Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton TD, today (Tuesday 22 September) announced the winners of the Enterprise Ireland Toplink.ie Innovation Arena Awards at the National Ploughing Championships in Ratheniska, Co. Laois. With a competition structure that supports Irish innovation and ingenuity at all levels, the Awards recognise and reward outstanding innovation in the agricultural sector.
This year’s competition attracted 170 entries – over double the number of entries submitted last year. 54 were shortlisted as 2015 finalists and invited to exhibit in the Innovation Arena. Organised by Enterprise Ireland in cooperation with the National Ploughing Association and the Irish Farmers Journal, the Innovation Arena is the ideal place to showcase ground-breaking agri-related developments, whether they are backyard inventions or professional innovations, to the thousands of visitors the National Ploughing Championships attract each year.
The overall winner of the Innovation Arena Award is Dairymaster’s Swiftflo Commander.
The category Award winners are:
- Cross Agri Engineering - Agri Engineering Award winner in established company category
- Malone Engineering - Agri Engineering Special Merit Award winner in established company category
- Acres Machinery - Agri Engineering Award winner in start-up company category
- Reproinfo - Animal Health Award winner in established company category
- Hydrasure - Animal Health Award winner in start-up company category
- Remoquip - Safety Award winner in established company category
- Inspect 4 Hoof Trimming - Safety Award winner in start-up company category
- Dairymaster – Software Award winner in established company category
- DIT Hothouse – Software Award Special Merit winner in established company category
- True North Technologies - Software Award winner in start-up company category
- AgManor - Software Award Special Merit winner in start-up company category
Announcing the winners, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton TD said: “The agri-food sector is of huge importance to the Irish economy and a key part of the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs. In the last four years we have seen major jobs growth across the sector. To sustain and build on this growth we have put in place a range of measures to support more people to start and expand businesses in this area. The range and quality of innovations on display here in the Innovation Arena is hugely encouraging. The calibre of the award winners is extremely high and bodes well for the future of the agri sector in Ireland. I warmly congratulate the winners of these Awards, and indeed all the companies exhibiting in the Innovation Arena, and wish them success for the future”.
The 2015 NPA Innovation Arena prize fund now totals over €65,000 in supports. The overall award winner received a top prize worth €15,000 from Enterprise Ireland and The Irish Farmers Journal which includes advertising and PR support, mentoring and a cash prize of €5,000. All finalists received €500 worth of www.toplink.ie advertising vouchers to promote their innovation through the Irish Farmers Journal.
The winner of the Young Innovator Bursary to visit Agritechnica in Hannover, Germany in November 2015 will be announced on Thursday by EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development, Phil Hogan.
Justin McCarthy Editor and CEO of the Irish Farmers Journal said: "The Irish Farmers Journal is thrilled with the response to this year’s competition and there is no doubt the Innovation awards will benefit all the entries, not just the winners. The Irish Farmers Journal is delighted to support our own native talent, and help them realise their full potential"
Anna May McHugh, the Managing Director of the National Ploughing Championship said: “The NPA are delighted to join forces again with Enterprise Ireland and the Farmers Journal for this year’s Innovation Arena. This is an excellent initiative as it provides entrepreneurs and innovators with an excellent opportunity to showcase their businesses to the huge crowds that attend the National Ploughing Championships every year”.
Denis Duggan, Regional Executive with Enterprise Ireland said: “Each year the Innovation Arena is going from strength to strength. This year we had 170 entrants for the Awards, and over 50 finalists exhibiting in the Innovation Arena. This is a clear indication of the level of innovation across the agri sector. Enterprise Ireland looks forward to working with the Award winners as they grow and develop their businesses”.
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