Shortlist of 18 announced for 'Irish Times' InterTradeIreland Innovation awards

Mon, Jan 23, 2012, 00:00

THE SHORTLIST for this year’s Irish TimesInterTradeIreland Innovation awards features 18 entries from established innovators, start-ups, public sector organisations and third-level spin-outs.

The finalists include ex-Stockbyte founder Jerry Kennelly’s latest venture, Tweak.com; a new product for the dairy industry from entrepreneur John Concannon’s JFC Manufacturing; a lingerie company from Barna, Co Galway; and a horticulturalist based in Co Wicklow.

Among the shortlisted firms in the research and development category is X-Bolt Orthopaedics for a surgeon-invented bolt device for use in hip operations; Wattics, a spin-out from the UCD Clarity Centre, has developed a new system that monitors energy consumption of individual electrical appliances; and Cellix, founded by former Trinity postgraduates, has developed a range of microfluidic drug-screening tools, including a new biochip used internationally for investigating malaria, sickle cell disease and stem cell research.

In the greentech category, Cynar aims to create up to 200 plants internationally to convert end-of-life plastics into useable fuels; Wicklow-based Nemos Horticulture has developed a new bio-insecticide product called SuperNemos, and Tyrone company Waste Systems has engineered two products for the waste separating and recycling industry.

The organisational system and process category features Galway electronics firm Amatech for its new laser technology used in the production process of electronic payment cards; Nubie.com, a website offering cloud-based software to guide start-ups through the maze of paperwork when getting set up; and Seachange, a Kildare firm that has developed a new system of managing on-site safety and reporting.

In the public sector category, An Bord Bia is shortlisted for its development of a system to calculate the carbon footprint of Irish beef farms; the Health and Safety Authority for its new online assessment tool for small businesses preparing both written risk-assessments and safety standards for their workplaces; and Mayo County Council’s Greenway project, which has created the first portion of the national cycle network, attracting 145,000 visitors to the route and supporting more than 90 jobs.

The three finalists in the service category are Safefood360, an online food safety management software solution; a new system from ThinkSmart Technologies offering meaningful business data based on public traffic flow; and Tweak.com, an online design and print offering for businesses.

Finally, in the product category, the three finalists are Gabriel Scientific, which has developed a bacteriological filter used in hermetically sealed cushioning and applied in pillows for the medical and hospitality sector; JFC Manufacturing’s new style of cubicle for dairy cows; and Embrace Design Innovations from Barna, Co Galway, which has developed a new form of bra support for use in lingerie, swimming and sports wear.

More than 430 initial registrations were received and 128 detailed entries were judged by an initial panel comprising Prof Frank Roche, director of UCD’s Smurfit Graduate Business School; Ruth Freeman, director of enterprise and international affairs at Science Foundation Ireland; Colin Ryan, senior manager at Accenture Ireland; Aidan Gough, strategy and policy director at InterTradeIreland; and this correspondent.

The final round of judging with presentations from each shortlisted firm takes place on February 8th.

The judges for this round are Chris Horn, founder of Iona Technologies; Barry Maloney of Balderton Capital; Ivan Coulter, founder of Sigmoid Pharma; Louise Phelan, vice-president of Paypal; Liam Nagle, group chief executive of Sisk; Liam Nellis, chief executive of InterTradeIreland; and Liam Kavanagh, managing director of The Irish Times.

The winners will be announced at a ceremony in the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin on February 28th.