At a time where it is competitive to get seed funding, the competition is a great avenue for ambitious start ups to get their new business ideas off the ground. This year’s competition is now open for registration at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn and businesses are encouraged to submit an entry. Deadline for submissions is 26th May, 2017.
There are nine cash prizes* on offer and entrepreneurs compete against each other regionally before competing at the national final for the ‘Best Overall’ Titles.. As well as the cash prize, participants also benefit from expert mentoring, business plan development, introductions and access to investors, developing pitching skills and additional publicity opportunities.
Between 2011 and 2015, over 66% of companies who won the Seedcorn national finals went on to raise additional funding ranging from €150,000 to €3.1m. All cited Seedcorn as a major factor in their success. During the same period 70% of companies who won at regional stages of the competition but did not win at the national finals, went on to raise funds from €50,000 to €2m, with the majority of the funding being raised from angel investors, syndicates and private equity.
Valitacell, a Dublin biotech firm that provides analytical support for the biopharmaceutical sector, was in operation for just under a year when they were named the overall winner of last year’s competition. Encouraging entrepreneurs to enter Seedcorn, Dr Terry McWade, CEO of Valitacell, said: “Winning the overall prize at Seedcorn 2016 was a tremendous confidence boost for the company. The €100,000 prize allowed us to progress further along the implementation path and achieve a number of key milestones. The publicity and profile from our win has proved very useful and has opened the door for many of the conversations we are currently having. My advice to anyone considering taking part in the competition is to grab the opportunity with both hands and listen to the feedback and sound advice you are given every step of the way.”
He added: “We are now starting our funding round in a very strong position, we have global biopharma companies as customers and we are in revenue with have product on the market.
He added: “We are now starting our funding round in a very strong position, we have global biopharma companies as customers and we are in revenue with product on the market. Skills learnt throughout the Seedcorn completion will stand to us through the funding round process.”
Speaking at the launch of the 2017 competition, Connor Sweeney of InterTradeIreland said: “The aim of this competition is to support exciting Irish start-ups by giving them the tools for success. Our total cash-prize fund of €280,000 is equity free, which is extremely rare and offers an exciting opportunity for winners to reach their full potential. All entrants have something to gain, through skills development, experience and networking with other businesses and potential investors. The competition is extremely easy to enter and is shown to have produced extremely positive results for entrants in the past. I am sure that 2017 will be no different.”
He added: “Every year, entrants come from a huge range of sectors and categories, from manufacturing to services, to technology, to retail, to arts, health and education. Their growth and success means increased jobs and investment for the communities in which they are based. Many of the companies who took part in the competition between 2011 and 2015 saw their staff numbers grow in the aftermath, with many reporting on average a 50% increase in staff numbers. That level of success and growth is a real tribute to all involved in the competition.”
Over the coming weeks, InterTradeIreland will host a series of free workshops around the country designed to guide those considering entering this year’s competition, including providing advice on business plans, preparation of video clips and presentation slide decks. More information on the workshops can be found on the InterTradeIreland website.
You can follow all the action throughout the 2017 competition by searching for and using #ITIseedcorn and following @iti_seedcorn.