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Connor Sweeney Seedcorn Programme Manager at Inter Trade Ireland pictured with previous winner NUA Surgical co founder Marie Therese Maher
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Final call for ambitious start-ups to get investor ready with €300,000 Seedcorn competition

18 Apr 2023

New start and early stage businesses across the island of Ireland have been encouraged to enter the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition, with a chance to win a share of the €300,000 prize fund.

While the competition gives innovative start-ups the opportunity to bag the top prize of €100,000, entrants can benefit from expert feedback on their business plans and pitches, as well as exposure to real life investors, helping these ambitious start-ups and early stage businesses become investor ready.

The prize fund also includes a €20,000 award for the best investment proposal from a company operating in the sustainability / low carbon sector.

Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn Programme Manager at InterTradeIreland, welcomed entrants for this year’s competition. “We look forward to seeing the best talent on offer from innovative start-ups across Ireland and Northern Ireland,” Connor said. “Since we started running the competition twenty years ago, we have been a part of some of the greatest start-up success stories on this island."

“Seedcorn gets high-potential start-ups in front of experts to refine their business plans, develop their pitching skills, learn how to attract investment and raise equity. Investors know there is a pool of talent here, and they are ready to invest. Seedcorn helps new start and early-stage companies get ready for investment, and unleash their potential."

“With our €300,000 total prize fund, Seedcorn is the largest competition of its kind on the island of Ireland. We have been hosting free information sessions across the island to help companies with their entries, and I would encourage all innovative start-ups to enter the competition, benefit from the opportunities Seedcorn offers, and become investor ready.”

Since its inception in 2003, over 2,700 companies have benefitted from entering the competition and previous overall winners hail from across Ireland and Northern Ireland, spanning a range of sectors.

Last year’s winner in the Best New Start Category, and overall runner up, was Ballymena-based Atlas Smart Technologies. Founded in 2021 by students of Queen’s University Belfast, the company has developed an adjustable smart dumbbell, the SmartBell, providing 26 different weight levels, and Stronger Mobile, a workout app.

Jack Fullerton, Chief Technology Officer at Atlas Smart Technologies said the feedback received throughout the process was key to getting investor ready. “The InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition was the perfect opportunity for us to refine our business plans and practise our pitch in front of experienced investors. We were delighted to win the €50,000 prize, but the guidance and feedback we received throughout the competition on our pitch will prove invaluable as we take SmartBell to market.”

Also among the winning Seedcorn alumni is Galway-based NUA Surgical, with the med-tech firm named overall winner and picking up the top prize of €100,000 in 2020. NUA Surgical is creating a medical device to aid Caesarean deliveries, and co-founder Marie-Therese Maher credited the competition with helping to make the company investor ready. “Seedcorn was an incredible journey for us and an important steppingstone in developing our business plan and defining our value proposition. We came out of the process knowing we were ready for investors, and ready to really make a difference in women’s health.”

More information on how to enter the 2023 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition can be found at

The closing date for entries is 1pm, 28th April 2023.
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