A Carrickfergus businesswoman has made it to the final of the Northern Ireland Science Park CONNECT INVENT 2014 competition.
Julie Hart-Thompson’s company Senshoe was one of 24 to take part in the ‘Quick Pitch’ event in W5, Belfast - sponsored by Bank of Ireland - on Tuesday of last week.
They pitched to an audience of over 200 guests and judges which included the head of computing at University of Cambridge, Andy Hopper, and founder of international medical company TG Eakin, Tom Eakin.
With only three minutes in the spotlight, competition was fierce and the panel had the task of choosing the 12 ideas they saw as having the greatest commercial potential.
Senshoe, which has created a deformable composite horseshoe integrating sensing technology, and the other 11 finalists will now embark on a six-month programme which will see their ideas challenged and refined in order to turn their innovation into a successful commercial reality.
The winners of all six categories will receive a slice of a £33,000 prize fund and take part in a week-long visit to San Diego and San Francisco, home to many of the world’s top business clusters in biotechnology, wireless communications, biofuels and sports technology.
Peter Edgar, NISP CONNECT programme manager, said: “This essentially is the birth of 12 new companies which yesterday were only ideas for solutions to an everyday problem, and today are on the start of a journey which will see them finish with a viable business plan, and access to the best entrepreneurial and sci-tech advice and networks in Northern Ireland, not to mention securing themselves a ticket to the ‘Top Gun Academy’ for innovators in San Diego, and Silicon Valley.
“The category winners will benefit enormously from visiting the world’s most influential people in their fields, and it is not implausible to think that many of them could match that success with their own innovations in the future.”
The Top 12 will pitch their final business plans to a panel of experts in September and the category winners and overall winner will be announced at a gala Awards showcase in front of 600 people at the iconic Titanic Belfast on 2nd October 2014.