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[DUNBOYNE, Ireland] – The first Irish Alltech Innovation Competition 2013 saw six teams from five universities present business plans to a panel of judges, with the top prize awarded to the most viable venture. AgTech4, from the University of Limerick, won the overall prize of €4,000 with their personal gas detector, a device designed to detect poisonous gasses released from slurry on farms. This device has the potential to create jobs, bring business to Ireland and also to save lives across the globe.
Teams from the University of Limerick, Dublin Institute of Technology, University College Dublin, Dublin City University and Waterford Institute of Technology each presented a business plan for product or service of their own creation. Judges Frank Mulrennan, CEO of Celtic Media Group; Constantin Gurgiev, lecturer in finance from Trinity College Dublin and Declan Coyle, leadership consultant and director of Andec, were consistently impressed with the overall standard of the ventures.
Other business concepts included a custom car sticker company called Vinyl Styling; a compostable container for household waste called Tierrabox; an onsite test for pyrite in building materials called Silex; a BYO bottle filling station called Ishca, and a foot reviver from Synergy Foot Solutions.
The winning personal gas detector from AgTech4 is a portable device that can be strapped to the arm of a person going on-farm and will sound an alarm at in the presence of hydrogen sulphide and methane gas. These gasses are invisible and highly toxic, resulting in 23 deaths since 1996 and this device is sensitive enough to sound an alarm before any physical symptoms manifest.
“The range of ideas presented here was fantastic. All of these projects started with a serious problem and were combined with academic expertise to result in a product that is in some cases ready to go to market,” said Constantin Gurgiev. “If I had the funds in place I would have taken those ideas straight to pitch.”
Dr. Pearse Lyons found the overall competition encouraging, stating that “if we want hope for the future of our country all we have to do is look to the youth. If these young people are a reflection of the talent and potential that Ireland has to offer then we have nothing to worry about. This is where we need to put our investment and this is where the solutions will come from. This has been a fantastic start to Alltech’s Gathering initiatives and I wish the best of luck to all contestants in their future careers.”