InterTradeIreland on the hunt for innovative early-stage companies

9 Apr 2018

Early-stage companies will benefit from expert advice. Image: Carlos andre Santos/Shutterstock

The InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition is kicking off.

InterTradeIreland is beginning its search for the most exciting new-start and early-stage companies in the country to compete in the Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition for 2018.

Now in its 16th year, the annual contest helps companies seeking to raise equity to get ready for investors and gain valuable feedback.

Future Human

A major cash injection to kick-start an idea

The competition is open to all sectors and is the largest event of its kind on the island of Ireland.

Companies are in with a chance of winning a portion of the €280,000 total cash prize to help get their ideas off the ground.

Ken Nelson, chair of InterTradeIreland, said: “The overall winner will take home a €100,000 cash prize to support the growth of their business, which will go a long way towards realising ambitious expansion goals. However, Seedcorn is about so much more than just financial support.”

Nelson explained that participants can receive a whole host of other benefits other than the financial boost, from “receiving invaluable guidance, tips and advice from our experts, investors and other entrepreneurs” to “refining business plans and pitch proposals to better demonstrate their offering to potential investors”.

Since the competition’s 2003 inception, companies that have gone through the Seedcorn competition have raised in excess of €229m. €10m of this was raised in 2017 alone.

A beneficial process

Dr Richard Fernandes, CEO of Luxcel Biosciences, was on hand to launch this year’s competition. Fernandes was the first winner of the Seedcorn competition in 2003. Since the victory, his company has gone from strength to strength and was acquired by Agilent in early 2018, increasing the US company’s presence in Ireland to more than 40 people.

Fernandes explained that early seed funding is difficult to acquire, adding: “The direct financing after winning Seedcorn was a significant support as it helped us to kick-start product development and explore international markets. Not everyone can take home the top prize but my advice to those considering taking part is that the process itself is hugely beneficial and its value shouldn’t be underestimated.”

A number of free workshops will be hosted by InterTradeIreland in the next number of weeks, in order to help those considering applying to the competition. The closing date for entries is Friday 1 June 2018.

The overall winner will walk away with a €100,000 prize, with numerous other prizes on offer, including a €10,000 award for the best venture stemming from a university or recognised support programme spin-out.

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