Posted on Monday 17 February 2014 by Ulster Business

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Small private sector organisations will for the first time have the chance to enter a competition run by the Northern Ireland Science Park to find Northern Ireland's next generation of innovators.

NISP Connect INVENT 2014, formerly known as the 25k Awards, is described as an opportunity for anyone with an innovative idea, from farmyard inventors, to engineers, to dynamic research scientists and our high tech youth with new gaming or app ideas.

The six prize categories in the revamped awards include engineering, consumer internet, life & health, electronics, enterprise software and agrifood

Previously only opened to research institutions the awards will now be open to any private sector company with less than five full time employees or individuals with a breakthrough invention or concept. And a new prerequisite for entering the competition is that each organisation must have developed a basic digital or physical concept prototype that demonstrates the functionality and feasibility of the technology.

The challenge being laid down by NISP Connect is what innovations from today's Northern Ireland will be rememberd 100 years from now?

"We want people to release their inner innovation," said Steve Orr, Director of NISP CONNECT. "Many of the key advances in engineering, health and science originate from this tiny place. It's in our DNA, that's why we're calling out to all innovators and entrepreneurs across Northern Ireland to step forward and bring your innovation to life through INVENT!

"Our message is simple to everyone out there. If you think you've found a solution to an everyday problem, INVENT 2014 is here to help take it to the next stage, so please apply now"

Ian Sheppard Head of Business & Corporate Banking at the awards sponsor Bank of Ireland UK, added: "The Bank is delighted to continue to support this programme as it evolves into INVENT 2014, which will harness ingenuity across the public and private sectors in Northern Ireland.

"The introduction of the new categories in agri-food and software enterprise, both of which have significant local businesses, are already re-inventing our local economy.

"Northern Ireland's economic growth and competitiveness depend on its capacity to innovate, as supporting creativity and innovation will create jobs and industries of the future."

The online application process opened today at and will close on April 4.

With direct input and expert advice from some of Northern Ireland's top business mentors and like-minded innovators and entrepreneurs, coupled with a £33,000 prize fund, the INVENT2014 Awards are Northern Ireland's biggest and brightest opportunity to make an inventive idea become commercial reality.



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