PRIZE money of up to £230,000 is on offer to Northern Ireland businesses from today with the launch of the annual all-island Seedcorn business competition.
Backed by the cross-border business promotion agency InterTradeIreland, the competition is aimed at seeking out new and early-stage companies to help them develop and prosper.
As well as the significant cash prize fund on offer, the competition gives companies a valuable opportunity to refine their business plan and ensure that they improve their ‘investor-readiness’.
“The Seedcorn competition is unique in that it mirrors the real-life investment process and therefore allows participants to develop key skills that will increase their chances of securing investment and ultimately grow their business,” said Brendan Butler, InterTradeIreland board member and chair of the agency’s EquityNetwork.
“Seedcorn provides an exciting opportunity for start-up businesses and those on the cusp of expansion or diversification to increase their chances of securing investment.
“Indeed previous finalists of the competition have gone on to secure almost £120 million worth of equity since taking part, so it can be highly beneficial for local companies as well as having a positive effect on the local economy.”
To take part, companies must submit their business plan and, if shortlisted, are invited to deliver an investment pitch in front of the judging panel comprised of venture capitalists, business angels and some of the island’s leading industry experts and entrepreneurs.
Those taking part can become members of the Seedcorn Network, an extensive business community which can help boost the company’s profile, contacts and investment opportunities.
“We have had some fantastic success stories from Northern Ireland in the past and are encouraging local companies to become involved in this year’s competition,” added Mr Butler.
A series of free workshops designed to guide those considering entering the competition will be take place in Belfast on May 22, 31 and June 6, in Londonderry on May 31 and in Newry on July 4.
The final date for receipt of completed business plans is Wednesday, September 12 but companies must first register their interest in entering at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn.
Regional winners will be announced in mid November before going on to compete in the all-island grand final which takes place on November 28, at the Titanic Belfast building, bringing together finalists from across the island.