Mayo women are encouraging other female entrepreneurs from the county to join the latest cycle of ACORNS, an initiative supported by the Rural Innovation and Development Fund.

Programme organisers are looking for female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who wish to start and develop new businesses or who have recently started a venture. 

A total of 50 new entrepreneurs will be selected and the free initiative will run over six months from October to April, with the deadline for applications midnight on September 10th.

ACORNS 7 will include a launch event, six roundtable sessions, an understanding the financials workshop, a briefing by the various development agencies and an end of cycle celebration.

The call for applications to ACORNS has been launched by the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

The previous cycle of the programme — ACORNS 6 — was held during nationwide restrictions to reduce the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Despite the challenges that they were facing, the ACORNS 6 participants were very positive, and their businesses grew.

Over the six-month period of the programme, the combined turnover of the overall group doubled from €1.8 million to €3.6 million.

Past participants from Mayo include: Sarah Hoban of OHS Consulting and McKinley Neal of PAX Whole Foods and Eco Goods.

Both business women have encouraged anyone interested in ACORNS to apply for the programme.

Sarah Hoban says: “The programme allowed me to set clear SMART business goals which I achieved throughout the programme.

These included securing two multinational clients to my portfolio and securing work overseas in the U.S., all throughout a global pandemic.”

McKinley Neal says:

“Networking with other business women through ACORNS helped me with my long-term strategies for the business, and getting feedback from my Lead Entrepreneur and fellow participants was invaluable.”