Tipperary business women urge local company owners to join ACORNS – a development programme for rural female entrepreneurs

  • No charge for ACORNS programme which will assist 50 new female entrepreneurs in rural areas
  • Call open for those with new businesses – or well-developed ideas for new ventures — to join the latest cycle
  • Past participants on the Government-backed programme report increased sales, exports and jobs


Tipperary business women urge local company owners to join ACORNS – a development programme for rural female entrepreneurs

Back row: Lisa Larkin, Paula Fitzsimmons, Norma Dinneen. Front row: Joanne Browne, Minister Michael Creed and Cori Galvert

The call is open for early-stage female business entrepreneurs in rural areas to join the latest cycle of ACORNS, the highly-successful female entrepreneurship development initiative.

And female entrepreneurs from Tipperary who have previously participated on the programme are urging their fellow business owners to apply before the September 21 deadline.

ACORNS is focussed on developing the potential of female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland, who wish to start and develop new businesses or have recently started a business.

Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Michael Creed TD recently launched ACORNS, which is funded under the Department’s Rural Innovation and Development Fund.

A number of female entrepreneurs from Tipperary have participated in the programme – now in its fourth year – including: Geraldine Byrne of Mediskin, Ailbhe Gerrard of Brookfield Farm and Hiveshare, Kylie Magner of Magners’ Farm, and Laura Moloney of Laurel the Salon.

Geraldine Byrne launched her first business, skincare and wellbeing clinic Mediskin, through ACORNS. Mediskin has become a multi-award-winning business and Geraldine has since launched a second business, The Joneses, and is getting ready to launch her own range of cosmeceutical skincare products.

She says: “I’ve always been passionate about promoting healthy skin so running my own skincare businesses is a dream come true. Meeting so many amazing business women through ACORNS has inspired me to champion other female entrepreneurs. I believe if my business can make it, then other businesses can achieve their dreams too. I would urge any woman who has just set up a business – or is about to set one up – to apply for ACORNS as it will help your venture flourish like it helped mine.”

More than 150 female entrepreneurs have taken part in ACORNS to date and the current cycle is looking for 50 new participants. The programme will run over six months from October 2018 to April 2019. The deadline for application for this year’s cycle is September 21. (Eligibility criteria in notes below)

Those interested can get more information and register their interest in receiving an application form at www.acorns.ie. There is no charge for successful applicants.

Many past participants of ACORNS report increased sales, exports and job creation. Progress made by participants on the last programme, which ran from October 2017 to April 2018, demonstrates these encouraging outcomes:

  • An increase in annualised sales of 97% over the six months of the cycle
  • Nine participants became exporters for the first time
  • 13 additional fulltime employees and 19 additional part-time employees were hired during the period.

Past participants of ACORNS are also offered the opportunity to participate in a further development phase and to join the ACORNS Community, to ensure they continue to reap the benefits of the programme and of the valuable connections they have made through broadening their support network.


ACORNS is based on peer support and collaborative learning and each participant will have the opportunity to learn from successful female entrepreneurs who have started and grown businesses in rural Ireland.

Acting in a voluntary capacity, this year’s ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’ are: Alison Ritchie, Polar Ice, Laois; Anne Cusack, Critical Healthcare, Westmeath; Caroline McEnery, The HR Suite, Kerry; Deirdre McGlone, Harvey’s Point, Donegal; Mary B Walsh, Ire Wel Pallets, Wexford; Triona MacGiolla , Aró Digital, Galway.



Eligibility Criteria for participation on ACORNS

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 on 8th and 9th April 2019; 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; and
  • They must expect to become an employer within three years.


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