Ambition Female Pre-Accelerator


Register Your Interest for 2022

Watch our ambitious alumni...

Applications for 2021 are now closed. Stay tuned to our channels and apply for Ambition in 2022.

Register Your Interest for 2022


Growing Ambition Article

It has been a year of discovery for the Ambition 2020 cohort. Read about their experience.

Ambition, what it is...

Ambition is an exciting pre-accelerator programme of Local Enterprise Office Donegal. The programme focuses on early-stage female entrepreneurs and promotes the skills and resilience needed to develop globally scalable ventures, attract investment and create jobs.

LEO Donegal has appointed Alinea to bring ideas from concept to pitch, following in the footsteps of local role models such as Gillian Doyle (Cerebreon), Larissa Feeney (Accountancy Online) and Sharon McDaid (Silver Birch Gallery). Up to twelve business ideas are selected to receive mentoring and support through a series of workshops. Applications for 2021 are now closed but stay in touch for Ambition 2022.


  • Up to €15,000 in supports will be available to qualifying teams at the conclusion of the programme.
  • All finalists will receive detailed feedback on their business ideas and pitches from LEO Donegal and the showcase Judging Panel.
  • The Spirit of Ambition Award will be presented to the idea and promoter with the best overall potential.

Who is eligible?

The Ambition programme is open to:

  • Any Female Founder or Co-Founder
  • Residents of County Donegal or anyone part of the Donegal Diaspora within Ireland or worldwide
  • With a concept for a new product or services across any sector with a particular focus on technology and digital solutions
  • Global scalability potential
  • A team (preferably more than one person)
  • Should be at the pre-seed investment stage
  • With a commitment to grow a business from Donegal, no matter where in the world you live at the moment

General Guidelines

  • Applicants should preferably be part of a team (more than one person). There are no limits on each team's number of members; however, teams may only select up to three participants to complete the workshops.
  • The competition is open to residents of County Donegal or anyone part of the Donegal Diaspora within Ireland or worldwide.


Ambition Selection

We are looking for innovative new business ideas amongst Donegal's early-stage female entrepreneurs. Convince us that your business idea is the next big thing, and you will receive support to develop your business idea from concept to pitch.

Up to twelve businesses will be selected to participate in twelve half-day workshops. These will be chosen based on criteria including: the scale of ambition, the size of the problem to be solved, early market understanding, a clear competitive advantage, feasible business model and strength and diversity of the team.

Teams must be available to participate on all programme days as outlined. At the end of the programme showcase, a Judging Panel comprising leading entrepreneurs, executives and investors, will evaluate progress.

2021 Timeline

23/08/21Applications open
20/09/21Closing date for applications
27/09/21The final shortlist of ideas will be announced
05/10/21Workshop 109.30 – 13.00Orientation
12/10/21Workshop 209.30 – 13.00Problem Framing
19/10/21Workshop 309.30 – 13.00Problem Framing Applied
26/10/21Workshop 409.30 – 13.00Customer Discovery
02/11/21Workshop 509.30 – 13.00Customer Discovery Applied
09/11/21Workshop 609.30 – 13.00Value Proposition
16/11/21Workshop 709.30 – 13.00Value Proposition Applied
23/11/21Workshop 809.30 – 13.00Market Sizing
30/11/21Workshop 909.30 – 13.00Market Sizing Applied
07/12/21Workshop 1009.30 – 13.00Presentation Skills
14/12/21Workshop 1109.30 – 13.00Practice Pitch
21/12/21Programme Showcase10.00 – 12.30Finale

Due to current Government restrictions, the programme will take place online. Teams must be available to participate in all sessions on the dates outlined above.

What they said about Ambition 2020

Ambition Cohort

  • All of it was informative, exhaustive, and inspiring. Fantastic to be able to access such a diverse cohort.
  • Having a structured programme to follow with assignments was good for discipline.
  • The balance between insight from those who know what we should be doing to those doing it was beneficial.
  • The continuous focus on the problem was drilled into us so much that it ultimately transformed my idea.
  • The importance of understanding customer needs and not influencing the customer discovery process.
  • The entrepreneurial stories were fabulous.


Alinea collaborates with enterprise agencies to accelerate new business opportunities. Providing start-ups with a comprehensive pre-accelerator programme that offers integrated knowledge, experience, and expertise, the goal is to help ventures become investor-ready faster, more successfully and more efficiently. To date, 148 start-ups of some 950 participants have completed this rigorous technical entrepreneurship experience, with 60% moving to next-stage supports and €21m raised.