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University spin-out company lifts top award for aircraft engine innovation

One of Northern Ireland's newest businesses has been recognised as a top company on the island.

Lenis Aer was announced as overall winner for best venture stemming from a university spin-out at InterTradeIreland's Seedcorn All-island business competition after emerging from a University of Ulster project.

The firm developed a patent-protected process for the manufacture of aircraft engine 'lip skins', which achieve reduced turbulence and drag, resulting in considerable fuel cost savings.

Accepting the award and a cash-prize of €10,000 (£8,500) on behalf of Lenis Aer at the Europa Hotel in Belfast yesterday were company directors, Edel O'Neill and Alan Leacock.

The accolade follows Lenis Aer's success at the Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT awards last month, when the firm walked off with the top prize of £10,000 from the technology entrepreneur awards.

Also recognised at the awards ceremony were Belfast-based LamhRoe and instaGiv from Portstewart.

Both companies took home a €20,000 (£16,900) share of the prize fund as Northern Ireland regional winners.

Previous finalists have gone on to secure over £109m in equity funding since taking part in the InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Business competition process.

InterTradeIreland chief executive Liam Nellis said that the quality of the business plans that judges received is a testament to the innovation and entrepreneurial excellence of small businesses, North and South.

"InterTradeIreland's Seedcorn competition is now in its eighth year and has grown to become the biggest business competition on the island of Ireland," he said.