An award-winning business accelerator established to encourage female entrepreneurship in Donegal is now open for applications.

Following the success of the programme over the last four years, Local Enterprise Office Donegal has launched Ambition for 2024. 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 to Ambition is midnight on Wednesday, 31st.

Ambition is designed to support women entrepreneurship in the county and enable more women to transform solid ideas into commercially viable start-ups” says Brenda Hegarty, Head of Enterprise with Local Enterprise Office, Donegal. “Over the past few years, the Ambition programme has delivered remarkable results, enabling many female entrepreneurs to develop their business ideas and establish successful enterprises.”

Ambition 2024 Cohort

Adding to this, Brenda said: “We’re excited to find the next generation of bright, ambitious female business leaders from Donegal. We now want to build on the success of previous cohorts 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.”  

Aine Curran and Fiona Kane Feeney

Helen Fullen of Alinea, Ambition Programme LEAD said: “The Ambition programme provides women with a clear pathway to start a globally focused business. We’ve enjoyed working with terrific 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. 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 from their experience. We’re looking forward to working with the next cohort of ambitious female founders in Donegal.”

Jacqueline O’Donnell, Anna Maria Brosi, and Aine Curran

Commenting on her experience of the programme, Diane Nesbitt of Purple Velvet said: “Ambition provided me with an insight into the constructive learning environment available through our Local Enterprise Office here on our doorstep in Donegal.”

“With an already established business it gave me the opportunity to step back from the daily tasks and look at the potential of my business on a national and potentially international scale. That really helped propel my business forward. The content was well-structured, with each module building on the previous one. I thoroughly enjoyed both learning alongside, and from other women, and the support and guidance 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.”

Diane Nesbitt of Purple Velvet who completed the Ambition programme

Since taking part in the Ambition programme, Diane has completed the Food Starter Programme and her business Purple Velvet has been accepted onto the Food Academy, a tailored Food Business Development programme for early to mid-stage food business owners, where the participants receive training in food safety, market research and branding, marketing, finance, sustainability, and business development.

The Ambition programme will be delivered over 12 workshops helping to develop the building blocks required for female entrepreneurs to succeed. Find out more and apply here: