27 Sept 2022

Tipperary's female entrepreneurs being encouraged to watch little ACORNS grow

Tipperary's female entrepreneurs being encouraged to watch little ACORNS grow

Laura Stakelum with Annmarie McNally of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Tipperary female entrepreneurs are urging others from the county to join the latest cycle of ACORNS – a highly-successful development initiative to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland. 

The call for applications for the latest cycle of the programme - ACORNS 8 - was  launched earlier this month by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine, Charlie McConalogue.

ACORNS is funded under the Department’s 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 2022 to April 2023 with the deadline for applications midnight on September 23, 2022.

This is the eighth year of the ACORNS programme and over 350 female entrepreneurs have taken part to date and a significant proportion of these are still actively involved.

Past participants from Tipperary include Laura Stakelum of Stakelum Consultancy and Rosemary O’Shea from Tullahay Farm. 

Stakelum Consultancy provides M&A and transaction advisory services to the renewable energy and property industries in Ireland.

Renewable energy is a particular focus for company founder Laura Stakelum who advises clients on the acquisition and disposal of onshore and offshore wind assets.

Laura says: “ACORNS is a structured, goal focused forum which helps you set out objectives at the start of the programme and supports and encourages the achievement of those objectives for a period of six months. 

“My key takeaway from the programme was that the business itself is separate to the work the business does, and needs time, energy and dedication. I’d recommend the ACORNS programme to anyone starting out on their new business journey.”

Rosemary O’Shea was also on last year’s programme. She set up her company, Tullahay Farm, on the grounds of her family’s dairy farm Tullohea in south Tipperary. She produces whey-based drinks and curd-based soft cheeses, which are available in selected SuperValu stores. 

Rosemary says: “I would recommend ACORNS to anyone starting up a business. We have gained knowledge and confidence since attending our ACORNS sessions and its always great to have a listening ear for the many problems we face.”

Tipperary native Laura Bourke of Aspire Recruitment Limited took part in ACORNS 5, an experience that she “enjoyed immensely”.

Laura says: “ACORNS has been a programme I have enjoyed immensely and achieved so much from it.  I have met my tribe!  To meet so many other ambitious female entrepreneurs has been such a huge benefit to me.   I am ambitious for my business and it has been fantastic being around other women who are also ambitious for their business too!  I couldn’t speak highly enough of ACORNS and recommend it to others.”

There is no charge for those participating in ACORNS, due to the continuing support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the voluntary contribution of time by the lead entrepreneurs.

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