Two Ulster firms Jenarron Therapeutics and PT Dock land cash prize in final bid
A firm which makes an app for personal trainers and a manufacturer of anaesthetic gel are finalists in a competition giving cash to early-stage companies.
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Jenarron Therapeutics and PT Dock will represent Northern Ireland in the InterTradeIreland competition, which offers cash prizes of €280,000 to innovative companies with successful pitches.
PT Dock was named Northern Ireland's best new-start company and Jenarron Therapeutics best early stage firm in the seedcorn investor readiness competition.
They are guaranteed to receive at least €20,000 investment each whatever the outcome of the final, in which they will compete against other firms from around Ireland at the end of this month.
PT Dock was set up in July 2012 to provide an app allowing personal trainers to automate tasks and monitor customer performance, and is already sold to customers in UK, Ireland, USA, Australia and Canada.
Founder Simon Lloyd-Lavery is a certified personal trainer.
He said he had learned a lot during the process of having to pitch for investment through Seedcorn, which mirrors a real-life investment process.
Mr Lloyd-Lavery said: "We are continuing to expand the business globally, so if we were to win the competition, the cash prize would be invested into marketing and further product development."
Moira Burke, the chief exeuctive of Jenarron, said the firm had developed a new form of needle-free anesthetic.
"The first product in the portfolio is for children and is an effective, needle-free application of an anaesthetic to an open wound."
She said the firm had been working hard on its technology. "We have great confidence in our product and are now actively engaged in securing funding, so the Seedcorn Competition has been very effective in focusing the team on preparing a robust business plan and strategy.
"The advice and feedback we have received to date have been invaluable."
All-island success would be a big boost and would allow the firm to start manufacturing, she said.
Connor Sweeney, seedcorn project manager for InterTradeIreland, said the competition had attracted 246 entrants, and competition had been tough.
He congratulated PT Dock and Jenarron Therapeutics.