New men­tor­ing scheme for ru­ral en­trepreneur­s

Wicklow People (West Edition) - - NEWS -

FE­MALE en­trepreneur­s liv­ing in ru­ral parts of Wick­low are be­ing en­cour­aged to ap­ply for the next round of the ACORNs ini­tia­tive.

ACORNS (Ac­cel­er­at­ing the Creation Of Ru­ral Nascent Start-ups) is a peer-to-peer learn­ing pro­gramme for fe­male en­trepreneur­s liv­ing in ru­ral Ire­land, who wish to start new busi­nesses or have re­cently started a busi­ness.

The call for ap­pli­ca­tions fol­lows the launch of the pro­gramme on Tues­day, August 13 by Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD. ACORNS is funded un­der the Depart­ment’s Ru­ral In­no­va­tion and De­vel­op­ment Fund.

Min­is­ter Creed said: ‘The ACORNS pro­gramme is a tremen­dous op­por­tu­nity for early stage fe­male en­trepreneur­s in ru­ral Ire­land to help them re­alise their am­bi­tions. 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. Each year, the par­tic­i­pants give an over­whelm­ing en­dorse­ment of the role ACORNS has played in sup­port­ing them to start and de­velop their busi­nesses. I am de­lighted to con­tinue to pro­vide sup­port to this ini­tia­tive through my Depart­ment’s Ru­ral In­no­va­tion and De­vel­op­ment Fund.’

Over 200 fe­male en­trepreneur­s have taken part in ACORNS to date and 50 new par­tic­i­pants are be­ing sought for ACORNS 5. The pro­gramme will run over six months from Oc­to­ber 2019 to April 2020.

Paula Fitzsi­mons, founder and Man­ag­ing Direc­tor of Fitzsi­mons Con­sult­ing, the com­pany that de­vel­oped the ACORNS ini­tia­tive said, ‘in most coun­tries more men than women are early-stage en­trepreneur­s. This is also true in Ire­land. How­ever, the ra­tio in Ire­land continues to nar­row and now stands at 1.6:1 (men to women early stage en­trepreneur­s) as more women plan and start new busi­nesses. The ACORNS pro­gramme is crit­i­cal to as­sist this grow­ing body of fe­male en­trepreneur­s to get their busi­nesses off the ground and on the road to suc­cess. I am de­lighted that the op­por­tu­nity is be­ing of­fered once again thanks to the sup­port of the Depart­ment of Agri­cul­ture, Food and the Marine and the con­tri­bu­tion of the vol­un­tary Lead En­trepreneur­s.’

Based on peer sup­port and collaborat­ive learn­ing, each par­tic­i­pant will have the op­por­tu­nity to learn from suc­cess­ful fe­male en­trepreneur­s.

Act­ing in a vol­un­tary ca­pac­ity, these lead en­trepreneur­s share their in­sights and ex­pe­ri­ence with the group and help the par­tic­i­pants to ad­dress the chal­lenges they face in pro­gress­ing their busi­nesses. They also act as role mod­els, il­lus­trat­ing by their ac­tions that it is pos­si­ble to start and grow a suc­cess­ful busi­ness in ru­ral Ire­land.

Many past par­tic­i­pants of ACORNS re­port in­creased ex­ports and job creation.

The dead­line for ap­pli­ca­tion is Fri­day, Septem­ber 20. For more in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing the ap­pli­ca­tion cri­te­ria, visit www.acorns.ie.

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