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Shane O Hanlon Funding for Growth Manager at InterTradeIreland with Northern Ireland Best New Start and Best Early Stage winners
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Neurodiversity Training and Ilimex Announced as Winners of InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Northern Ireland Final

26 Oct 2023

Winners of the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Northern Ireland regional final have been announced as Neurodiversity Training (Best New Start), and Ilimex, (Best Early Stage). The winners were awarded €20,000 each and will advance to the All-Island final in Dublin on the 9th of November. The InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition is the largest business competition of its kind on the island of Ireland, Seedcorn has an overall prize fund of €300,000.

Neurodiversity Training were awarded the ‘Best New Start’ Northern Ireland regional trophy. The Derry-based company provides training and development programmes to businesses and organisations for their neurodivergent students, employees, and members. Through its EndeeSphere app, it can provide an entire year of classes, personal development, and community for less than the price of a single counselling session. Jude Morrow, CEO and Founder of Neurodiversity Training, said:

We are absolutely thrilled to win this award and advance to the Seedcorn final. As many of our team members and collaborators are Autistic and ADHD, we have always struggled with “investor” speak and “business” speak. This is where the Seedcorn competition has been brilliant in providing support and experience to ensure we have a real chance of success and achieving our business ambitions. Our ultimate mission is to show that Autistic and ADHD ambition can change the world, and that we can thrive in life free from the negative stereotypes that have held us back for decades.

Ballycastle-based Ilimex were awarded the ‘Best Early Stage’ Northern Ireland regional trophy. The company has developed unique air sterilisation to improve indoor air quality. Their product can remove 99.9999% of pathogens from the air, preventing illnesses from spreading. Gerry Corrigan, CEO of Ilimex, said:

Winning this award is amazing, and we are all over the moon. Entering the Seedcorn competition and going through the process has been hugely rewarding and helpful. It has made us think about every aspect of the business and investigate all our assumptions, and we are learning how to properly present our products and company to potential investors.

The leaders of the six innovative start-up and early-stage companies from across Northern Ireland took part in a competitive final on 25th October at the Hilton Hotel in Belfast. As part of the process, finalists presented their investment proposal to a panel of judges that included active investors. The winning entrants successfully demonstrated to the panel of judges why they believe their businesses are investor ready. The regional winners in Northern Ireland will have the opportunity to compete for the overall €100,000 prize at the final. Shane O’Hanlon, Funding for Growth Manager at InterTradeIreland said:

This year’s Northern Ireland regional final was a very competitive process across the ‘Best New Start’ and ‘Best Early Stage’ categories. Both categories had three very innovative and ambitious entrants that showcased their business plans in a professional and engaging manner. Year-on-year the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition attracts start-up and early-stage companies that are entrepreneurial in their approach. Neurodiversity Training and Ilimeximpressed the judges with their vision and future business plans. On behalf of all of us at InterTradeIreland, I wish both companies the best of luck at the All-Island final on the 9th of November.

For start-ups and early-stage businesses, the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor-Readiness Competition provides a platform to demonstrate why these companies believe they are ‘investor ready’ and open to a funding injection. As part of the Northern Ireland regional final, companies pitched their business plan to a panel of industry judges that included Karole Egan (Enterprise Ireland), Isabelle O'Keeffe (Sure Valley Ventures), Stephen Stilliard (Halo Business Angel Network), Ciaran Gilsenan (Dogpatch Labs). The process mirrored a real-life investment process, and each finalist has received expert feedback on its business plan and pitch, as well as increased exposure to investors.

For the third consecutive year, an additional €20,000 prize will be awarded for best investment proposal from a company operating in the low carbon/green sector.

For all the latest information on Seedcorn visit: www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn

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