'Time for another Northern Ireland winner' say InterTradeIreland Seedcorn organisers
THE founder of last year's InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition has urged fledgling firms from across the island to "grasp with both hands" the opportunity of participating as the 2017 start-up initiative is launched.
"The publicity and profile from our Seedcorn win has opened so many doors for us as we've built the business," said Valitacell chief executive Dr Terry McWade, who was born and grew up in Northern Ireland.
"We had been in operation in Dublin for just over a year, and the €100,000 prize fund allowed us grow faster than we'd anticipated.
"We are now starting our funding round and, as we are already in revenue with product on the market and with global biopharma companies as customers, we are in a very strong position."
This year's Seedcorn competition, now in its 15th year, carries a total prize fund of €280,000, with at least €40,000 of that guaranteed to regional winners from the north.
But InterTradeIreland's Connor Sweeney insists it's time Northern Ireland dug deep and found an overall winner again to emulate the past successes of Catagen and Sophia Search from Belfast.
“We've so many innovative companies and talented people with incredible ideas, yet over the history of Seedcorn we've had so few northern winners, so perhaps this is the time for companies here to step up to the challenge.
“We know firms are facing much uncertainty around Brexit, so now is the perfect time to get in business shape so you are prepared and ready to adapt from as strong a position as possible.
"The Seedcorn process can help refine your business plan, along with taking advantage of the expert advice on offer.”
Aimed at young innovative companies and entrepreneurs from all sectors across the island, Seedcorn (full details at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn) offers a huge cash boost for firms seeking to raise equity to help their business grow and develop.
The competition, which is open for entries until May 26, mirrors the real life investment process and can greatly improve a company's ability to attract equity.
So far InterTradeIreland has supported 2,584 companies through the Seedcorn process with previous finalists going on to secure more than €218 million worth of new equity.
Over the coming weeks InterTradeIreland is hosting a series of free workshops designed to guide those considering entering this year's competition, including providing advice on what an investor looks for in a business plan as well as tips on what to include in videos and slide decks.
The next workshop in the north is at the North West Science Park on April 13.