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NI start-ups and early stage companies urged to enter €280,000 competition


InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition will give firms access to funding advice and investor opportunities in the midst of economic uncertainty.

Since its inception, InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn competition, which has supported in excess of 3,100 companies, has become much more than access to funding for new business ideas. It is an opportunity that introduces new up-and-coming businesses to a host of influential investors, access to expert advice and a platform on which they can test run ideas.

Now open for applications, the Seedcorn Competition replicates the real-life investment process, which is now, more than ever, a priceless tool for growth. It’s a means and a way to get up close to investors who can financially support new ideas to make them a reality.

Shortlisted companies will walk away with a wealth of key learnings that will prove vital for business growth while boosting their chance to win from the €280k total cash prize fund.

Businesses can enter in one of the two categories; new start or early stage. There are also four regions; Northern Ireland, Dublin (City & County), Munster, and Connacht and Leinster (including Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan).

Throughout each stage of the competition, companies will be judged on various criteria including financial performance, company milestones and achievements, future strategy for the business, the management team in place and the quality of the business pitch to the judging panel.

InterTradeIreland, a business development body, which has been running since 1999, has been supporting small businesses in both Ireland and Northern Ireland to explore new cross-border markets, develop new products, processes and services to become investor ready.

Based in Newry the organisation has also become a crucial support body for businesses here during the Brexit process and now as the economic cost of the coronavirus is felt, it is offering new businesses access to support and finance to get them to the next level.

Speaking about the competition, Shane O’Hanlon, Funding for Growth Manager said: “It’s a very unsettling time for any business, and now, more than ever, start-ups and early stage businesses need help and support to secure investment. Seedcorn can offer just that, our team of experts are on hand to offer invaluable insights and advice to companies and help on their road to becoming investor ready.”

Mr O’Hanlon said the key takeaway from the event is the advice firms receive from investors. He added: “Many companies that have gone through the competition and not won have spoken highly of the process. Those who have, at past events, reached the finals have gone on to raise in excess of €256m.”

The competition is open to independent incorporated ventures in Ireland and Northern Ireland in the Seed, Start-up or Early Stage of business development. The competition is targeted at very early stage businesses that are still working on their business plan and who are seeking advice on how they can become ‘investor ready’.

Application deadline is 1pm on Friday 29th May. Apply now at