Laois women in business urged to join scheme to grow their business

Conor Ganly


Conor Ganly


Laois Local Enterprise Office supports women in business.

Laois women entrepreneurs in the early stages of business are invited to apply for a place on the ACORNS programme to help them develop companies, according to Laois TD and Minister for Justice and Equality, Charlie Flanagan. 

Minister Flanagan said the intention is to provide up to 50 entrepreneurs, based in rural Ireland, with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to meet and even exceed their current aspirations.

The ACORNS (Accelerating the Creation of Rural Nascent Start-ups programme will run from October 2018 until April 2019. Selected participants will be those who, on a competitive basis, best demonstrate their potential to advance their businesses and their commitment to fully engage in the initiative.

The deadline for application for this year’s cycle is the 21st September 2018.

Minister Flanagan said the ACORNS Programme is based on the principle that entrepreneurs learn best from each other. 

“The ACORNS initiative is focused on interactive round table sessions that are facilitated by female entrepreneurs who have started and successfully grown businesses in rural Ireland.

“It is designed to help provide female entrepreneurs who are in the process of setting up a business, or have recently started one with the knowledge, support and networking opportunities to meet and even exceed their current aspirations.

“The programme has proved very successful so far. Over 150 female entrepreneurs have taken part in ACORNS to date with many report increased sales, exports and job creation.”

To be considered for ACORNS, applicants must:

・ Have set up a new business , which has generated sales no earlier than the 27th of June 2016;or 

・ Be actively planning a new venture and have made good progress towards getting the new venture off the ground.

Indicators of actively planning a business would include organising the start-up team, sourcing equipment / facilities, money saved for the start-up, writing the business plan, etc.

・ They must own or part-own the business which must be located in a rural area, that is in an area outside the administrative city boundaries of Dublin, Cork, Galway, Limerick and Waterford;

・ They must commit to attending the Launch Forum over two days in October 2018 (15th/16th); the ACORNS Community Forum in April 2019 (date to be confirmed); the monthly meetings from November 2018 to March 2019; and give the required personal commitment to advancing their business ideas over the six-month programme duration;

・ They must expect to become an employer within three years.