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Invent is an annual competition that showcases and rewards local innovations and proof of concept ideas that have the greatest commercial potential

What is Invent?

Invent is an annual competition organised by Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland, that recognises and rewards local innovations and proof of concept ideas that have the greatest commercial potential.

Invent is an opportunity to gain high profile exposure, to validate your idea, to unlock a quality network of influencers and to win a share of the £47,000 prize fund. If you have come up with an innovative product or solution that you are passionate about then this is the competition for you.

Applications for Invent 2021 are now closed.

Meet our #INVENT2021 Finalists!

10 companies have made it through the semi-finals and to the next final stage of the competition.


An innovative cancer treatment technology company has been named as the overall winner of the 2021 Northern Ireland INVENT Awards.

INVENT shines a light on the creativity of local entrepreneurs who are at an early stage of developing their business, with 10 finalists chosen to compete for the main prize at a showcase event in the ICC Belfast. The final was attended by a live audience and streamed online after being delivered as an entirely virtual event last year.

The overall winner, Stim OxyGen, took home a prize package of £26,000 from a total prize fund of £47,000.

Stim OxyGen’s technology enhances the effects of cancer treatment by overcoming the problem of hypoxia in solid tumours. It uses oxygen generating nanoparticles to generate transient oxygen within solid tumours and has the potential to improve the efficacy of many cancer treatments and transform patient outcomes across the world.

Read the full story here.

Invent Categories

This year, finalists' innovations will fit into one of the following five categories:

  • Greentech – Products, solutions and tech that enable a sustainable future.
  • Health and Wellbeing – Improving the quality of life through pushing the boundaries in life sciences, med tech and health promotion.
  • Product – A physical product designed and fabricated to offer the consumer or business a novel innovative solution.
  • Business Software – Computer software products or solutions used to satisfy the needs of an organisation rather than individual users.
  • Consumer Software – Consumer software is a class of commercial software that is sold directly to end-users as opposed to businesses.

Invent improved Movetru’s credibility by vetting our development by industry experts. The business pitches and interviews highlighted any areas of the business that we could enhance which has been an amazing benefit long-term. Our relationship with Catalyst has continued and will continue to develop. We learnt so much from Invent and created long-term relationships across various sectors. Invent is an amazing journey that I would recommend for anyone ready to push their business!

Naomi McGregor, Movetru - Invent 2020 Category Winner

The Invent journey gave me the confidence to take my product to the next step. The help provided by both the mentors and competition organisers was phenomenal. Invent is a fabulous opportunity, it allows you to meet and engage with other entrepreneurs while developing your communication and business skills along the way. From the initial application through to the final awards night, the competition is well organised, packed with useful workshops and mentoring sessions, it is an extremely worthwhile experience and one that I am glad to be part of.

Bridgeen Callan, Klas PDT Technology - Invent 2020 Overall Winner

Headline Partner

Supporting Sponsors

Innovation Founder

Brendan Monaghan named as winner of the 2021 Innovation Founder Award

The founder of Belfast-based technology company Neueda, Brendan Monaghan, has been named as Catalyst’s Innovation Founder for 2021 by a panel of Northern Ireland’s most successful entrepreneurs.

Now in its 12th year, the Bank of Ireland UK sponsored Innovation Founder award celebrates Northern Ireland’s rich history of innovation and is awarded to a person who has achieved success in founding, leading or building a celebrated local innovative business.

Following a nomination process, Brendan was unanimously chosen by a panel of past winners of the Innovation Founder award. Previous winners of the award include John Rainey MBE, James Leckey, Martin Naughton KBE, Dr William Wright CBE, Dr Peter FitzGerald CBE, Tom Eakin, Dr Hugh Cormican, Prof John Anderson, Denis Murphy and Brian Conlon.

After a career working in software businesses including CEM Systems, BIC Systems and Kainos, Brendan and his co-founder David Bole started Neueda, a company which provides consultancy, analytics, training and software development to organisations across the public sector, utilities, financial services and the capital markets. Its customer base ranges from Dublin and London to Singapore and the United States.

The company grew from a startup based in Brendan’s house in 2006 into an organisation with a workforce of over 300 people, the majority of whom are based in Belfast. In June this year it was announced that Neueda had been acquired by Dublin-based software business Version 1.

Read the full story here.

Innovators Award - Invent 2020

Innovation Founders

Bloc Blinds ~ SureCert ~ Axial 3D ~ Dr Tara Moore Innovators Awardees 2020
Denis Murphy Innovation Founder 2019
John Rainey MBE Innovation Founder 2018
James Leckey Innovation Founder 2017
Martin Naughton KBE Innovation Founder 2016
Brian Conlon Innovation Founder 2015
Dr William Wright CBE Innovation Founder 2014
Dr Peter FitzGerald CBE Innovation Founder 2013
Tom Eakin Innovation Founder 2012
Dr Hugh Cormican Innovation Founder 2011
Prof John Anderson Innovation Founder 2010

Steering Team

Kerry McGarvey Catalyst
Clare Passmore Chair
Niamh Griffin Bank of Ireland UK
David Brownlee HSCNI
Paul McGuickin Carson McDowell
Bregeen Campbell Deloitte
John Macrae Ulster University
Jason Wiggins Queen's University Belfast
Neil Buchanan ECIT
Kathryn Laverty Cleaver Fulton Rankin
Kathleen Garrett Techstart NI
Lewis Loane Torann
Julie Gray ViperClip
Bridgeen Callan Klas PDT Technology
Michael Shaw RPS
David McHugh Seagate
Killian O'Rawe AllState
Kat Maguire Queen's University Belfast
Chris Shannon Ulster University

Meet your Invent Programme Manager

Kerry McGarvey

Programme Manager

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