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Ulster firms win awards in all-Ireland competition

By Staff Reporter

Published 27/11/2015

Chief: Photonics’ Vincent McCorry
Chief: Photonics’ Vincent McCorry

Northern Ireland firms dealing in election technology and water analysis have been honoured at an all-Ireland business competition.

Londonderry company Modern Democracy and Belfast firm Photonics Measurements each walked away with a €20,000 (£14,000) cash prize after being named regional winners in the IntertradeIreland Seedcorn contest.

Modern Democracy - established by the founders of Opt2Vote, which was sold to Idox plc for £3.5m - makes programs to encourage wider public participation in elections, including voter engagement and polling apps.

Photonic Measurements makes devices to analyse the quality of water by detecting chemical content, murkiness, organic content and colour. Its first customers will be large water firms and universities in the UK and Ireland.

Opt2Vote is led by chief executive Siobhan Donaghy, while Photonics was founded by Vincent McCorry and Connor Douglas.

The companies represented Northern Ireland in the Seedcorn final in Dublin this week.

Limerick firm Ocean Survivor, which makes safety equipment for the off-shore oil industry, was the overall winner, bringing home a cash prize of €100,000 (£70,200).

And Dublin business SiriusXT, which manufactures soft X-ray microscopes for research, won the best early-stage company category award, netting a cash prize of €50,000 (£35,100).

The Seedcorn competition is Ireland's biggest business contest for young companies.

Thomas Hunter McGowan, chief executive of IntertradeIreland, said: "It is highly important that as we continue to see growth in our economy, high-potential start-ups are given the necessary support, assistance and guidance to grow and develop their companies.

"The Seedcorn competition imitates the real-life investment process, providing companies with the opportunity to put their business idea to the test."

Belfast Telegraph

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