Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 2 September 2014

Companies Blow rivals away to scoop £16,000 in business awards

From left: Gary Menary and Yannis Salomeia from Blow Moulding Technologies – with judging panel member Helen Kirkpatrick from Invest Northern Ireland – took home the New Start award
Irene and Philip McAleese from See Sense, the Early Stage Company winner

Two Northern Ireland companies have walked off with prizes of at least €20,000 (£16,000) each after becoming regional winners of a competition run by cross-border agency InterTradeIreland.

Blow Moulding Technologies from Belfast won the New Start category in the Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition 2013 and See.Sense from Newtownards took the top spot in the Early Stage division.

They will both go on to compete in the all-Ireland finals where a total prize of €100,000 (£83,500) is up for grabs for the best Early Stage Company and a €50,000 (£41,770) prize for the Best 'New Start' company.Blow Moulding Technologies (BMT), a spin-out firm from Queen's University, impressed the judges with its entry in the 'New Start' category. The company manufactures and sells test equipment for the plastic bottle manufacturing industry. BMT is a 100% export business and have sold products to US and Europe.

Dr Yannis Salomeia, CEO, said: "If we were to win in our category at the overall final, the prize money would be very useful in helping us to strengthen the commercial side of our team. We would also use it to improve our sales process."

See.Sense plans to be the leading cycle technology company for the digital age and they have launched their first product, an intelligent bike light than can improve cyclist visibility.

It launched its first product on the crowdfunding website Kickstarter and sold over £30,000 worth of lights in a month.

"The Seedcorn competition has been a fantastic way for us to focus on the development of our business plan and prepare for the investment we will need to rapidly grow our business. To have the endorsement of both our product and our business overall from the experts on the Seedcorn judging panel is a wonderful vote of confidence."

The eight regional finalists will make their investment pitches to the judging panel on 27 November and the winners will be announced that night at the awards ceremony in Clontarf Castle in Dublin.

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