Time running out for Offaly companies to enter Seedcorn business competition

Justin Kelly


Justin Kelly



Time running out for Offaly companies to enter Seedcorn business competition

The deadline for companies to enter the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition is fast approaching. The contest gives new and early-stage companies from Offaly the opportunity to benefit from expert mentoring across a range of areas, become investor ready and compete for a prize fund of €280,000 that is entirely equity free.

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, access to investors, developing pitching skills and additional publicity opportunities.

Now in its 15th year, the competition is open to all independent companies incorporated in Ireland or Northern Ireland in the seed, start-up or early stages of business development and ideally targeting international markets.

The winners of Best ‘Early Stage’ Company and Best ‘New Start’ Company stand to win €50,000 respectively. The overall winner will be chosen from these two and they will win an additional €50,000, giving them a total overall winning of €100,000 – with no equity stake being taken by InterTradeIreland. There are also six regional prizes of €20,000 and a prize of €10,000 for the best venture stemming from a university spinout or a recognised support programme.

Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn Project Manager for InterTradeIreland said: “The Seedcorn competition gives Offaly start-ups a unique opportunity to refine their business plans, benefit from mentoring and potentially benefit from our overall, equity-free prize fund."

He went on to say, "I am really excited to see the different applications that we receive this year. Previous participants have gone on to great success, including 66% of winners between 2011 and 2015 who went on to raise additional funding of between €150,000 and €3.1m."

"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. This shows the excellent opportunities on offer, especially in relation to building links with business investors,” he added.

Initial applications will be shortlisted by a selection panel, with successful companies being invited to submit their full business plan. If shortlisted, companies are invited to deliver an investment pitch in front of the judging panel comprising venture capitalists, business angels and some of the island’s leading entrepreneurs and business experts.

Prior to attending regional finals, each company will be invited to attend an intensive one day investment pitch masterclass to help polish their presentation skills.

Closing dates for entries to the 2017 competition is Friday, 26th May and companies can register their interest in advance at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn. Regional winners will be announced in mid-November before going on to compete in the all-island grand final in November 2017.

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

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