Last year 44 female entrepreneurs completed the pilot ACORNS programme, with all participants reporting that participation in ACORNS was of value to their business.
- Eight businesses began to trade for the first time during the pilot
- Of the 35 trading, 86% increased their combined sales by 43% during the pilot
- 10 participants made export sales during the six months of the pilot, including five for the first time
- Participants increased their total number of employees by 13%
The pilot participants expect to achieve significant further growth in sales, employment and in the number of exporters by the end of 2016. They are being offered the opportunity of further ACORNS support to assist them to achieve their ambitious targets.
There was a clear desire on the part of those who completed the ACORNS pilot to stay connected with the initiative and to participate in a further development phase. Thanks to the funding being provided under the CEDRA Rural Innovation and Development Fund through the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, a further development phase is being put in place for those who successfully completed the pilot and are continuing to develop their new businesses.
There is no charge for these participants.
The programme will be run over a six month period, October 2016 to April 2017 and will build on the foundations established in the pilot.
This further development phase will include
- Two round table sessions with their ACORNS Lead Entrepreneur,
- An opportunity to attend topic based workshops relevant to their development,
- Further networking opportunities,
- Development of individual participant profiles, and
- Tracking of progress against agreed goals and milestones.