Companies in Northern Ireland have been urged to apply for a cash prize fund of around €280,000 in one of Ireland's biggest business competitions.
Cross-border body InterTradeIreland's Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition aims to help companies become 'investor-ready' and secure new equity, making them more competitive on a global stage.
InterTradeIreland said it had made the entry process more straightforward so that companies just had to fill in a simple online application. Those who progressed to the next stage would then submit a full business plan.
Connor Sweeney, Seedcorn project manager for InterTradeIreland, said: "Following a decade in successful existence, we believed that the time was right to re-evaluate and update the Seedcorn competition to ensure it continues to mirror the current investment process as closely as possible.
"The changes will allow companies even more opportunity to receive independent feedback on their investor readiness and increase their chances of securing that equity investment."
Belfast company Catagen, which makes testing equipment for catalytic converters, won the title of best high-growth company last year, winning €100,000.
Chief executive Andrew Woods said: "The entire experience was a great benefit to the company. Seedcorn offered us a credible validation of our business strategy, where we were able to assess and benchmark our plans through independent feedback.
"Our success has given us a real boost to our profile locally."
Companies can find out more at www.intertradeireland.com/seed corn or by joining the Seedcorn Network on LinkedIn.