Fledgling Belfast firms pick up £15,000 apiece in all-Ireland awards
Two Belfast firms have won €20,000 (£15,000) each in an all-Island awards scheme.
Jenarron Therapeutics and System Ready Ltd, trading as PT Dock, were Northern Ireland regional winners in the 2014 InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition.
The event, which took place at the Stormont Hotel this week, is the largest business competition in Ireland.
Jenarron Therapeutics was formed by Mark Jenkins, a consultant in emergency medicine at Antrim Area Hospital emergency department, and Paul McCarron, professor of Pharmaceutics at the University of Ulster and head of the Department of Pharmacy.
The firm has invented a gel putty which can be used to deliver a range of drug substances, such as anaesthetic to wounds ranging from acute lacerations to minor cuts and scratches, without the use of needles.
The company intends to adapt its technology so that the putty can be used in chronic wounds, such as leg ulcers, pressure sores and burn injuries.
PT Dock was set up in July 2012 to provide an app allowing personal trainers to automate tasks and monitor customer performance, and is already sold to customers in UK, Ireland, USA, Australia and Canada. Margaret Hearty, acting chief executive for InterTradeIreland, said that the environment for start-ups was exceptionally buoyant in Northern Ireland, with a new wave of young companies with strong potential for future growth.
"The Seedcorn competition helps to foster an entrepreneurial mindset and provides these young winning companies with funding and support at a crucial stage in their development," she said.
"That is why the Seedcorn Competition is of such importance to InterTradeIreland and the wider economy, despite constrained budgets under which it is delivered.
"To date £155m in new equity funding has been leveraged by 2,150 companies that have reached the regional finals of the competition and it is through this type of entrepreneurship and innovation that indigenous local companies will continue to play a vital role in our economy."