Call for applications to the 9th cycle of ACORNS was launched on the 15th of August. ACORNS is a free development programme for early-stage female entrepreneurs based in rural Ireland and funded through the Rural Innovation and Development Fund by the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine (DAFM).
ACORNS 9 will run for 6 months (October 2023 to April 2024) on a part-time basis. The programme was designed based on the belief that early-stage entrepreneurs learn best from their peers. Participants interact with each other in monthly round table sessions, which are facilitated by a Lead Entrepreneur, who has first-hand experience of starting and successfully growing a business in rural Ireland. There are 50 places available for ACORNS 9. Those interested in the 2024 process can register your interest here and application forms will be forwarded when they become available.
To qualify for consideration, the applicant must have recently set up a new business which she owns, part owns, and generating sales. Alternatively, the applicant must be at an advanced stage of planning a new venture and have a clear idea of what she wants to achieve. She must also be living in a rural area. These are all areas of the country outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick, and Waterford.
The 46 entrepreneurs in ACORNS 8 recommended the programme highly when surveyed upon completion. A total of 96% of the participants said that they felt closer to achieving their ambitions after having completed ACORNS. While 89% said that their participation brought about a practical change within their business.
Image source: ACORNS website