Agri-tech innovations at National Ploughing Championships

Today, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD announced the winners of the 2016 Innovation Arena Awards sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Irish Farmers Journal and the National Ploughing Association. The awards recognise innovative agri-tech capability and new product development in the agriculture sector.

A record 195 applications to exhibit were received with 68 exhibitors selected, all of whom are finalists in the Awards competition. Of these, eight are spinout research projects, 12 are established companies and 48 are new start-up entrepreneurial led exhibits. Entries were sought outside of Ireland for the first time this year and entrants from the UK and New Zealand are also participating at this year’s event.

The total prize fund this year is in excess of €70,000, including a top prize worth over €15,000 to the most innovative start-up.

Overall Winner & Category Awards:

Agri-Engineering Start-Up
Gold Medal – Eurotec Designs
Silver Medal – EcoVolve
Agri-Engineering Established Company
Gold Medal – Major Equipment
Silver Medal – Rota Spiral
Sustainable Agriculture Start-Up
Gold Medal – MicroGen Biotech
Gold Medal – MagGrow
Silver Medal – Eirechrom
Sustainable Agriculture Established Company
Gold Medal – NutrioBio
Agri-Technology Startup
Gold Medal – Firmwave
Silver Medal – Farmflo
Agri-Technology Established Company
Gold Medal – Forcefield Active
Silver Medal – Herdwatch Ring Side
Overall Startup Winner (drawn from above)
Eurotec Designs

General awards:
Research Emerging from 3rd Level
Gold Medal – Tyndall National Institute
Innovation Arena Machine of the Year
Eurotec Designs
Design Partners Award
Safety Award
Gold Medal – OCE
Silver Medal – Joseph Hyland
Young Innovator
Patrick Lane
International Gold Medal
Cross Agri Engineering
Special Awards

Alfred Cox Founder’s Cup Perpetual Trophy, recognising his contribution to the agri-engineering industry – Eurotec Designs

Anna May McHugh Female Leadership in Agriculture Perpetual Trophy – Clodagh Cavanagh, Abbey Machinery

Announcing the winners, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD said: “The agriculture sector is of huge importance to the Irish economy providing employment opportunities for over 250,000 people spread all around the country. It remains the heartbeat of the rural Irish economy, one that is clearly beating strongly as it embraces the future and we see it here in the range and quality of innovations on display at the Innovation Arena. I warmly congratulate the winners of these Awards and all of the companies exhibiting in the Innovation Arena and wish them success for the future.”

Denis Duggan, Enterprise Ireland said: “Enterprise Ireland has added a significant international dimension to the Innovation Arena this year with inward buyer visits from more than 15 countries including the US, Canada, Australia, China, Germany, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Poland, South Africa, Kenya and Ethiopia. The Innovation Arena is a strong reflection of the great possibilities that lie in the agricultural sector and we look forward to working with the Award winners as they start, innovate and scale their businesses, growing exports and creating jobs at home in Ireland”.

Anna May McHugh, Managing Director of the National Ploughing Championships (NPA) added: “The NPA has watched the Innovation Arena go from strength to strength over the last six years and we are delighted with its success. This is an excellent initiative that firmly focuses on agriculture in the future and is an exciting showcase for all the visitors to the National Ploughing Championships”.

James Maloney, The Farmers Journal said: “The Innovation Arena at the National Ploughing Championships is Ireland’s premier agri-technology showcase and the Irish Farmers Journal is delighted with the response to this year’s competition. It is great to see farm inventors, start-ups and existing businesses come together to one location with innovation in mind and gives us a good picture of the future possibilities for agriculture”.

Recognising the value and potential of the agri sector to drive economic growth and export sales, Enterprise Ireland’s new Agri Competitive Start Fund (CSF) of €500,000 opens for applications on Wednesday 21st September and closes on Thursday 6th October. The fund will provide up to €50,000 in equity investment to 10 successful start-up enterprises in the agri/manufacturing sectors.

The People’s Choice Award at the Innovation Arena will be announced on Thursday 22nd September – voting can be done online or through the Ploughing App.

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