ACORNS scheme for rural female entrepreneurs
A number of Wicklow’s female enterpreneurs have participated in a programme to help develop their fledging businesses.
ACORNS is a development initiative to support female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who wish to start and develop new businesses or have recently started a business.
The Cool Food School and Love Mo Chuisle were participants in the recent fourth round of the peer support and learning project.
Founded by Deirdre Doyle, the Cool Food School teaches children about the joys of healthy eating. Deirdre completed a BTEC in Nutrition and Health Coaching and an ITEC in diet and nutrition at the Irish Institute of Nutrition and Health in 2016 and decided to combine this training with her passion for healthy eating to have a positive influence on children of all ages. The Cool Food School brings the healthy message to children in preschools, primary schools and libraries through fun and interactive workshop
Anna Dobson, founder of Irish Tweed clothing brand Love Mo Chuisle, recently expanded the brand to include new Irish gift stores, Tweed in the Valley in Avoca and Gorey in County Wexford.
Now, they are encouraging other female business owners from the garden county to apply for the fifth round of the ACORNS programme.
‘Participating in ACORNS has been a fantastic journey. Meeting amazing business women and having their support has pushed me to follow my goals and succeed,’ said Anna Dobson of Love Mo Chuisle.
Over 200 female entrepreneurs have taken part in ACORNS to date and 50 new participants are being sought for ACORNS. The programme will run over six months from October 2019 to April 2020. The deadline for applications is September 20.
ACORNS is 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 will share their insights and experience with the group and help the participants to address the issues and challenges they face in progressing their businesses. They also act as role models for starting and growing a successful business in rural Ireland.
The Lead Entrepreneurs are: Alison Ritchie, Polar Ice, Laois; Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare, Westmeath; Anne Reilly, Paycheck Plus, Louth; Caroline McEnery, The HR Suite, Kerry, Deirdre McGlone, formerly Harvey’s Point Hotel, Donegal; Eimer Hannon, Eimer Hannon Travel, Meath; Mary B. Walsh, Ire Wel Pallets, Wexford; Triona MacGiolla Rí, Aró Digital Strategies, Galway.
The 46 participants in the fourth round reported progress during the six-month period including increased turnover, exports and job creation. Past participants also have the opportunity to remain connected to the support network of business connections.
Any woman with a new business based in rural Ireland can get more information at www. acorns.ie.
Deirdre Doyle, The Cool Food School.