepreneurs in rural areas”.

To qualify for consideration, applicants must have set up a new business very recently (no earlier than the 29th of June 2014), which they either own or part-own or be in the advanced stages of starting a business.  Those who are not already trading must be actively planning a new venture and have a clear idea of what they want to achieve. Activities such as organising the start-up team, looking for equipment / facilities, saving money for the start-up or writing the business plan would all be considered as active commitments to starting a business.

For anyone who might be interested in applying for the ACORNS programme, they can access information and register their interest at

Please register your interest on the website here in the first instance and you will be sent an application form by email. Complete the application on your system and return it to us by email attachment. Application Forms can also be sent and received by post. Please contact us on 01 845 0770, if you would like a form posted to you or if you have any difficulties in registering online. Closing dates for receipt of completed applications is the 22ndSeptember 2016. No applications received after this date can be considered.

The programme will begin on the 10th October, at the ACORNS residential Development Forum in Mullingar, Co. Westmeath.