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Catalyst launches Invent awards programme for 2020

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Gavin Kennedy, Bank of Ireland; Micheal McLaughlin and John McElhone from CropSafe; and Catalyst’s Kerry McGarvey

Gavin Kennedy, Bank of Ireland; Micheal McLaughlin and John McElhone from CropSafe; and Catalyst’s Kerry McGarvey

Gavin Kennedy, Bank of Ireland; Micheal McLaughlin and John McElhone from CropSafe; and Catalyst’s Kerry McGarvey

Catalyst has launched its annual Invent competition and is hoping to attract more than 100 innovators and entrepreneurs from across Northern Ireland.

The awards programme, sponsored by Bank of Ireland, was set up to discover products with strong innovation and global commercial potential. And more than 1,200 applicants have been through the process since it was launched in 2009.

Success stories include CropSafe, set up by 19-year-olds John McElhone and Micheal McLaughlin. The mobile app uses AI and satellite imagery to photograph crops. John said: “No matter how new your idea, business or product, Invent is the competition for you. Throughout the process, Catalyst guided us through workshops and mentor meetings to refine our idea into a real-life, working product.”

Applicants from sectors including engineering, agri-science and creative media could potentially win part of the £33,000 prize fund.

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