We talk to women who are forging innovative businesses in rural Ireland. Dr Suraya Diaz left England and a career in medical research to set up her organic health foods and cosmetics business in Galway.
Dr Suraya Diaz enjoyed a successful career in medical scientific research in countries across Europe before moving to Galway to set up her organic health foods and cosmetics businesses.
Suraya, who is originally from Aveiro in Portugal, was always interested in herbs and home remedies. She always knew that she wanted to have her own business.
“Participating in ACORNS was a very positive learning journey for my business and I would recommend it to any businesswomen in rural Ireland”
Suraya settled on Galway as the location for her new venture, after she was prompted to leave England when she felt the environment there was changing due to Brexit and was not very business-friendly.
Now living in Loughrea, she has an organic health store in Ballinasloe and two distinct online businesses – A Natural Life by Dr Suraya Diaz, which offers her own brand of organic food, drinks, herbs and supplements, and Pure by Dr Suraya Diaz, which produces organic cosmetics.
Ingredients for success
Suraya founded the company in January 2020 but had spent a number of years prior to that in a product development phase. This involved getting ingredients, packaging and formulas approved by different organic certification bodies.
Although she already had a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Suraya achieved further qualifications in the areas of Herbal Medicine, Naturopathy, Homeopathy and Nutrition before launching the business.
Suraya says that the ACORNS programme taught her aspects of running a business that she had not been aware of, and that it was very beneficial to meet other women in the same situation as herself, setting up a business in a rural environment.
ACORNS is a Government-supported programme designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland through a peer learning approach.
Women in rural Ireland with new businesses or at least with well-developed ideas are being invited to join ACORNS 7.The ACORNS programme is designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland through a peer learning approach. Thanks to the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the voluntary contribution of time by Lead Entrepreneurs, there is no charge for those selected to participate.
“Participating in ACORNS was a very positive learning journey for my business and I would recommend it to any businesswomen in rural Ireland,” says Suraya.
As well as being available online and in a number of stores in Ireland, Suraya’s products are also exported to the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and Spain.
She is currently rebranding ahead of the launch of her cosmetics range, and she hopes to employ more people in the next couple of years.
The call is now open for applicants for ACORNS 7 and 50 female entrepreneurs from across the country will be selected to participate. Anyone interested in receiving an application form ahead of the September 10, 2021 deadline for ACORNS 7 should register their interest here