Ten innovative, future focused start-ups have been named as finalists for INVENT 2021, Northern Ireland’s most exciting and challenging competition for entrepreneurial early-stage businesses.
Organised by science and technology hub Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland, INVENT is an annual celebration of the brightest new business ideas in the region, which supports, showcases and rewards the local innovations and proof of concept ideas that have the greatest commercial potential.
The finalists will have the chance to take home a share of an increased prize fund of £47,000, with a £25,000 first prize for the overall winner.
The ten shortlisted start-ups are drawn from five different categories, which were refreshed for this year’s awards to reflect global trends and help to capture great ideas from across the full spectrum of innovation in Northern Ireland, while also aligning with the clusters Catalyst believes will drive the local economy in future.
The finalists selected are:
Greentech: BODtech; Tankcube
Health & Wellbeing: Informed Minds; Stim Oxygen
Product: Excavator Forklift; Safewater Technologies
Consumer Software: Ecko; Stable Manager
Business Software: Anneal; Defensive Thinking
The finalists were chosen after two days of live, in-person semi-final pitches to a highly experienced judging panel that included Edward Stevenson from SFC Capital; Juliette Souliman from MMC Ventures; Sam Fennell from ACF Investors; Nico Albanese of Ascension; Michael Shaw from RPS; and Niall Devlin from Bank of Ireland.
Kerry McGarvey, Programme Manager, INVENT 2021, said: “This competition is designed to shine a light on the ingenuity and creativity of local entrepreneurs, which has been in greater need than ever over the past 18 months. We have been really encouraged by the high standard of applicants for INVENT and amazed by the quality and disruptive potential of their innovations and products, many of which have been developed during the pandemic. This bodes well for the future of the local innovation economy and we wish all of finalists the best of luck for the big day in September.”
Niall Devlin, Head of Business Banking NI at Bank of Ireland UK, said: “At Bank of Ireland we understand that success in business doesn’t just happen. It is created by people with great vision, who innovate and take risks in order to deliver enhanced outcomes for their customers and/or communities. As Invent continues to amplify the excellent standard of innovative talent and potential we have in Northern Ireland we congratulate the worthy finalists who demonstrated passion, impressive knowledge and commercial potential to disrupt the marketplace. Bank of Ireland are delighted to play our part in nurturing the mind-set and creativity of innovation as part of an essential community of support which is invaluable for the Northern Ireland economy.”
Each INVENT category winner will receive £5,000 and the overall winner will take home an additional £20,000, giving an overall prize of £25,000. Additional prizes of £1,000 will be awarded to the best student application and the best elevator pitch delivered on the night of the INVENT Awards on September 30.
This year’s final will take place in person but will also be streamed live from the ICC Belfast. Last year, more than 1,500 people from around the world tuned into hear the finalists pitch their ideas.
About the contestants:
About the awards categories:
More details and video of the awards can be found at www.invent2021.co