Start-ups and early stage companies have until 26 May 2017 to enter this year’s Seedcorn Investor Readiness Competition. As well as a chance to win a share of the €280,000 total cash prize fund with no equity stake taken, shortlisted firms will also benefit from expert feedback on their business plans and access to an extensive business and investment community.
Who can enter?
Now in its 15th year, the competition is open to all independent companies incorporated in Northern Ireland or Ireland in the seed, start-up or early stages of business development and which are, ideally, targeting international markets.
Guaranteed local winners
Two companies In Northern Ireland are guaranteed to take away €20,000 each as regional winners, before going on to compete in the all-island final for a chance to win the overall title and a significant cash boost of up to €100,000 – a fantastic opportunity for burgeoning Northern Ireland companies.
Initial applications are shortlisted by a selection panel with successful companies invited to submit their full business plan. At the next stage companies deliver an investment pitch in front of the judging panel comprising venture capitalists, business angels and some of the island’s leading industry entrepreneurs and business experts. Prior to regional finals, each company has the opportunity to attend an intensive one day investment pitch masterclass to help polish their presentation skills.
Shape up for Brexit
With financial and trading uncertainly at the moment, young, ambitious firms can also utilise their Seedcorn experience to get their business in shape and improve investment potential, to help accelerate growth before Brexit. Taking part in the competition gives entrants a real opportunity to develop their skills and put their business plans to the test.
Advice from a previous winner
Newtownards-based See.Sense, which specialises in the use of advanced technology to make cycling safer, was crowned best ‘Early Stage’ company in the Northern Ireland regional finals in 2013. Irene McAleese, co-founder of See.Sense, stated that she believes that Seedcorn is probably the most prestigious business competition on the island and is very worthwhile. She found that Seedcorn is especially respected in the Halo business angel and investor world as when See.Sense spoke to investors they put a high value on the company’s Seedcorn success.
€280,000 prize fund
The winners of this year’s Best ‘Early Stage’ Company and Best ‘New Start’ Company stand to win €50,000. The overall winner will be chosen from these two and will be awarded an additional €50,000 giving them €100,000 overall – with no equity stake being taken by InterTradeIreland. There are also six regional prizes of €20,000 and one Best Spinout prize of €10,000.
How to apply
The final date for receipt of initial completed application forms is Friday 26 May and companies can apply via www.intertradeireland.com/seedcorn, with shortlisted companies being informed mid-June. Regional winners will be announced in early November before going on to compete in the all-island grand final which this year takes place in Dublin on the 22 November 2017.
Seedcorn workshop in Belfast
A workshop for those interested in applying will take place on Wednesday 17 May in Belfast at E-Spark Hub on Lombard Street. This free event is aimed at assisting companies to become investor ready. Companies can discover the process for entering the competition and receive advice on what an investor looks for in a business plan, including providing advice on preparation of video clips and presentation slide decks. For more information, click here.
Follow Seedcorn 2017
Companies interested in getting involved with Seedcorn can follow the competition on Twitter (@ITI_Seedcorn) where they can get valuable information and advice from experts.