An initiative to develop female entrepreneurship in Donegal is now open for applications. Following the success of the programme last year, Local Enterprise Office Donegal has launched Ambition for 2021. Now in its second year, the programme is open to female founders and co-founders, entrepreneurs, or those with a strong start-up idea, who have links to Donegal. Earlier this week, last year’s cohort – and the first graduates of the programme – came together in person for the first time for a socially distanced photocall to launch Ambition.
“Ambition is designed to support women entrepreneurship in the county and enable more women to transform solid ideas into commercially viable start-ups” says Eve-Anne McCarron, Acting Assistant Head of Enterprise, Donegal. “Last year’s programme yielded great results; all eleven of the female entrepreneurs who graduated the 2020 programme are continuing to work on their businesses, and many of them have come on board as mentors to support the new participants selected for this year’s programme.”
Michael Tunney, Head of Enterprise, Donegal, says the next generation of bright, ambitious female business leaders from Donegal offers hope for woman-led companies after Covid-19:
“While there are plenty of challenges in the current climate, 79% of our first cohort reported that the positives had outweighed the negatives – and that they are optimistic for the future. On the whole, participants met any pandemic related challenges with creativity and resilience; many of them actually viewed lockdown as a crucial time to plan. Working at a slower pace, they could reflect and rebalance their priorities, which led to better decision-making, with space to think and strategise. We now want to build on the success of last year’s programme and are looking for smart new business ideas from women who live in Donegal, want to re-locate to Donegal, or have family links or connections to the county.”
Local Enterprise Office Donegal appointed Helen Fullen of Alinea to coordinate the programme: “The Ambition programme provides women with a clear pathway to start a globally focused business” Helen said. “Last year, we worked with the first cohort of Ambition, and several months later, all eleven teams are still going strong – thanks to the strong women at their helm. They’re dreaming big, with projects designed to make a real impact on business, social and cultural landscapes. 60% have accessed Local Enterprise Office supports since completing the programme, and 54% are revenue generating and exporting internationally. Ambition gives candidates the opportunity to develop their business ideas with one-to-one mentoring, and provides invaluable access to entrepreneurial role models, to learn their tools and techniques. We’re looking forward to working with the next cohort of ambitious female founders in Donegal.”
The course will be delivered online, and similar to last year, it’s hoped that it will attract women from across the diaspora, helping them to develop the building blocks required for female entrepreneurs to succeed. For those interested in finding out more about the programme, the Ambition team will host an Open Evening on Wednesday, 8th September 2021 from 5.00pm – 6.00pm to introduce the programme, the team and share the experiences of previous participants.
For further information on the Ambition Pre-Accelerator visit https://www.localenterprise.ie/Donegal/Training-Events/Ambition/Ambition.html