Testimonials ACORNS 8

ACORNS is an amazing experience. With a wonderful mix of ages, backgrounds, and professional expertise, our ACORNS roundtable meetings never failed to inspire and offer genuine and helpful support even when the going seemed almost impossible. I would recommend ACORNS to any entrepreneurial spirit! Thank you for a great 6 months – looking forward to more!

                                                                                                                          -Adele O’Dwyer, Emsona 

I couldn’t recommend the ACORNS programme enough. It opens up a massive supportive network of inspiring female entrepreneurs who all learn from one another. This programme celebrates initiative, courage and success in a positive and open environment. The roundtable sessions are invaluable – you really share and learn from each others’ businesses and you walk away feeling empowered. Overall, a top class programme!

-Ali Molloy, High tide Experience Management

ACORNS is a fantastic initiative that is designed and executed to keep you clear on your goals and vision for your new business, and I would highly encourage any rural female entrepreneurs to apply and become part of this brilliant supportive community.

-Alison McGrath, My First Steps

Being part of the ACORNS 8 group has been an enriching, educational, and supportive experience. As part of the ACORNS group, participants are supported and encouraged in an atmosphere of inclusion, respect, community and positivity. To be part of a network where those values are not just words but enacted is a wonderful experience. ACORNS has values that work not only for it, but for the business lives of all of us who take part.  The learning from each other at our roundtables, added to by the expert workshops that are offered during the six-month period, is hugely important.   The journey of setting up a new business can be, and often is, a very lonely one. It is this loneliness that can be the undoing of potentially successful business ideas. ACORNS creates a community that mitigates against that very loneliness. To be part of the ACORNS group is to really know that you are not alone on your business journey. 

-Bridget McAuliffe, Quest and Thrive

I have been very privileged to participate in the ACORNS 8 programme over past 6 months and it has been an incredibly positive experience for me. I have no doubt ACORNS will a huge part of our business growth into the future. The energy created by Paula and her team at both forums resulted in a dynamism of open, honest sharing, where I met and was inspired by so many incredible women. Six months on I believe I have found a group that will be friends for a long time to come, who are genuinely invested in one another’s futures. Probably my greatest takeaway beyond my newfound confidence that I can make my business grow is that there is no failure – maybe a change of course in business or life but that does not constitute failure. 

-Catherine Kinsella, Saltrock Dairy

I would recommend participating on the ACORNS programme if you want to have an amazing experience, starting and growing your business with the support of other wonderful female entrepreneurs. The support and expertise from Paula and the Leads is a massive boost to have at a time when you can really do with it. It is also a wonderful way of networking and masterminding with a huge number of female entrepreneurs and learning from those around you and those who have gone ahead of you. It is a valuable experience and one not to be missed!!

-Eileen Conlon, Apricity

Being chosen to participate in ACORNS 8 was one of the best things to happen for my business. The ACORNS programme gave me the confidence and the impetus to make Visual Heritage a success. Preparing for the meetings gave me purpose and accountability – I simply wouldn’t have achieved all I did in the last six months without the support of not just my group, but the entire ACORNS family.

-Eimear Healy, Visual Heritage

A fantastic 6 month programme for anyone looking to develop a business idea or looking to grow their business.  Amazing peer support learning opportunities and practical business information that will help you to take the right steps in your business.

– Fiona Fahy, Feed Me Mother

I would recommend ACORNS for the accountability, the encouragement, motivation and positivity received from my Lead Entrepreneur, and from my fellow peers at the roundtable. It was great being among like minded business people, sharing our experiences and information to assist our business to advance to the next stage and progressively grow into the future.

– Helen Bracken, Fox Covert Farm

I cannot express enough how grateful I am to have found ACORNS, to support me as a women growing a business in rural Ireland. My Lead Entrepreneur and the entire group were absolutely amazing, providing me with the guidance, encouragement, and friendship that I needed to help my business grow and thrive.    Thanks to ACORNS, my business is now on the right track, and I feel more confident and capable than ever before. It’s truly amazing to be surrounded by such positive and supportive women who understand the unique challenges and opportunities of women in business.    I would highly recommend ACORNS to any women who are looking for a supportive and empowering community to help them grow their businesses. The experience has been nothing short of fantastic, and I am so grateful for the friendships and connections that I have made along the way. Thank you, Paula and the ACORNS team, for everything!

– Jan Carroll, Fortify Institute

Taking part in ACORNS 8 was a game changer for me and my business. It gave me the focus and clarity to turn HeartFelt Drama from an idea into an actual reality. And more than that, with the support from our brilliant Lead Entrepreneur, and my fellow business women in our group, it gave me the confidence and the space to really dream big and understand my own ambitions for myself and for the company. I couldn’t recommend taking part in ACORNS highly enough.

-Jennifer Davidson, HeartFelt Drama

ACORNS has been a fantastic experience for me and for my business.  It has given me the confidence and motivation to drive my business forward.  I have learned so much on this journey, it has been invaluable.  The biggest thing I gained from ACORNS is support, both from my Lead Entrepreneur and from the amazing business women in my group.  It’s hard to explain how a group of women with very different businesses can support each other so much, but they do.  We all have each other’s back, we all encourage and question each other and drive each other forward to success….and we will continue to do so into the future.  I am delighted to be part of the ACORNS network and encourage any woman thinking of applying to do so, you won’t regret it!

-Joan McCann, The Code Lab

I would highly recommend ACORNS programme. It has helped me understand my finances within the business, thanks to the support of my Lead Entrepreneur. Being supported by amazing, resilient women every month gave me the encouragement when I needed it, insight into difficult entrepreneurial problems and solutions, and the connections to support each others growth into the future.    Women supporting women, and our world will change. 

– Karen Kearney, Soak Bath Salts

Participating in ACORNS 8 has been such a rewarding experience. Being accepted onto the programme gave me the validation that I have a viable business. A business I am confident will be successful. I would highly recommend ACORNS, it has changed my mindset. I have gained confidence, invaluable knowledge and know how to set targets and achieve them with a greater perspective.     I have met the most incredibly talented women, women who support and uplift each other, and are friends for life. 

– Karena Ryan, Karena Ryan Artist

ACORNS 8 has been a hugely pivotal point for me and my business.  Having had an ‘idea’ for a few years, bought some alpacas in the hope of starting a business with them, I have gone from strength to strength, all with the help of the ACORNS programme, Paula Fitzsimons and her team.  Before joining the ACORNS family, I had some but not a lot of confidence in myself and my business idea.  I didn’t know where to start, I did a start your own business course, which was great, but leaving that, felt like I was on my own again, out at sea.  Then, I was accepted onto the ACORNS programme and my whole world changed.  Now I have an ACORNS family.  People who understand my business, understand my ideas, understand my challenges and are there throughout all the self-doubt, hardships and the wins!  There have been more wins since starting on the programme than anything else because I have others who believe in me and who are there going through exactly the same thing, albeit in different businesses.  I would highly recommend this programme to anybody. It is fantastic and well worth applying. 

-Kathleen White, FineOaks Alpacas

Very inclusive programme that kept me accountable at least once a month during our catch ups. I’ve met amazing people on the same journey that I’ll be able to reach out to them at any stage. I’d highly recommend ACORNS to anyone. I speak highly about this programme.

-Katie Nolan, Sleek N Easy

I have had the most amazing 6 months on ACORNS 8.   I have met the most amazing business women who have inspired and motivated me so much.   I would highly recommend ACORNS to anyone starting their business. We have learned so much and gained confidence.   The support is incredible.   Thank you so much ACORNS family.

– Lauren Mc Loughlin, Lauren’s Patisserie

I would highly recommend ACORNS to any female entrepreneur. To be an Acorn is pretty special, its an amazing group of women supporting each other and helping each other to grow and develop. It is one of the best investment’s of time you will put into both your business and your future.

-Louise Corcoran, Louise Corcoran Accounting

ACORNS was an unbelievably positive experience for me.  Under the guidance and mentorship of a highly experienced businesswoman and a group of smart individuals, my business was transformed over the 6 month cycle.  More importantly than that though, my lack of confidence in myself was worked on and I realised that I do have what it takes to get a business of the ground.  Over the 6 month period, my confidence increased, my understanding of business language increased, my ability to focus was honed to a huge extent.  The result was a threefold increase in sales, creating 1 full time and 1 part time positions and taking a fabulous office.  Before my time with ACORNS, I felt those targets were light years away. ACORNS is an amazing programme – go in to it with your eyes and ears wide open and a willingness to learn from the people around you and the sky’s the limit.  I cannot recommend this programme enough!  Thank you to Paula Fitzsimons, the team at Fitzsimons Consulting who work so hard, the amazing Lead Entrepreneurs who are absolutely rooting for your success and of course, the fabulous women I shared this experience with – you taught me more than you can possibly know!

-Louise Jones, Simpson Jones

ACORNS is a such wonderful initiative to help women in rural Ireland develop their businesses. The support given by the programme, the Lead Entrepreneurs and the other ACORNS is so valuable and there will always be someone in the ACORNS community with a solution to your problem.

-Lynn Shead, Natures Alchemy

Taking part in the ACORNS programme was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my entrepreneurial journey. From the moment you enter the programme, you feel a part of the greater community, but you work in the small groups that create safe and intimate environment. I would recommend ACORNS programme for any female entrepreneur.

-Madga Seymour, Pure Oskar

An inspiring and positive journey, I cannot recommend ACORNS enough.  The experience is so powerful that it is hard to explain. It is a unique and exceptional journey and one that encourages you to really think about your business to its very core. Hearing other business women’s experiences at the round table sessions is both humbling and inspirational.    A journey that will stand to every entrepreneur.    

-Niamh Walsh, TDL Horizons         

ACORNS for me, was about a connection with the other participants and feeling like you had someone in your corner, always willing to give you a push when you needed it. It is tough running an ecommerce business by myself and as I am online, I rarely meet my customers either. Having other women in business meant I could bounce ideas off people and get valuable feedback. No matter what stage of business the other participants are in, we all faced the same problems and issues so it doesn’t matter whether you are trading, just started or a few years in. Everyone in our group developed over the course of the programme either with their idea or just trading more. I am delighted to be an ACORN!

-Petrina O’Halloran, Mama’s Boobie Box


ACORNS has been invaluable to building my confidence as an entrepreneur. My business has grown in more ways than I could have imagined in just 6 months. Paula and the team are phenomenal at what they do.   Thank you, ACORNS.

-Regina O’Connor, Regina Skin & Phibrows


ACORNS is a really positive programme run by dynamic individuals and with a wide community of interesting and active women. It has been inspiring to be part of. Considering my business within the ACORNS programme helped me to redefine my goals and realise what my key interests are in running a business.   I would highly recommend this programme.

-Ruth Lyons, Ruth Lyons Artist Studio and Shop

ACORNS is the board you can’t afford, but also friends for life.

-Sara Rose, Corrigeen Farm

Fantastic programme, I gained so much from it. My Lead Entrepreneur was fantastic and so warm and welcoming. No question was silly and she was extremely helpful with anything we needed. Paula was very inspiring and her enthusiasm was amazing throughout the entire programme. Her dedication and love for ACORNS does not go unnoticed. Clodagh and Orla kept the show on the road with all the organising and was very helpful with anything we needed. Would definitely recommend and I was delighted to be part of the ACORNS 8 journey.


Brilliant experience, would highly recommend to anyone starting a business.

-Sinead Ryan, Aran Health Pharmacy