In­ven­tors in awards in­vi­ta­tion

Belfast Telegraph - Business Telegraph - - News - BY MAR­GARET CAN­NING

NORTH­ERN Ire­land’s smartest in­ven­tors are be­ing called upon to en­ter this year’s In­vent awards pro­gramme.

And Skunkworks Surf Com­pany, which makes surf­boards, said its busi­ness had thrived since win­ning a cat­e­gory at the 2015 awards.

Its busi­ness de­vel­op­ment man­ager Ricky Martin said: “Win­ning our cat­e­gory in the In­vent com­pe­ti­tion was a wa­ter­shed mo­ment for Skunkworks. It def­i­nitely helped to speed up our suc­cess.”

In­vent is spon­sored by Bank of Ire­land UK — and re­gional di­rec­tor Ian Shep­pard said it strongly be­lieved in Cat­a­lyst Inc’s vi­sion of mak­ing North­ern Ire­land an en­tre­pre­neur­ial knowl­edge econ­omy.

He said he had felt in­spired by a tour of Skunkworks’ fac­tory on the north coast.

“They are one of many ex­am­ples of lo­cal in­no­va­tive en­tre­pre­neur­ial tal­ent with am­bi­tion out there to be dis­cov­ered and nur­tured, and I en­cour­age you to be­come part of this vi­brant com­mu­nity.”

Cat­a­lyst Inc said tak­ing part in the com­pe­ti­tion can of­fer high-pro­file ex­pen­di­ture, and val­i­da­tion of the mar­ket for your idea.

Win­ners can also take part in a tech mis­sion to Cal­i­for­nia, and a share of a £33,000 prize fund.

Philip Mcin­tosh of Jumpack won the award last year for his por­ta­ble skate­board jump.

He said: “In­vent was such an amaz­ing ex­pe­ri­ence for us and the en­tire jour­ney has proved to be so valu­able.

“We’re just home from the Tech Mis­sion trip to Cal­i­for­nia and the re­ac­tion to Jumpack was in­cred­i­ble.

“The process helped us to iden­tify, un­der­stand and ad­vance our busi­ness. I would en­cour­age any­one with an idea in de­vel­op­ment to en­ter In­vent, as it will ac­cel­er­ate your chances of suc­cess.”

For more in­for­ma­tion on In­vent 2017, visit www.in­vent2017.co.uk

From left, Ricky Martin of Skunkworks Surf Com­pany with Elaine Smyth of Con­nect at Cat­a­lyst Inc and Ian Shep­pard, re­gional di­rec­tor of Bank of Ire­land UK

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