Northern Ireland entrepreneurs could get a huge cash boost for their business, thanks to a total prize fund of €280,000 (£202,000) being offered by InterTradeIreland's Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition 2015.
InterTradeIreland is calling on young, innovative companies from all business sectors to enter the competition.
Connor Sweeney of InterTradeIreland said: 'With a cash prize fund of €280,000 up for grabs, Seedcorn provides a great opportunity for early stage and new start companies in Northern Ireland.
"But Seedcorn is more than just a competition - entrants can get invaluable guidance, tips and advice from our experts, as well as investors and other entrepreneurs, on how to improve their business plan and investment pitch and demonstrate that their business is worth investing in."
Drew O'Sullivan, InterTradeIreland's lead equity advisor, added: "There has never been a better time for an investor-ready company to seek funding in Northern Ireland. The Seedcorn competition encourages and assists the best start-ups on the island to become investor ready.
"The purpose of a business plans and slide deck is to make the investment case for a prospective investor - how might their investment today multiply in value in the next three to five years?
"The Seedcorn process is designed to help great start-ups develop those compelling investment cases."
To date, InterTradeIreland has supported more than 2,150 enterprising companies through the Seedcorn process with previous finalists going on to secure more than €187m worth of new equity. Past winners from Northern Ireland include Catagen and Sophia Search from Belfast, who were overall winners.
Jenarron Therapeutics in Dunmurray, See.Sense in Newtownards and Cirdan Imaging, Lisburn were all regional winners.
This year's competition is now open for registration at www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn and Northern Ireland businesses are encouraged to submit an entry. Deadline for submissions is May 29.
Businesses can enter new start or early stage categories.
Companies submit their application along with a visual representation of the business idea. Short-listed companies are invited to submit a full business plan and, if successful, are invited to deliver an investment pitch in front of the judging panel comprising of venture capitalists, business angels and some of the island's leading industry experts and entrepreneurs.