With an overall prize fund of €280,000, InterTradeIreland has launched its annual Seedcorn Competition which offers a lifeline to young companies seeking to raise equity to help their business grow and develop.
Aimed at innovative companies from all sectors, the 14th annual Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition is the largest business competition on the island and is a must for entrepreneurs wanting to attract investment. At a time where there is a shortage of seed finance, the competition is one avenue for ambitious start ups to get their new business ideas off the ground.
Speaking about the Competition, Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn Programme Manager at InterTradeIreland, said: ”With a total cash prize fund of €280,000 up for grabs, Seedcorn provides a great opportunity for early stage and new start companies to get that initial injection of cash. However, Seedcorn is much more than money – entrants can gain invaluable guidance, tips and advice from our experts, as well as investors and other entrepreneurs, on how to improve their business plan and refine their pitch and concept to demonstrate to investors that they are investor ready.”
Last year’s overall winner Ocean Survivor from Limerick, manufactures a range of safety equipment aimed primarily at the off-shore oil industry. The company has developed a simple-to-use technology that mitigates the effects of hypothermia, while promoting comfort and mental well-being in a survival situation.
Ocean Survivor’s Founder Kieran Normoyle added: “Winning the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn 2015 competition was a great honour and also a huge boost to my company, Ocean Survivor. The promotional aspect really helped us to increase the public awareness of our technology and the constructive feedback allowed us to greatly improve our business plan and business model. Furthermore, the seed funding that we received after winning the competition was really invaluable in allowing us to invest in our company and take it to the next level in terms of development and scope.
“Since winning the final last year, Ocean Survivor has hired our first employee who is focusing on research and development in order to produce our product to the highest standard possible. It has also given me the opportunity to focus on raising additional funding for the company. I am extremely thankful to have had this incredible opportunity and I would really encourage any new start-up to apply as the benefits on offer are fantastic.”
Connor Sweeney continued: “Since its inception in 2003, companies who have gone through Seedcorn have raised in excess of €200m and we only measure investments by companies who have reached regional final level. Last year alone, in excess of €10m was raised.
“Already this year, we are aware of two significant investments into companies who went through Seedcorn last year; Sirius XT from Dublin, who were the Best Early Stage Company, have just come through a significant funding round; and Kong Digital from Ardee, who were a regional final winner have just raised €600k. Both companies attribute their investment directly to the Seedcorn process. In fact the investment into Kong Digital was made by one of the judges at that regional final and they were so impressed by the company that they immediately followed up with them!”
Over the coming weeks, InterTradeIreland will host a series of free regional workshops across the country, designed to guide those considering entering this year’s competition, including providing advice on preparation of video clips, presentation slide decks and business plans. More information on the workshops can be found on the InterTradeIreland website.
This year’s competition is now open for registration at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn and businesses are encouraged to submit an entry early. Deadline for submissions is 27 May 2016.
You can follow all the action throughout the 2016 competition by searching for and using Tiwtter hashtag #ITISeedcorn and following @ITI_Seedcorn