Winning companies from each of the four regional finals will now go on to compete in the all-island final of the competition. The overall prize for Best New Start and Best Early Stage award categories is €50,000 while the Overall Winner title, is worth €100,000. Winners will be announced on Thursday 22 November 2018 at a gala awards ceremony at St Anne’s Cathedral in Belfast.
Winner of the Best New Start Company – Jumpack Ltd, Downpatrick
Established in 2014, Jumpack Ltd started to trade in 2018 from its Downpatrick head office. Through its website (www.jumpack.com) the company sells the world's first portable extreme sports ramp for use with skateboards, BMXs, mountain bikes, scooters and snowboards.
Worldwide distribution networks are currently receiving stock for retail in Australia, America and Europe in preparation for the product's imminent launch via a large online retailer.
Company founders, Phil McIntosh, ex-Northern Ireland BMX and Downhill Mountain Bike Champion and Mike Crowe, former All-Ireland Champion in Downhill Mountain Biking, entered the Seedcorn competition as they believe their product, which has already been adopted by some of the world's top athletes, has the potential to transform the extreme sports industry.
Jumpack Co-founder Phil McIntosh said: “We are thrilled to be named best New Start company at the regional finals of Seedcorn. We are looking forward to the final and hope to impress the judges with our unique product that has huge potential to disrupt the growing worldwide extreme sports market.
“This competition has already helped us to gain a greater understanding of what investors expect with regards to the most effective business plan format and the information that should be included.
“The prize money will help us with our marketing campaigns and we hope to be able to secure even more equity at the final stages, which will enable us to employ a dedicated digital marketing expert.”
Winner of the Best Early Stage Company, NeuroCONCISE (www.neuroconcise.co.uk ) from Derry~Londonderry.
Professor of Neurotechnology and CEO, Damien Coyle, established NeuroCONCISE in 2016. The company is an Ulster University Spinout and is based at the University’s Intelligent Systems Research Centre at Magee Campus.
NeuroCONCISE employs four people as well as a number of subcontractors. It has developed a product which revolutionises the way consciousness and awareness are assessed following a traumatic brain injury, by allowing basic communication channels to be realised even when a person is unable to speak or move.
A wearable device comprised of unobtrusive, concealable electronics on a flexible substrate for recording brain signals with high precision; the technology centres around people’s ability to imagine movement and modulating brain activity to control a brain-computer interface. The product is undergoing clinical trials involving patients at 16 hospitals in the UK and Ireland.
Damien Coyle, Founder and CEO, NeuroCONCISE, commented: “It is wonderful to earn the accolade of best regional Early Stage company. We had approached the competition with a degree of confidence as were investor-ready with a sound business plan.
“The competition has offered us the opportunity to refine this plan and improve it through continual scrutiny from experts and we are very grateful for the ongoing advice, which has helped to increase our attractiveness to investors.
“The €20,000 prize will help to support the development of our team and our marketing activities and we hope to progress even further in the competition.”
Now in its 16th year, Seedcorn is the island’s biggest business competition for new start and early stage companies in any sector. The competition, aimed at those with a new equity funding requirement, has an overall cash prize fund of €280,000, with no equity stake taken.
To date, InterTradeIreland has supported more than 2,300 enterprising companies through the Seedcorn process. With €238 million in new equity being raised by the companies which have reached the regional finals stage of the Seedcorn competition since it began, the competition has a strong track record of supporting early business start-ups to become investor ready.
Shane O’Hanlon, Funding for Growth Manager, InterTradeIreland said; “The standard of entries from Northern Ireland this year was extremely high and we are delighted to congratulate Jumpack and NeuroCONCISE on their significant achievement and wish them all the best for the all-island final stage later this month.”
Mr O’Hanlon continues: “It is always exciting to work with companies at an early stage in their development. The initial period of development for any start-up or entrepreneur can be daunting, however, the processes and knowledge that they receive as part of the Seedcorn competition is invaluable.
“With a total cash prize fund of €280,000, Seedcorn is the largest business competition of its kind on the island of Ireland. Furthermore, it is seen as a lifeline for young companies seeking to raise equity to help their burgeoning companies to develop and grow. It is also viewed by the business and investment community to be the gold standard for new and emerging businesses. As well as offering a cash prize to the winning companies, it also gives entrepreneurs the opportunity to pitch to active investors and this helps them to hone their skills.”
The competition can be followed on Twitter @iti_seedcorn and by using #ITIseedcorn as well as on the website www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn.