INVENT 2024 launches with £55K prize fund for entrepreneurs

  • Catalyst’s 2024 INVENT competition officially opens for applications today, with a top prize of £25,000 up for grabs for the overall winner and six new categories to enter.

    Organised by science and technology hub Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland, the prestigious INVENT competition is the main event in the calendar year for early-stage startups and aspiring entrepreneurs to showcase their innovations to a panel of expert judges.

    Building towards a finale awards ceremony on 26 September 2024 in the ICC Belfast, INVENT celebrates the best ideas presented by the most ambitious entrepreneurs with the judges selecting winners from which they believe to have the greatest impact.

    Recognising that innovation comes in various forms, and to ensure a focused competition, INVENT 2024 sees the creation of six new and exciting categories.

    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.

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    The categories are:

    • 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.

    Taking home the top prize in 2023, EV charging network startup GoPlugable, co-founded by Maebh Reynolds, became the first Greentech winner of the competition in ten 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.

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    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.

    "We have refreshed our categories and are particularly interested to see what this year’s candidates bring to the table across these different industries and issues, especially the Uncharted Ideas where there will be no restrictions on creativity.”

    Niall Devlin, Head of Business Banking NI at Bank of Ireland, headline partner for the INVENT Awards, 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.”

    Apply for INVENT 2024 here:

    Source: Written from press release 

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