Enterprise Ireland’s Annual Innovation Arena Awards 2022 have today (Monday, April 11) officially been launched, as the competition physically returns to this year’s National Ploughing Championship event in September.
The Innovation Arena Competition, which is run in partnership with the National Ploughing Association (NPA), is an annual competition that invites businesses and innovators in the agritech sector to enter their pioneering agri-related products and services for consideration.
For the last two years, the awards have been held virtually. However, this year will see the return of the ‘Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena’ at the three-day National Ploughing Championship, which is being held in Ratheniska, Co. Laois, from September 20- 22.
There are a number of prizes across several categories, and those who are short-listed will be invited to showcase their products and innovative agritech solutions at the ‘Enterprise Ireland Innovation Arena’, alongside the winners from the virtual competition in 2020 and 2021.
According to Enterprise Ireland, this country has a proud history in the agricultural sector, and now global agri-business leaders are increasingly turning to Irish ag-tech innovators for solutions.
At the Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championship, the future of Irish agritech will be on display, including a wide variety of future proofing solutions along with the latest advances in agri machinery, the organisation has said.
Innovators and entrepreneurs in the agriculture sector are now invited to submit applications, as the competition opened for entries today, with the closing date for applications for this year’s competition, June 1.
Last year’s competition attracted more than 50 entries, and the overall winner was Brandon Bioscience, from Co. Kerry, which developed a new seaweed-based bio-stimulant, which is used in a new Terra range of granular nitrogen fertilisers that improve sustainable farming.
The award categories in this year’s competition include the Established Company ‘Innovator of the Year Award’, the Start-up Company ‘Innovator of the Year Award’ 2022, the Sustainable Agriculture Award, Agri-Safety Award and Young Innovator of the Year.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar said: “The Innovation Arena Competition brings together some of the brightest minds in Ireland’s agricultural sector every year.
“I encourage all agri-innovators to enter and take advantage of this fantastic opportunity. Ireland is synonymous with agriculture, and it is our own entrepreneurs who are helping to shape the future of the sector.”
Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland, added: “We are delighted to launch this year’s competition and to return with our live arena at the National Ploughing Championships, the flagship event in the Irish agricultural calendar.
“Agriculture continues to be a key pillar in the Irish economy, and the Innovation Arena Competition showcases the leadership Ireland provides on creating solutions to global challenges and opportunities based on our deep heritage and entrepreneurial culture.”
NPA managing director, Anna May McHugh said: “We are delighted to be partnering with Enterprise Ireland again this year to see the return of the tremendously successful Innovation Arena.
“The Innovation Arena Awards at the National Ploughing Championships are a wonderful opportunity for anyone who has a good business idea, product or service to showcase at Europe’s largest outdoor event with approximately 300,000 visitors and international buyers from all over the world.
“Throughout the years, the Innovation Arena at ploughing has seen some of the most groundbreaking technologies and amazing cutting-edge ideas, with previous winners going on to have serious success in business both in Ireland and on the global stage.”