Invent Northern Ireland competition 2024

Invent start-ups competition launches with £55K 2024 prize fund

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Invent 2024 competition to uncover exciting new entrepreneurs from across the entire of Northern Ireland and County Donegal, Ireland, has been launched – offering a £55k prize fund.

The annual competition organised by non-profit science and technology hub Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland looks to find exciting entrepreneurs and innovations, giving them an international platform and support to make the greatest impact.

With six categories to enter, the competition will build with pitch rounds up to the final awards ceremony on 26 September 2024 at the ICC Belfast.

From reimagining leisure experiences to exploring environmental solutions, each category offers a unique platform for a product or service to stand out and garner the attention of some of the most influential minds and decision makers in the region.

Categories include:

Creative Leisure: Innovations in entertainment, creativity, and recreation, from reshaping film to pushing fashion boundaries.
Green Horizons: Environmental sustainability innovations, from waste reduction to green technology, healing and preserving the Earth.
Future Business: Transforming the business landscape with innovations in financial technology, cybersecurity, data management, and business robotics.
BioBreakthroughs: Pioneering work in Life Sciences, welcoming advancements in healthcare technologies and the understanding of living organisms.
Living Well: Celebrating innovations that enhance quality of life, from SportsTech to mental health solutions and lifestyle products.
Uncharted Ideas: For pioneering products or services beyond the usual – presenting ideas that don’t neatly fit elsewhere, a unique exploration of innovation. Participants won’t know the type of innovations they’re up against.

The awards have a total £55,000 prize fund available, with each category winner taking home £5,000 and the overall winner walking away with an additional £20,000, totalling a £25,000 top prize. 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.

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Entrants must have no more than five paid employees, and must be based in Northern Ireland or County Donegal, Ireland.

Meg Magill, Invent Programme Manager at Catalyst, said: “There is an extremely talented pool of entrepreneurs who are creating excellent ideas and solving real world problems and we are delighted to bring them into the spotlight through Invent.”

Taking home the top prize in 2023, EV charging network startup GoPlugable became the first Greentech winner of the competition in 10 years. GoPlugable is building a community-powered EV charger-sharing ecosystem that enables EV owners to take advantage of available privately-owned chargers in their areas and allows homeowners with chargers to earn money by sharing access.

Niall Devlin, head of business banking NI at Bank of Ireland, said: “Enterprise and innovation are important pillars for economic growth and the Invent programme is an inspiring demonstration of local entrepreneurial talent and what can be achieved when we invest and provide the support entrepreneurs and innovators need to achieve their ambitions and succeed faster.

“That approach to fostering entrepreneurship is at the heart of our partnership with Catalyst, working with local innovators, particularly those who might see themselves as furthest away from opportunity, to deliver innovative solutions to real issues, and we look forward to supporting the entrepreneurs and businesses who take part in Invent 2024.”

More information on how to enter can be found here.