Competition offering €27,000 to boost early-stage tech start-ups

L-R: Aaron Hannon, winner of The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition 2019 with Founder Bill McKiernan

Overall winner will receive a €15,000 prize fund



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20 February 2020 | 0

The Ireland Funds is offering €27,000 to jump-start four technology business ideas.

The Business Plan Competition 2020, which runs in partnership with NDRC and St Patrick’s Mental Health Services (SPMHS), was designed to boost early-stage technology entrepreneurs. It is open to university and third-level students, researchers and recent graduates.

Ten business proposals will be shortlisted. The finalists will be invited to participate in four pre-acceleration workshops and receive mentoring to develop their proposal.




At the final pitching event in June, three prizes will be awarded. The overall winner will receive €15,000 and be given the opportunity to pitch for a place on one of NDRC’s investment programme. There will be a €7,000 prize for the second-place winner, and €2,000 for the third-place winner.

Mental health focused proposals will be in with a chance to win a €3,000 from St Patrick’s Mental Health Services. Entries with a mental health focus are also eligible to win first, second or third runner up prizes.

Over the last three years, the competitions finalists have collectively raised €5.7 million in follow-on funding. 

Last year, Lily Devices, led by NUI Galway student Aaron Hannon, won the top prize for its product that aims to prevent hair loss during chemotherapy using a unique headband device.

“The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition has been a fantastic opportunity for us to build our customer discovery skills and truly understand the problem we are working on,” said Hannon.

“Over the course of the programme, we radically redefined our strategy for market access having understood our customers in a whole new light. We now feel that, having been through The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition process, we are in a much stronger position to accelerate our technical development and deliver maximum patient impact when we get to market.”

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