Innovative Offaly entrepreneurs encouraged to enter competition with a cash prize fund of €280,000

Damian Moran

Reporter:

Damian Moran

Email:

damian@offalyexpress.ie

Innovative Offaly entrepreneurs encouraged to enter competition with a cash prize fund of €280,000

Early and new start companies from Offaly are encouraged to enter the 15th annual Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition to be in with a chance of competing for a no equity total cash prize fund of €280,000.

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 May 26, 2017.

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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.

€100,000 will go to the Overall Winner, €50,000 for the Category Winner, six Regional Winners will each pocket €20,000 while a €10,000 prize will also be awarded for the best venture stemming from a University spinout or a recognised support programme.

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.

The workshops are designed to guide those considering entering the competition, including providing advice on preparation of business plans, video clips and presentation slide decks.  To register for these events go to www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn/events

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 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.”

You can follow all the action throughout the 2017 competition by searching for and using #ITIseedcorn and following @iti_seedcorn.