Donegal women leading the way
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 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
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