21st February 2022
Applications open for Catalyst’s annual innovation competition with £47,000 prize fund
Catalyst’s 2022 INVENT competition officially opens for applications today, with a £25,000 first prize up for grabs for the overall winner.
Organised by science and technology hub Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland, the annual INVENT competition has become the premier tech event in Northern Ireland for early-stage start-ups and aspiring entrepreneurs.
INVENT builds up to an awards showcase which will reward new tech innovations and proof-of-concept ideas that an expert panel of judges believe have the greatest commercial potential.
Following the success of last year’s updated categories, the 2022 awards will follow the same format. These categories align with pressing and important global matters such as climate change and the need to reduce our carbon footprint with the Greentech category proving more important than ever. The categories include:
- Greentech – Products, solutions and tech that enable a sustainable future.
- Health and Wellbeing – Improving the quality of life through pushing the boundaries in life sciences, med tech and health promotion.
- Product – A physical product designed and fabricated to offer the consumer or business a novel innovative solution.
- Business Software – Computer software products or solutions used to satisfy the needs of an organisation rather than individual users, including innovations in sectors such as fintech, insurtech and cyber security.
- Consumer Software – Consumer software is a class of commercial software that is sold directly to end-users as opposed to businesses.
Invent 2022 has a total prize fund of £47,000. Each category winner takes home £5,000 and the overall winner will receive an additional £20,000, adding up to a total prize of £25,000. 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, which will take place on September 1st at the ICC Belfast.
The overall winner of INVENT 2021 was Coleraine-based StimOxyGen. The company has developed technology that enhances the effects of cancer treatment by overcoming the problem of hypoxia in solid tumours. It uses oxygen generating nanoparticles to generate transient oxygen within solid tumours and has the potential to improve the efficacy of many cancer treatments and transform patient outcomes across the world.
Sian Farrell, Chief Scientific Officer of StimOxyGen, said: “Winning INVENT last year was amazing, it really got our company name out there and made people interested in what we do. The process has also really helped us understand how to communicate our science in a way that everybody can understand.
“Anybody who’s thinking of entering INVENT this year, I would tell them to totally go for it. I had an amazing experience and the help, mentoring and support you get throughout the competition is second to none. It also gives you a great challenge of having to condense your story down and communicate in the most effective way that you can.”
Niall Devlin, Head of Business Banking NI at Bank of Ireland, headline partner of the INVENT Awards said: “Bank of Ireland UK is delighted to continue its partnership with Catalyst and support the INVENT programme. These awards showcase the very best in innovation and provide our tech innovators and entrepreneurs with a well-deserved opportunity to showcase their ground-breaking ideas and we hope to encourage and inspire others to follow in their example.
"Bank of Ireland UK’s partnership with Catalyst and INVENT exemplifies how we are working to enable our customers, communities and colleagues to thrive. We are delighted to see the breadth of opportunity in the updated categories and as the challenges of climate change and reducing our carbon footprint continue, we’re looking forward to seeing new ways to help us all adopt more sustainable practices.
“Bank of Ireland UK is proud to support the creativity and innovation of the programme entrants and indeed in our own customers, as many adopt new technology, develop new products and income streams and adapt to new ways of working to succeed in a post pandemic world. I am looking forward to seeing the exciting ideas that come forward and wish everyone involved great success.”
Kerry McGarvey, Programme Manager for INVENT, said: “We are so excited to launch INVENT 2022 and to start accepting applications from talented entrepreneurs and innovators from across Northern Ireland. Invent provides a unique opportunity for early stage companies to showcase their ideas to the best in the business and we are looking forward to seeing what brilliant ideas come our way this year.
“The companies who do well across our categories are the ones who are taking a fresh approach to solving real world problems. With a real focus on the impacts of climate change in the world right now, we are particularly interested in seeing entries to the Greentech category which launched last year to find products, solutions and tech that enable a sustainable future.”
For more information on INVENT visit www.invent22.co
Photo Caption: Pictured at Catalyst Headquarters in Belfast (from L – R): Kerry McGarvey, Programme Manager for INVENT, Niall Devlin, Head of Business Banking NI at Bank of Ireland, Sian Farrell, Chief Scientific Officer of StimOxyGen, winner of INVENT 2021 and Lewis Loane, Founder of TORANN, winner of INVENT 2019