12 finalists for Ireland Funds’ Business Plan Competition

Twelve teams from all over Ireland have been shortlisted for the Ireland Funds’ Business Plan Competition and will vie for a €27,000 prize fund.

The Business Plan Competition (BPC) is a partnership between The Ireland Funds, the National Digital Research Centre (NDRC) and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS)

The competition provides cash to help kick-start four new technology business ideas. Over the last three years, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition finalists have collectively gone on to raise €5.66m in follow-on funding.

“We are witnessing a quiet revolution in how the innovative use of technology can play a critical role in helping us all stay connected with our work, health services and social support networks, even when we cannot be together in person”

“The BPC has a long history of encouraging ambition and creativity among Ireland’s young entrepreneurs. In this time of great change we are fortunate to be able to adapt and continue to deliver a fantastic programme in 2020, remotely,” said Caitriona Fottrell, director of The Ireland Funds.

“We are inspired by the exciting shortlist of finalists and look forward to working with our partners NDRC and SPMHS to see innovative ideas come to fruition.”

A goal without a business plan is only a wish

The shortlisted teams for the Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition will now participate in a four-week programme of pre-acceleration workshops, bringing their business ideas from concept to pitch as well as receiving mentoring and feedback throughout the process.

The participants this year are: Align (Queen’s University Belfast), Carbon Capture (Trinity College Dublin), Injurysense (Trinity College Dublin), MyClinic365 (Trinity College Dublin), Neurofit (Trinity College Dublin), OpinionX (Dublin City University), Project Grace (National University of Ireland, Galway), SafetyFreelancer (Dublin Business School), Sensibin (Trinity College Dublin), Signal Optimiser (Queen’s University Belfast), Keep Appy (Trinity College Dublin) and Preserve (National University of Ireland, Maynooth).

“SPMHS is delighted to once again partner with The Ireland Funds and NDRC on this,” said Orla Gogarty, director of Digital Health at SPMHS.

“This competition is particularly important at this challenging time when entrepreneurs and start-ups need our support perhaps more than ever. We are witnessing a quiet revolution in how the innovative use of technology can play a critical role in helping us all stay connected with our work, health services and social support networks, even when we cannot be together in person. The Business Plan Competition similarly focuses on how the creative, collaborative development and use of can do good for society.”

There will be a final pitching event in June and three prizes will be awarded. The winner will have the opportunity to pitch for a place on one of NDRC’s investment programmes as well as securing a €15,000 cash prize. Second place will receive a €7,000 cash prize and third place will receive €2,000.

In 2019, The Ireland Funds partnered with SPMHS to award a prize to kick-start a mental health-focused business plan. The partnership continues this year with a €3,000 prize fund for a technology idea that focuses on mental health. The prize will be awarded in addition to the €24,000 prize money for first, second and third runner up.

“I’m delighted to welcome these 12 teams onto the latest Business Plan Competition (BPC),” said Ben Hurley, CEO of NDRC.

“A combination of these great teams coming in from Ireland’s top universities and research institutions, alongside NDRC’s commitment to remotely deliver a world-class competition, will see some truly innovative ideas rewarded in June. With the Covid-19 outbreak, this is a hugely challenging time for businesses to proceed. It will be interesting to see how these ideas, through our remote delivery of BPC, develop.

“The competition will involve experts in their field lending valuable insights to the teams, leading to clear validation of key elements of each project, particularly around the understanding of customers and markets. I wish everybody the best of luck and look forward to seeing all of your hard work and dedication over the coming months.”

Pictured at top: Lily Devices founder Aaron Hannon, with Bill McKiernan, creator of the BPC. Image: Aengus McMahon

Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 30 March, 2020