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INVENT is an annual competition that celebrates our most exciting innovators and entrepreneurs, giving them an international platform and support to make the greatest impact.

The Catalyst Innovation Founder Award 2023

Our Innovation Founder award is given to a local innovator who has successfully pushed the possibility of their business idea beyond boundaries. Our Innovation Founders are all testament to the fact that in Northern Ireland and the North West region of Ireland, we are as capable as anywhere in the world at creating outstanding breakthrough businesses.

We need to build new heroes. We have a number of individuals who have founded significant innovation driven businesses who have received little or no recognition. The Innovation Founder Award is designed to annually promote the awareness, importance and status of founders.


The guidelines are intentionally loose to allow maximum discretion to the judging panel. The criteria for the Innovation Founder award are:

  • The nominee has made an innovative breakthrough that has resulted in a huge benefit to society.
  • The nominee must have founded a corporation to commercialise it; or
  • The nominee founded an innovation driven business that is a large employer in Northern Ireland or the North West region of Ireland.

What is INVENT?

INVENT is an annual competition organised by Catalyst with headline partner Bank of Ireland, that celebrates our most exciting innovators and entrepreneurs, giving them an international platform and support to make the greatest impact. 

Applications for INVENT 2023 have now closed.

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.

Who should apply?

Apply for the programme if:

  • You have an innovative solution to a problem.
  • You’re a student completing a course project that you know is the next big thing.
  • You have been working on cutting edge research and now want to commercialise.
  • You have a side project and are ready to take the next step.

Now is the time to put your innovation in the spotlight!

Why apply?

By applying for INVENT, you will:

  • Market validate your idea
  • Unlock a quality network of like-minded peers and mentors
  • Fuel your growth
  • Get support with your pitch
  • Gain high profile exposure and recognition
  • Be in with a chance of winning a share of the £50,000 prize fund

Find out more about why you should apply for INVENT 23.

INVENT Terms and Conditions.

Applications for INVENT 2023 have now closed.

Competing in the INVENT competition helped me to grow myself and my business. It introduced me to the Catalyst community and the supportive people who helped refine my pitching, giving me financial planning skills and business mentorship. Winning INVENT has put Vikela out there and given me so many contacts that can help grow the business in the future at a speed that wouldn’t be possible if I hadn’t applied.

Peter Gilleece, Vikela Armour - INVENT 2022 Overall Winner

Winning INVENT was amazing because it really got our company name out there. It made people interested in StimOxygen and it’s given us a chance to communicate our science in a way that everybody can understand. Anybody who’s thinking about entering INVENT this year I would tell them to go for it because I had an amazing experience. The help, mentoring, and support you receive throughout the competition is second to none. It also gives you a great challenge to condense your story into three minutes to communicate it in the most effective way you can.

Sian Farrell, StimOxyGen - INVENT 2021 Overall Winner

Headline Partner

Innovation Founders / Impact Award Winners

Martina Tierney Impact Award 2022
Brendan Monaghan Innovation Founder 2021
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

Meg Magill Catalyst
Clare Passmore Chair
Colin Crangle Bank of Ireland
David Brownlee HSCNI
Bregeen Campbell Deloitte
Jason Wiggins Queen's University Belfast
Neil Buchanan ECIT
Lewis Loane Torann
Julie Gray ViperClip
Bridgeen Callan Klas PDT Technology
Michael Shaw RPS
Kat Maguire Queen's University Belfast
Emma Donnelly Ulster University
Kathryn Laverty Carson McDowell
Treena Clarke Harbinson Mulholland
Jonathan Wallace Ulster University
Tina O'Donnell Seagate

Meet your INVENT Programme Manager

Meg Magill

Meg Magill

INVENT Programme Manager

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