Agritech inventors wanted for Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards

6 Apr 2018

Agritech can help automate laborious farming processes. Image: Zap2Photo/Shutterstock

Agritech and other agricultural companies are encouraged to apply for the Innovation Arena Awards.

Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation Heather Humphreys, TD, has opened Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena Awards for applications.

Irish companies in the agri sector, from agritech to agricultural engineering, are invited to apply.

The awards ceremony will take place within the popular Innovation Arena during the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co Offaly, from 18 to 20 September 2018.

Agritech trailblazers required

A unique platform in which Irish companies can display their pioneering developments in the agri space, the Innovation Arena saw more than 100 international buyers attend in 2017. This year, the arena will also feature a conference venue where companies can present to buyers and launch new and exciting products.

Judging for the awards will take place at the arena throughout the three-day event in categories including agricultural engineering and agritech.

Julie Sinnamon, CEO of Enterprise Ireland, said: “The Irish agri sector is at the heart of the Irish economy, and the companies who display their innovations each year at the Innovation Arena are a stellar example of the innovative and revolutionary development taking place in this country.”

She added that the Innovation Boot Camp would return on 15 August 2018 at the Irish Farmers Journal demonstration farm in Tullamore, delivering advice, mentoring and support for innovators in the agri sector.

Agricultural innovation

Speaking at the launch, Humphreys said: “I am delighted to launch the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena [Awards] at the National Ploughing Championships. Agriculture forms the foundation of our regional economy, and Ireland’s reputation as a global leader in agri innovation continues to grow.”

She reiterated the Government’s support of the agri sector, saying that it is “committed to the creation of sustainable jobs in rural Ireland and the support of regionally based companies and entrepreneurs”.

Humphreys continued: “I am delighted that the arena will showcase pioneering Irish innovation in the agri sector and I greatly look forward to seeing the products and services these companies have created in September.”

In addition to propelling Irish innovations to a world stage, the arena will feature talks relating to key issues affecting the sector, from Brexit to global markets. The event will also facilitate crucial networking opportunities for attending companies.

Last year’s competition attracted 200 entries, 69 of which were shortlisted as finalist exhibitors at the Innovation Arena.

Anna May McHugh, director of the National Ploughing Association (NPA), said: “The Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championships is an incredible opportunity for anyone who has a good business idea to showcase their product at Europe’s largest outdoor event, with the potential to become the next big success story in Irish business.

The 2018 NPA Innovation Arena prize fund equates to more than €80,000 in various supports. The overall award winner will receive a top prize worth €15,000 from Enterprise Ireland and the Irish Farmers Journal. It includes advertising and PR support, mentoring and a cash prize of €5,000.

Each finalist will receive an advertising voucher to promote their innovation through the Irish Farmers Journal along with a subsidised stand in the Innovation Arena for 2018. The final participants for the 2018 Innovation Arena will be selected on 23 June 2018.

Prospective applicants can find more information on Innovation Arena’s website.

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects