The first initiative will provide funding to develop aspiring female entrepreneurs in rural areas, while the second will provide funding to advance social farming in rural areas – the practice of offering voluntary work experience on farms to people who avail of a range of day support services.

These will be the first supports launched from the 2016 fund, which has a total value of €1.5m.

Further supports for other initiatives are due to roll out later in the year.

Commenting on the first initiative, Minister of State for Rural Economic Development Ann Phelan said: “I know there are many rural women with good business ideas. Support in the early stages of setting up a business is particularly valuable.”

Commenting on the social farming initiative, Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney said: “Minister Phelan and I agree on the need to support and encourage social farming, which provides many benefits to both service users and the farmers providing the service, and also to our wider society.”

A prior information notice will be published on the eTenders website and the Official Journal of the European Union shortly. It is expected that a competitive public procurement process to determine the allocation of funding will commence before the summer.


The Commission for the Economic Development of Rural Areas (CEDRA) and its report is being implemented by the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government. One of CEDRA's roles is to examine the ways in which rural areas can contribute to and benefit from national economic development strategies.