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Donegal women leading the way 17.10.19

EIGHT Donegal women battled strong competition to earn a coveted place on the ACORNS initiative - a peer-led support network for female entrepreneurs in rural Ireland. ACORNS was launched at a high energy event in Mullingar on Monday, 14th October with less than 1 in 5 applicants across the country awarded one of the coveted 49 places.
The highest number of women led businesses, which were selected in particular for their judged potential for future success, are from county Donegal.
Donegal Female entrepreneurs awarded places on ACORNS 5 programme – (L-R) Joanne Butler OURganic Gardens, Carlene Lyttle Sailespin, Avril McMonagle Meantóir, Deirdre McGlone Lead Entrepreneur, Meg O’Gara Megnificent Creative, Nicola Gavigan Seclusion Spa, Sinead Fox The Salty Fox Coffee Shop and Marie Hutchinson Mojo Yoga and Wellness Studio.
Inishowen is well represented with two participants running their business from the peninsula. They are Avril McMonagle founder of Meantóir, a specialist training and professional support service for early childhood education and Carlene Lyttle of Sailespin, a specialist business support service for companies looking to foster growth.
Built on a belief that entrepreneurs learn best from each other, the ACORNS initiative is facilitated by ‘Lead Entrepreneurs’ - women who have started and grown successful businesses in rural Ireland.
The Donegal Acorns group is led by successful businesswoman Deirdre McGlone, former ‘Donegal Person of the Year’ and President of the Donegal Women in Business Network. Over the next six months Deirdre will work with the eight women-led businesses to maximise their business through peer-support, mentoring, and networking.
The businesses supported by the previous Acorns initiative recorded a 43% increase in turnover. Access to finance and marketing were the barriers to developing businesses in rural Ireland, as identified by the participants, which ACORNS aims to address over the next six months. For more information, see www.acorns.ie .
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