With a total cash prize fund of €280,000, the opportunity to gain expert advice on your business plan, tips and guidance on how to pitch to investors as well as the potential access to a valuable network of VCs, entering the Seedcorn Competition is definitely a smart business move for those early stage and new start companies seeking to raise equity.
We are now in the 15th year of Seedcorn and so far, more than 2,584 companies have taken part. Past businesses continue to reap the benefits of taking part through contacts made via the competition and equity raised as a result. In fact, previous finalists have gone on to secure more than €218mworth of new equity to date.
We know that firms are facing a lot of uncertainty at the moment regarding Brexit but now is the perfect time to get your business in shape so you are prepared and ready to adapt from as strong a position as possible, if and when necessary.
What is Seedcorn?
The Seedcorn competition mirrors the real life investment process and can greatly improve a company’s ability to attract equity. It is open to companies under five years old, and depending on the level of equity you are seeking to raise, a business can enter one of two categories – new start and early stage and there are four regions; Northern Ireland, Dublin (City & County), Munster, and Connacht & Leinster (including counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan).
Companies must first submit their application along with a slide deck or a short video via our website by 26 May 2017. Shortlisted firms are invited to submit a full business plan and, if successful, will then be asked 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.
Throughout each stage of the competition, companies will be judged on various criteria including financial performance, company milestones and achievements, future strategy for the business, the management team in place, and indeed the quality of the pitch to the judging panel. Feedback is provided to companies at each stage of the competition process.
Advice from last year’s winner…
Last year’s overall winner, Valitacell, based in Dublin, develops bio-technology primarily aimed at the bio-pharmaceutical market, which allows companies to manufacture "high tech" bio-therapeutic drugs faster, more cheaply and with greater regulatory confidence.
The company had been in operation for just over a year when they entered the competition and as CEO and Co-Founder, Dr Terry McWade explains, winning provided a great boost for the firm.
He said, “The €100,000 prize fund allowed us to progress further along the implementation path and achieve a number of key milestones. We are now starting our funding round and, as we are already in revenue with product on the market and with global biopharma companies as customers, we are in a very strong position. The publicity and profile from our Seedcorn Competition win has proved very useful and has opened the door for many of the conversations we are currently having.
“My advice to anyone considering taking part in the competition is to grab the opportunity with both hands and listen to the feedback and sound advice you are given every step of the way.”
Support during the competition
Over the coming weeks, InterTradeIreland will host a series of free workshops designed to guide those considering entering this year’s competition, including providing advice on what an investor looks for in a business plan as well as tips on what to include in videos and slide decks.
How to apply
To apply, please click here. Deadline for submissions is 26 May 2017. You can follow all the action throughout the 2017 competition by searching for and using #ITISeedcorn and following @iti_seedcorn