Screggan in Co. Offaly is yet again the venue for the upcoming National Ploughing Championships in 2018 and Minister Humphreys has officially launched the opening of applications for Enterprise Ireland’s Innovation Arena Awards.
Up for grabs this year will be a total prize fund in excess of €80,000 and is open for applications from Irish companies within the Agri sector. The awards will take place within the popular Innovation Arena at the heart of the National Ploughing Championships in Screggan, Tullamore, Co. Offaly, 18-21 September 2018.
The Innovation Arena provides a unique platform from which Irish companies can showcase pioneering developments in the Agri sector and related subsectors such as agri-tech and agri-engineering. This year’s arena will also feature a conference venue where companies can launch new products and present to international buyers. Over 100 buyers from all over the globe attended last year.
Judging for the awards will take place at the arena throughout the three-day event in categories including ‘Agri Engineering’ and ‘Agricultural Technology’. The overall start-up winner will be eligible to win up to €15,000 cash prize.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD spoke of her delight at launching the application process.
“I am delighted to launch the Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championships. Agriculture forms the foundation of our regional economy, and Ireland’s reputation as a global leader in Agri innovation continues to grow.”, she said.
“The Government of Ireland, through Enterprise Ireland, is committed to the creation of sustainable jobs in rural Ireland and the support of regionally-based companies and entrepreneurs. I am delighted that the Arena will showcase pioneering Irish innovation in the Agri sector and I greatly look forward to seeing the products and services these companies have created in September.”, She continued.
In addition to propelling Irish innovations to a world stage, this year’s Arena will feature seminars on key issues affecting the sector including Brexit and Global Markets and will facilitate crucial networking opportunities for attending companies. Last year’s competition attracted 200 entries; 69 were shortlisted as finalist exhibitors at the Innovation Arena.
“The Irish agri sector is at the heart of the Irish economy and the companies who display their innovations each year at the Innovation Arena are a stellar example of the innovative and revolutionary development taking place in this country.”, said Julie Sinnamon, CEO Enterprise Ireland.
“Enterprise Ireland is committed to supporting companies with global ambition who have innovation at the core of their business, and for this reason, the Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championships, where the top innovations are showcased for international buyers, is a key event for us. I am also delighted to say that the ‘Innovation Boot Camp’ will once again take place on 15 August 2018at the Irish Farmers Journal demonstration farm in Tullamore. This boot camp will deliver advice, mentoring, and support for innovators in the Agri sector.”, she continued.
Director of the National Ploughing Association, Anna May McHugh, also gave her thoughts on the opportunities presented to Irish agricultural companies through this process.
“The Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championships is an incredible opportunity for anyone who has a good business idea to showcase their product at Europe’s largest outdoor event with the potential to become the next big success story in Irish business.”, she said.
“The phenomenal achievements of the previous years’ winners are an utter testament that the entrepreneurial spark is alive and flourishing in Ireland. The NPA are delighted to continue the winning Innovation Arena partnership with Enterprise Ireland,”, Anna May concluded.