The Irish Times Innovation Awards, now in their 14th year, are open for entries for 2023! Find out the categories and how to enter below.
Applications are welcome from both public and private sectors across any one of the categories listed below.
- SUSTAINABILITY, sponsored by Skillnet Ireland: - Covering innovations in economic, environmental and social sustainability
- IT & FINTECH, sponsored by Mason Hayes & Curran - Covering innovations in hardware, software, security, telecommunications products and services, including the growth in technology in the financial services sector, particularly around payments and processing.
- LIFE SCIENCES & HEALTHCARE, sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland - Covering innovations in biology, biochemistry, microbiology, physiology, botany, zoology, and related medtech sectors.
- NEW FRONTIERS, sponsored by UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School - Covering any innovations that do not fall into any of the above categories, for example those in the area of social enterprise.
- FIRST TIME FOUNDERS - Covering innovations by first time founders across a variety of industry sectors.
- OVERALL WINNER - “INNOVATION OF THE YEAR” AWARD - The winner of this award will be chosen from the final 5 innovations in the categories above, by the judging panel. This category is not directly available for public entry.
How it works
Innovation can be complex but entry to the Innovation Awards is easy. Entries should be based on an operational, service or product innovation introduced into the target market in the period between September 1st, 2021 and September 21st, 2023. The innovation may be business and/or customer and/or society focused, and its impact should be proven and measurable in qualitative and quantitative terms. There is no fee to enter. The rest is up to you!
- Register your interest: To register for the competition, you need to provide us with some information about your organisation to ensure you are eligible. Once you have registered, you will be able to download your application form.
- Submit your application form: Once complete, you can email your application to firstname.lastname@example.org by no later than Thursday, September 21st, 2023.
- Selection process: After the closing date, all applications will pass through an initial screening process. They will then be read and marked by leading industry experts before the short-listed organisations are announced in October.
- Final judging process: Shortlisted organisations will be invited to present their innovation to our final judging panel on Thursday October 26th, 2023. All shortlisted organisations must be available to attend this presentation day. Further information on the details and timing for the day will be provided by October 10th.
- Awards ceremony: All shortlisted candidates will be invited to a networking and presentation event on Wednesday, November 15th, 2023 in CHQ. Further details on the even will be announced in due course.
The closing date for receipt of your completed application is Thursday, September 21st, 2023.
Hints & Tips
To assist you in making your application to the 2023 Awards, we have pulled together some hints & tips, which we hope will answer some questions you may have.
Category Selection - It may be the case that your innovation spans a couple of categories. If so, our advice is to select the category with the best fit for your Innovation. During the judging phases, if the judges feel that you would be better suited in another category, they will move your application and you will be notified of this change.
Presentation - Make sure your application is easy to read by trying to avoid industry jargon. You must attempt to keep the reader interested throughout the whole of the reading.
Remember the objective - Some applications in the awards process can lose valuable marks because they don’t fully and clearly explain their Innovation. This is your ‘shop window’, so make the most of it! Your objective is to clearly detail your innovation and highlight what is unique about it.
Keep it to an appropriate length - With several hundred applications to read through, it is important that you keep your application form concise and to the point. As a guide, answers to each question should be no longer than a maximum of 200-400 words.
Verification - Ensure that what you say in the application is correct, including any claims about patents or projected sales/deals. Use your prior trading experience, provide external data and research results to back up what you say.
What the judges are looking for
- Clarity - Remember that the judging panel is a mix of people from various walks of life and they may not be as well-read on your area as you are. Get someone outside your business to read through your application and point out any areas where it is unclear.
- Best on market - Clearly explain what makes your idea better than the rest on the market.
- Money matters - If you have financials and bottom line figures to back up your claims then don’t be afraid to include them.
- Jargon buster - In line with the clarity point, avoid getting caught up in either industry-specific or general management jargon. People associate its use with someone filling space because what they have to say doesn’t stand up on its own.
- Deadline time - Don’t leave the application to the last minute. Preparing it early leaves you time to get feedback from friends and make the best effort to get your points across.
Best of luck!