There is one week remaining for agri-businesses to apply for the Enterprise Ireland Annual Innovation Arena Awards 2022, which will take place at this year’s National Ploughing Championship.

The deadline for businesses to apply is next Wednesday (June 1).

The competition was officially launched last month. This will be the first physical hosting of the awards since 2019, due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The competition is run in partnership with the National Ploughing Association (NPA) and is an annual competition that invites businesses in the agricultural technology sector to enter their products and services for consideration.

For the last two years, the awards have been held virtually. The competition, along with the ‘Ploughing’ itself, will return to its full-fledged version throughout three days in Ratheniska, Co. Laois from September 20 to 22.

There are a number of prizes across several categories, and those who are short-listed will have the opportunity to showcase their products and 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”.

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 the new ‘Terra’ range of granular nitrogen fertilisers from Target Fertiliser.

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; the Sustainable Agriculture Award; the Agri-Safety Award; and the Young Innovator of the Year Award.

Speaking at the time of the launch of the competition last month, 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,” the Tánaiste added.