Call out to Mental Health Innovators to enter the annual Business Plan Competition

Today, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition, in partnership with NDRC and St Patrick's Mental Health Services (SPMHS), announced details of a special €5,000 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 runners-up. Entries with a mental health focus are also eligible to win first, second or third runners-up prizes. The callout is being made to technology business ideas that focus on any of the following criteria:

  • Prevention of Mental Health Difficulties in Young People. This would include technology ideas to improve young people’s mental health literacy so that they are educated and aware of how to manage their mental health proactively
  • Early Intervention for Young People with existing Mental Health Difficulties. This would include technology ideas which connect young people with existing mental health difficulties, with professional support, tools and advice anytime and anywhere
  • Relapse Prevention in Adults with enduring Mental Health Difficulties. This would include technology ideas that empower a person to maintain their recovery

Orla Gogarty, Director of Digital Health at SPMHS said:St Patrick’s Mental Health Services recognises that as the role of technology in society grows, its importance in educating, enabling and supporting people to manage their mental health and well-being is becoming more significant. We are delighted to partner with The Ireland Funds and NDRC this year, through a specific Mental Health prize award within the Annual Business Plan Competition. We are hopeful that this prize will provide an opportunity now, and in the future, for unique collaborations between our university-affiliated mental health service and the chosen technology start-up.

Executive Director of The Ireland Funds, Caitriona Fottrell welcomed the new partnership with SPMHS saying: Digital technology has huge potential to transform how we support positive mental health in Ireland, and we are delighted to bring this;strand to the Annual Business Plan Competition. I'd encourage any team with a mental health-focused tech idea, even if it's not yet fully developed, to enter the competition where we can hopefully see it come to fruition.

The competition, which seeks to nurture creativity and hone entrepreneurial skills among early-stage technology entrepreneurs is open for entries until midnight on April 28th, 2019. University and third-level students (undergraduate, post-graduate and post-doctoral) and recent graduates [2 years] across the island of Ireland are invited to submit technology proposals that are at pre-investment stage. Ten business ideas will then be shortlisted and invited to participate in four pre-acceleration workshops, bringing their business ideas from concept to pitch, receiving mentoring and feedback throughout the process. There will be a final pitching event 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 €10,000 cash prize. Second place will receive a €5,000 cash prize and third place will receive prize money of €1,000.

About The Ireland Funds The Ireland Funds’ mission is to harness the power of a global philanthropic network of friends of Ireland to promote and support peace, culture, education and community development across the island of Ireland and among Irish communities around the world.

St. Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS) is a leading, independent, not-for-profit mental health service provider. SPMHS works to provide the highest quality mental healthcare, to promote mental well-being and mental health awareness, and to advocate for the rights of those experiencing mental health difficulties. We achieve this through a human rights-based approach, through the enhancement of evidence-based knowledge and by striving to be at the cutting-edge of new initiatives and advances in the field.