The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition announces 12 exciting finalists

  • Entrepreneurs from research centres and universities all over Ireland compete for top prize
  • €27,000 in cash prizes on offer for best business plans
  • Competition a partnership between The Ireland Funds, NDRC and and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS)

The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition (BPC) final shortlist for this year has been revealed, with teams from all over the island of Ireland competing for a share of the €27,000 prizes on offer.

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.

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), Preserve (National University of Ireland, Maynooth).

Last Year

Lily Devices, led by NUI Galway student Aaron Hannon, won the top prize of €15,000 in 2019 for their product that aims to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy using a unique headband device which offers patients a comfortable, dignified and portable treatment device for the prevention of hair loss during chemotherapy.

The shortlisted teams 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.

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.

Caitriona Fottrell, Director Ireland of The Ireland Funds, said:

“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. 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.”

Orla Gogarty, Director of Digital Health at SPMHS, said:

“SPMHS is delighted to once again partner with The Ireland Funds and NDRC on this. 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.”

Ben Hurley, CEO of NDRC, said:

“I’m delighted to welcome these 12 teams onto the latest BPC. 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.”