Record €300,000 prize fund for budding start-ups

Shane O'Hanlon and Connor Sweeney at the launch of the Investor Readiness competition.

InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Investor Readiness competition, the largest business competition of its kind, is offering start-up and early stage companies a record total cash prize fund of €300,000.

This year, a new Low Carbon Award is also up for grabs, with a €20,000 prize for the best investment proposal from a firm operating in the low carbon or green sector.

Early stage and start-up companies can enter the regional heat in their area – Dublin (city and county), Munster and Connacht and Leinster (including counties Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan) and Northern Ireland.

Previous Seedcorn winners hail from across the island of Ireland and represent a wide variety of sectors. They include Barracuda FX Dublin, Loci Orthopaedics Galway, Valitacell Dublin, ALR Innovations Limerick and Epona Biotech/Stablelab Sligo.

Last year, Galway’s NUA Surgical, who have created a medical device to aid Caesarean deliveries, took the top prize of €100,00 and credit the competition for helping the business become investor ready.


Welcoming entrants for this year’s competition, InterTradeIreland’s Seedcorn Programme Manager, Connor Sweeney, says the journey can be as rewarding as the end result for many of the participants.

“The 2021 Seedcorn competition is particularly important as we appreciate the challenges start-ups and early stage companies have been under over the past year.

“As well as the significant prize fund on offer, the process is an ideal opportunity for up-and-coming companies and future leaders across Ireland to develop their business plans, networking and pitching skills, while learning how best to attract potential investors and raise equity.

“We felt it was important to add a low carbon category to the competition, reflecting the growth in early stage companies which aim to develop clean or alternative energy technologies.

“We are looking forward to seeing the talent on offer from this year’s competitors – the competition is straightforward to enter and since its inception in 2003, regional finalists have gone on to secure in excess of €270m in new equity funding.”

Over the coming weeks, InterTradeIreland will host a series of free online information sessions, designed to guide those considering entering this year’s competition, including providing advice on preparation of video clips, presentation slide decks and business plans.

More information can be found via

The closing date for entries is 1pm Friday, 28 May. To apply visit