An initiative to develop female entrepreneurship in Donegal is now open for applications.

Following the success of the programme over the last two years, Local Enterprise Office Donegal has launched Ambition for 2022.

Now in its third 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. The closing date for applications is midnight on Wednesday, 7th September.

“Ambition is designed to support women entrepreneurship in the county and enable more women to transform solid ideas into commercially viable start-ups,” says Grace Korbel, Acting Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office, Donegal.

“Over the past two years, the Ambition programme has yielded impressive results, with many of the female
entrepreneurs who graduated the first two programmes continuing to work on their businesses. Many of them have also come on board as mentors to support the new participants selected for this year’s programme.”

Adding to this, Grace said: “We’re excited to find the next generation of bright, ambitious female business leaders from Donegal. 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.

“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 relocate to Donegal, or have family links or connections to the county.”

Local Enterprise Office Donegal appointed Helen Fullen of Alinea to coordinate the programme.

She said “The Ambition programme provides women with a clear pathway to start a globally focused business” Helen said. “For the past two years, we’ve enjoyed working with some great businesses with 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.”

Commenting on her experience of the programme, Feena McBride of The Arty Fox said: “Ambition provided me with a constructive and safe learning environment that really helped propel my business forward. The content was well-structured and each module built on the previous one.

“I really enjoyed learning from, and with, other women and the support and experience from mentors was invaluable. The belief in each of our businesses throughout the programme was really encouraging and I would advise any women in business to apply.”

The Ambition course will be delivered over 12 workshops and it is hoped that it will attract women from across the diaspora, helping them to develop the building blocks required for female entrepreneurs to succeed.

Local Enterprise Office Donegal is hosting an Open Evening for the Ambition pre-accelerator on Wednesday, 24th August.

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