Twelve innovators have secured their place in the final of INVENT 2017, the prestigious annual competition run by Connect at Catalyst Inc and sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK.
A packed audience came together at Belfast Waterfront to watch this year’s 24 high calibre semi-finalists pitch for a hotly contested place in the finals. Getting through to October’s final presents them with the opportunity to win a share of the £33,000 prize fund and a priceless place on the NI Tech Mission to California.
Invent is Northern Ireland’s showcase competition for the rapidly developing knowledge economy. Over the course of 9mths it challenges and develops the ideas, proof-of-concepts and prototypes of inventors, entrepreneurs, scientists and start-ups from across Northern Ireland. The aim is to discover and maximise the commercial potential of their ideas further and reduce go-to-market risk.
This year’s highly experienced judging panel included Andrew Sloane, Investment Lead at Accelerated Digital Ventures, Julia Groves, partner and Head of Crowdfunding at Downing LLP, Conor Clarke, Investment Associate at Eli Global, Nicola McClafferty Investment director at Draper Esprit and Gavin Kennedy Head of Business Banking NI at Bank of Ireland UK.
Invent programme manager, Kerry McGarvey, commented: “I was amazed to see the number of local product innovations that came through Invent this year. We had a record number of entries and the quality was phenomenal. At the semi-final each team had just three minutes to convince the judges that their solution for the problem they identified had the potential to succeed – all twenty four semi-finalists did an outstanding job and the twelve selected for the final are brilliant examples of NI’s booming knowledge economy.”
Gavin Kennedy, Head of Business Banking NI, Bank of Ireland UK explained, “We understand the importance of what entrepreneurs are building and the valuable contribution they make. Bank of Ireland is very proud of its partnership with INVENT in supporting these innovators because what they are doing is not only incredibly exciting but also extremely important to the NI Economy as they become the SMEs of the future.
The climax of the competition, sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, is the gala Invent Awards night, being held at the Belfast Waterfront on Thursday 5th October 2017. Over 600 investors, entrepreneurs, executives and top research scientists will gather to hear the announcement of the winners.
Click the image below to see Facebook photos from our Semi final and snap up our Early Bird tickets at www.invent2017.co