Tues 23 June 2020

The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition 2020

Date : Tues 23 June 2020

Wednesday 25 March 2020 – Update

Business Plan Competition 2020 Finalists

The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition (BPC) final shortlist for this year has been revealed, with teams from all over the island of Ireland competing for a share of the prizes on offer.

Align (Queen’s University Belfast)
Physical misalignment during exercise and everyday activities leads to excess stress being placed on the body. This can lead to long-term physical conditions affecting the daily lives of millions. Align is a smart, full-body suit that provides the user with simple imagery and information to correct alignment, allowing the user to track their information and prevent injury, improve performance, reduce recovery time, and increase longevity.

CarbonCapture (Trinity College Dublin)
CO2 emissions are rising while the world struggles to cope with the detrimental impact associated with e-commerce. The two billion e-commerce buyers around the world are calling out for a solution to offset the negative impact of their purchases. CarbonCapture is a website plug-in that calculates the CO2 emissions from a purchase and allows consumers the option to purchase a tree to offset this.

InjurySense (Trinity College Dublin)
InjurySense is a muscle injury prevention system providing predictive analysis specific to muscle injuries by measuring muscle activity and biomechanics. It provides a personalised analytics solution for professional athletes, giving coaching staff insights into performance and injury risk. This novel solution allows running data to be collected and analysed in real time.

MyClinic365 (Trinity College Dublin)
MyClinic365 is a patient engagement platform that reduces the administrative burden in healthcare by streamlining a patient’s journey. This virtual assistant reduces time spent on the phone, allows secure communication between GP and patient, and provides triage at first point of contact.

NeuroFit (Trinity College Dublin)
In 2018, there were 70 million fitness devices sold worldwide but none of them were suitable for wheelchair users. NeuroFit is a fitness device specifically for wheelchair users, many of whom don’t achieve the adequate amount of exercise. It uses a variety of sensors to capture the movement and muscle activity of both a wheelchair and its user. This provides useful information in an understandable way through an app. Users can use the platform to connect with fellow wheelchair users, track their activities, join clubs, take on challenges, and share their achievements.

OpinionX (Dublin City University)
Qualitative research at scale can very quickly become overwhelming. OpinionX is a conversational survey tool purpose-built for this task. Using machine learning it combines the familiarity and scale of an online survey with the flexibility and richness of insight of a focus group, turning input into measurable insights.

ProjectGrace (NUI Galway)
25% of women globally are affected by at lease one pelvic floor disorder. The first line treatment for these conditions is physiotherapy, however there are a number of limitations to the effective implementation of this including compliance, convenience, cost, stigma and lack of specialists. Grace is a digital therapeutic platform that empowers women to take control and improve their quality of life through detailed educational content and evidence-based management strategies, all delivered online by leading experts.

SafetyFreelancer (Dublin Business School)
SafetyFreelancer is the world’s first freelancer platform exclusively for health and safety professionals. It provides a marketplace for businesses and experts to connect and collaborate on a global stage, reducing costs, increasing efficiency and making workplace safety more accessible.

Sensibin Limited (Trinity College Dublin)
Sensibin is a smart bin that uses sensors, wireless technology and machine learning to properly identify the type of waste being discarded and indicate to the user which bin is the best suited for their waste. It addresses cross- contamination of waste bins, i.e. when recyclable material is contaminated with other waste. This problem costs facility managers and companies approx. 18-26% of their annual waste collection costs and affects their environmental impact as more waste is subsequently being sent to landfill.

Signal Optimiser (Queen’s University Belfast)
Music equipment manufacturers recognise that current equipment’s performance can result in up to 50% loss of sound quality and signal degradation when amplified. Signal Optimiser is a fully compatible plug and play device, positioned between the instrument and amplifier which continuously provides 100% sound quality. The world’s official number 1 music retailer, Andertons Music, described Signal Optimiser as a ‘very exciting game changer which nobody else is doing.’

KeepAppy (Trinity College Dublin)
Mental Health Innovation Award shortlist
KeepAppy is a wellness app that acts as a gym for your mental health and wellbeing. With ten preventative features (from journaling to goal setting) plus interactive elements, KeepAppy empowers users to take control of their wellbeing by equipping them with the tools necessary to track the eight vitals that most impact daily wellbeing (e.g. sleep, exercise, water etc.). It then tailors the prompts and content towards each user.

Preserve (Maynooth University)
Mental Health Innovation Award shortlist
Social media is attributed to rising rates of anxiety, depression and self-harm witnessed among youth in Ireland. Preserve’s solution educates every school child under the digital age of consent (13-16 years old) through gamification and informal learning, encouraging the responsible and mindful use of social media.

The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition

Now in its ninth year, looks to nurture creativity and hone entrepreneurial skills among early-stage technology entrepreneurs on the island of Ireland.

Participants will have the opportunity to develop their business ideas and compete for cash prizes, other supports and the opportunity to pitch for a place on one of NDRC’s (National Digital Research Centre) investment programs.

What is it?

Founded by San Francisco based Ireland Funds America Board Director, Bill McKiernan of WSM Capital, LLC, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition focuses on early-stage entrepreneurs and promotes the skills and resilience needed to develop globally scalable businesses, attract investment and ultimately, to create jobs.

The Ireland Funds has partnered with NDRC to help you bring your idea from concept to pitch. Twelve business ideas have been selected to receive mentoring and support from NDRC through a series of workshops during May and June, with the opportunity to compete to pitch for a place on one of NDRC’s investment programs, €27,000 in prize money and other supports.

First prize

  • €15,000 cash prize along with the opportunity to pitch for a place on one of NDRC’s investment programs. NDRC is Ireland’s most successful digital accelerator, specifically designed to enable entrepreneurial teams transform solid ideas into commercially viable startups.

Runners-up prizes

  • €7,000 cash prize (first runner-up)
  • €2,000 cash prize (second runner-up)

Mental Health Innovation Award

  • €3,000 cash prize for a technology idea that focuses on mental health, courtesy of St Patrick’s Mental Health Services.

All finalists will receive detailed feedback on their business ideas and pitches from The Ireland Funds Judging Panel and NDRC Venture Investment Team.

Who is eligible?

The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition is open to university and third-level students (undergraduate, post-graduate, post-doctoral) and recent graduates (2 years or less) in the Republic of Ireland or Northern Ireland at pre-investment stage. Specifically we are looking for four things:

  • A technology/digital proposition
  • Global scalability potential
  • Team (must be more than one person)
  • Should be at pre-seed stage


We are looking for smart new business ideas among Ireland’s early-stage technology entrepreneurs. Convince us that your business idea is the next big thing and you will receive support to develop your business idea from concept to pitch.

Twelve companies have been selected to participate on four pre-acceleration workshops. At the finale, our judging panel comprising leading entrepreneurs, executives and investors, will select the winner and runners-up.


Hannah Brogan

Communications and Events Executive

The Ireland Funds Ireland

Denshaw House, 121-122 Baggot Street Lower, Dublin 2, Ireland

T - +353-1-662-7878

E - hbrogan@irelandfunds.org

Email Link


Applications closed

Important Dates

Wednesday 25 March 2020
The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition 2020​ finalists announced.

Workshop Days will take place and be hosted by the NDRC.

Workshop 1: Wednesday, 15 April 2020
Problem Canvas and Introduction to The Ireland Funds

Workshop 2: Thursday, 30 April 2020
Customer Validation

Workshop 3: Wednesday, 13 May 2020
Value Proposition + Market Opportunity

Workshop 4: Wednesday 27 May 2020
Pitch Preparation

Workshop 5: Wednesday 10 June 2020
Practice Pitch

Final Pitches: Tuesday, 23 June 2020

Business Plan Competition 2019 winner Aaron Hannon of Lily Devices with Bill McKiernan