Young, innovative companies and entrepreneurs from all sectors across Northern Ireland are being urged to make a strategic move and enter the 2017 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition.
With a total prize fund of £240,000, the annual competition offers a cash boost for firms and is aimed at early stage and new start companies seeking to raise equity to grow and develop.
“We are now in the 15th year of Seedcorn and past companies continue to reap the benefits of taking part through contacts made and equity raised as a result,” said Seedcorn project manager Connor Sweeney.
“We know from feedback that the experience of the competition process can be critical for business development. Entrants can get invaluable guidance, tips and advice from our experts, as well as investors and other entrepreneurs, on how to improve their business plan and investment pitch.”
The Seedcorn competition mirrors the real life investment process and can greatly improve a company’s ability to attract equity. To date, the agency has supported more than 2,584 companies through the Seedcorn process with previous finalists going on to secure more than £187m worth of new equity. Past winners from the province include Catagen and Sophia Search from Belfast who were overall winners, and See.Sense from Newtownards and Cirdan Imaging from Lisburn who were regional winners.
“We have so many innovative companies in Northern Ireland and very talented people who have great ideas,” Connor added. “But over the history of the Seedcorn Competition, we have only had a few local overall winners. So perhaps this is the time for companies here to step up to the challenge and bring the title back to Northern Ireland.
“We know that firms are facing a lot of uncertainty at the moment regarding Brexit but now is the perfect time to get your business in shape so you are prepared and ready to adapt from as strong a position as possible, if and when necessary. This process can really help do just that and refining your business plan at this stage, along with taking advantage of the expert advice on offer, is definitely a smart move.”