Julie to pitch for ‘global business opportunity’

Julie Hart-Thompson with  Mark O'Brien of Bank of Ireland.  INCT 21-728-CON
Julie Hart-Thompson with Mark O'Brien of Bank of Ireland. INCT 21-728-CON

A Carrick woman is getting the chance to turn her idea into a global business with a three minute ’pitch’ to a panel of business experts.

Julie Hart-Thompson’s company ‘Senshoe’ has been shortlisted in the Northern Ireland Science Park’s CONNECT INVENT 2014 competition.

The contest is a search for the new heroes of invention across six sectors: creative media and consumer Internet; agri-food; life and health; engineering; electronics and enterprise software.

An unprecedented 92 entries were put forward this year for the competitoin, which will also put Julie in the running for part of a £33,000 prize.

Senshoe has developed the first deformable composite horseshoe, integrating sensing technology that can analyse and record equine behaviour and locomotion under normal field conditions.

For the first time, this year’s competition, which is sponsored by Bank of Ireland, expanded to include not only research institutions, but any private sector company or individual with a breakthrough invention or prototype.

The top 24 competitors will now reveal their ideas to the public for the first time at a ‘Quick Pitch’ in an attempt to secure the much sought after backing that will turn their innovations into a commercial reality.

The event will see the chosen 24 pitch to an audience of 200 guests at W5 in Belfast on May 27, where 12 finalists will then be chosen.

NISP CONNECT programme manager, Peter Edgar, said the high number of entrants demonstrates the wealth of innovation in Northern Ireland.

He added: “To think that we saw 92 ideas which are contemporary, revolutionary and have the potential to be remembered for hundreds of years to come, is simply remarkable.

“We have such a great history of innovation in Northern Ireland- in fact, some of the world’s greatest inventions have their very birthplace here- so this is another step in celebrating our pioneering legacy.

“All the entrants have demonstrated real passion and belief, and we look forward to seeing many of these ideas become commercial realties.”

The Top 12 will take part in a unique six month programme which will see their ideas challenged, refined and cultivated in order to launch a successful start-up business.

Finalists will then pitch their business plans to a panel of experts in September and the winner will be announced at a gala Awards showcase in Belfast on 2nd October 2014.

“It is not far-fetched to say these companies have global potential,” Peter said.

“Previous winners of this competition and NI Science Park companies are doing business with the likes of Amazon and Ebay, and several of our local software engineering and life and health science start-ups have seen investment and buyouts by massive international companies.”