19 May 2022

Competition to find Ireland’s agri-innovators with a €10,000 cash prize fund

Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena Awards 2020 are now open for online entries

Competition to find Ireland’s agri-innovators with a €10,000 cash prize fund

Winners of 2019 Innovation Arena Best Start-Up Award were Co. Limerick brothers Jack and Nick Cotter with Julie Sinnamon, CEO, Enterprise Ireland and Anna May McHugh, NPA Managing Director

Entries for the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena Awards 2020, in association with the National Ploughing Association, are now being accepted online.

Irish agri-companies are invited to enter their products and innovations for consideration to the annual awards competition which has moved online this year due to the cancellation of the National Ploughing Championships as a result of Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Also read: Network Ireland awards reflect changing working realities for women

The Innovation Arena, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this year, was first established by the National Ploughing Association (NPA) in conjunction with Tanco Engineering founder Alfie Cox, with Enterprise Ireland coming on board for the last seven years.

Over the past decade, innovative products showcased at the Innovation Arena by leading Irish companies such as Samco, Malone, Moocall, Herdwatch and Cross Engineering, have gone on to achieve global success. Last year’s winners included Dairymaster Mission Control which has introduced Artificial Intelligence to rotary milking and a sheep handling system called the Cotter Crate developed by Co. Limerick brothers Jack and Nick Cotter.

This year’s Innovation Arena Awards are once again open to Irish businesses and entrepreneurs within the agri-sector, giving them the opportunity to launch their pioneering innovations.

Innovators from the following industry sectors are encouraged to enter: dairy and dry-stock farming, horticulture, information and communication technology, cloud and mobile based software, animal health and genetics, water and waste management, environment and clean-tech, animal and farm management, farm safety and leading research.

Award categories include best agri-technology start-up, best agri-engineering established company, young innovator of the year and best agri-environmental enterprise. The best start-up and overall winner of the Innovation Arena Awards will be eligible to win up to €5,000 each.

Last year’s competition attracted almost 100 entries. Fifty were shortlisted as finalists and invited to exhibit at the Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championships. Winners of this year’s awards will be automatically eligible to exhibit in the ‘2020 Winners Enclosure Section’ at the Innovation Arena in 2021.

Mark Christal, Manager, Regions and Entrepreneurship, Enterprise Ireland said: “This year’s Innovation Arena Awards will continue in recognition of the innovative and entrepreneurial activity that is taking place in towns and villages all over Ireland, despite the Covid-19 pandemic. Many Enterprise Ireland companies have adjusted their products and services to continue to deliver successfully, whether it has been developing important PPE, or ensuring that vital food and industry services remain open. This resilience is particularly evident in the agri-community. Every year, the Innovation Arena Awards provide clear proof that Ireland is leading the way for innovation in the agri-engineering and agri-technology sector and I encourage all budding entrepreneurs and established enterprises to enter.”

Also read: Health and safety the priority as midlands hotels welcome Covid-19 move

NPA Managing Director Anna May McHugh said: “The National Ploughing Championships has been a focal point of innovation since its establishment in 1931. Agriculture is deeply rooted in Irish culture and is a vital factor in rural Ireland’s economic growth. This year, with the current global pandemic, innovation in business has never been more important and significant as companies have to adapt to an evolving and unknown economic climate and marketplace. Over the years the Innovation Arena at Ploughing has seen some of the most groundbreaking technologies and amazing cutting-edge ideas, with previous winners going on to have serious success in business both in Ireland and internationally. As a result, I would encourage all budding entrepreneurs to enter this year’s competition.”

To enter this year’s Innovation Arena Awards click here

Closing date for entries is Friday,  July 10, 2020.

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