Business First May-June 2017 Business First May 2017 - Page 27

100,000 reasons to enter InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Competition I magine the difference €100,000 could make to your new start or early stage company. Well, that is what is on offer to the overall winner of the 15th InterTradeIreland Seedcorn Competition 2017. 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. So far, more than 2,584 companies have taken part in Seedcorn with past entrants continuing to reap the benefits through contacts made via the competition and equity raised as a result. In fact, previous finalists have gone on to secure more than €218m worth of new equity to date. The Seedcorn competition mirrors the real life investment process and can greatly improve a company’s ability to attract equity. Past winners from Northern Ireland include Catagen and Sophia Search from Belfast who were overall winners, and See.Sense from Newtownards and Cirdan Imaging from Lisburn who were regional winners. Speaking about the Competition, Connor Sweeney, InterTradeIreland, said: “We have so many innovative companies in Northern Ireland and very talented people who have great ideas. “But over the history of the Seedcorn Competition, we have only had a few local overall winners. So perhaps this is the time for companies here to step up to the challenge and bring the title back to Northern Ireland!” Connor added, “Seedcorn provides a great opportunity for early stage and new start companies to get that initial injection of cash. “However, Seedcorn is much more than money – we know from feedback that the experience of the competition process can also be critical for business development.” Advice from last year’s winner… Last year’s overall winner, Valitacell, based in Dublin, develops bio­technology which allows companies to manufacture ‘high tech’ bio­therapeutic drugs faster, cheaper and with greater regulatory confidence. CEO and Co­Founder, Dr Terry McWade, who was born and grew up in Northern Ireland, added: “Winning the overall prize at Seedcorn 2016 was a tremendous confidence boost for the company. “We had been in operation for just over a year and 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. “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 Great gadgets for your PC T he BakkerElkhuizen S­board 840 Design USB compact keyboard is distinctive and precise. Its unique design means it doesn’t include a numeric pad, so the mouse can be placed much closer to the keyboard. Research has shown that 90 per cent of keyboard users rarely use the numeric pad. This means the S­Board 840 Design USB compact keyboard offers greater comfort, reducing the reaching distance to the mouse, which significantly reduces strain on the shoulder and forearm. The dark keyboard letters are on a light background, making them easier to read and are proven to contribute to increased productivity. Its ergonomic design forges a productive working pattern, whilst reducing the symptoms of RSI. This keyboard keeps you connected, as it comes with multimedia keys and two USB ports (USB hub). Its user­friendly keys include an extra wide space­ bar and user­friendly positioned arrow keys. With many shortcuts it’s the ultimate office, home and portable keyboard, that makes