Belfast Telegraph

Car technology manufacturer lifts top award

By Amanda Poole

A Belfast firm has won the top prize in a cross-border business competition.

Catagen received €100,000 (£81,000) and was named Best High Growth Company at the Intertrade Ireland Seedcorn business awards, at Titanic Belfast, on Wednesday evening.

Wattics from Dublin scooped the Best Emerging Company and will receive a €50,000 (£40,500) prize.

Catagen, manufactures a range of rapid age testing equipment for the Catalytic Converter Testing market, a critical part of the global automobile industry. Its chief executive, Dr Andrew Woods, said: "We are absolutely delighted to win the High Growth Category in the all-island Seedcorn Competition.

"It is an important milestone for Catagen, and yet another independent validation of our world beating carbon reducing technology, business model, and growth trajectory.

"Having already generated significant sales and profits from our catalytic testing technology, the prize money provides a welcome additional boost to our capital resources.

"It will be used to assist the closing of our sales pipeline opportunities with international vehicle manufacturers, and enable us to invest in the development of our Northern Ireland manufacturing operations. The InterTradeIreland Seedcorn competition has been a very enjoyable and thorough learning experience for the Catagen management team."

Newtownabbey-based ShiftDock was also recognised at the awards, winning a €20,000 (£16,200) share of the €280,000 (£227,000) prize fund, as the Northern Ireland regional winner for the Best Emerging Company category.

This brings the total prize money secured by Northern Ireland companies in the competition over the last 10 years to €605,000 (£490,600).

Stormont Enterprise Minister Arlene Foster said over the last decade the Seedcorn Competition has provided a "much needed boost "to many start-up companies.

Thomas Hunter McGowan, chief executive for InterTrade Ireland said it has been excited by the outstanding calibre of the business plans and final investment pitches of this year's candidates.

"To date €159m (£129m) in new equity funding has been leveraged by those companies which have reached the regional finals of the competition," he added.

"We are looking forward to following and encouraging this year's winners in their future business development in the hope that they will replicate the success of those who have won in previous years."