Seedcorn €280K competition opens for early stage start-ups

30 Apr 2012

Dr Lisa O'Donoghue, CEO of ALR Innovations and winner of the high growth category at Seedcorn 2011 and Brendan Butler, InterTradeIreland board member and chair of its EquityNetwork, at Titanic Belfast

The InterTradeIreland all-island Seedcorn business competition has opened for early stage and high-growth start-ups. The competition has a prize fund of €280,000 and aims to turn equity-raising companies into investor-ready businesses.

The competition itself is now in its 10th year, with InterTradeIreland having supported more than 1,500 start-ups since the genesis of Seedcorn.

It aims to mirror the real-life investment process and to help start-ups on a high-growth track get investor ready.

Companies submit their business plans to Seedcorn. If they get shortlisted, they then deliver an investment pitch in front of the judging panel that comprises venture capitalists, business angels and some of the island’s leading industry experts and entrepreneurs.  

InterTradeIreland said today the final date for receipt of completed business plans is Wednesday, 12 September at 1pm.

However, companies must first register their interest via the official competition site.

Regional winners will be announced in mid-November before going on to compete in the all-island grand final on 28 November 2012 at the new Titanic Belfast building.

Last year’s overall high growth category winner was Limerick company ALR Innovations. Its CEO Dr Lisa O’Donoghue said the experience of Seedcorn was “invaluable”.

“The vigorous judging process forced us to really refine our business proposition and ultimately made us even more prepared for pitching for investment opportunities. We made contacts on both sides of the border during the competition.”

She said that, since the win, the company has launched its technology at international trade shows in the US and Austria. ALR has also engaged a strategic partner to help develop its technology to become market-ready.

InterTradeIreland will also be running a series of free Seedcorn workshops throughout the island, where potential entrants can hear from previous winners and share experiences of raising equity finance.

Zinc Software from Dublin scooped the €50,000 prize in 2011 as overall emerging category winner.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic