List of Grantees

The Ireland Funds are strategically placed to ensure that grant recipients utilize resources efficiently. Our grant process ensures clear objectives with measurable results. We support vital work by determining the areas with most need and working with donors where their gifts can be most effective. Examples of some of the over 3000 projects we have assisted are below.


The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition

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The Ireland Funds have a long history of supporting excellence and addressing need in Ireland. Now in its fifth year, The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition aims to nurture creativity and hone entrepreneurial skills amongst recent graduates and post-graduate students – the early stage entrepreneurs who play a crucial role in developing indigenous industries, attracting investors and, ultimately, creating jobs across Ireland.

Candidates will have an opportunity to develop their business ideas and compete for a chance to win up to €16,000 in cash prizes and other supports.

Business Plan Competition is now closed for entries.

Thank you.

General Guidelines and Eligibility

The Competition is open to undergraduate and post-graduate students and to recent graduates (those within two years of graduation) from universities and institutes of technology in Ireland and Northern Ireland.


The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition is made possible through the generous support of William (Bill) S. McKiernan, founder of CyberSource Corporation. Bill is an online commerce pioneer who propelled CyberSource to a leading world company, processing over $100 billion each year for 300,000 customers. In 2010, CyberSource was acquired by Visa, Inc. for $2 billion. Bill is Chair of the judging panel for The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition, bringing his experience as a entrepreneur and as a judge of the Harvard University Business Plan Competition.

We are also very grateful to the following individuals, who have previously served as judges for the inaugural Competition, bringing a wealth of experience in a wide range of industries and markets.

  • Bill McKiernan – Founder of Cybersource - Co-Chair
  • Alan Foy – Blueface, Ireland’s leading cloud telephony company
  • Angela Moore - Ravendale Capital
  • Anne O'Leary - Kinematik 
  • Declan Ryan - Irelandia
  • Ian Hyland - Business & Finance
  • Jack McDonnell – Founder of Transaction Network Services (TNS)
  • Jerry Kennelly – Founder of Stockbyte and of
  • Joanne Stuart – Director at Northern Ireland Science Park
  • John Duffy – Keefe, Bruyette & Woods (KBW) Global Investment Bank
  • John Hartnett – Irish Technology Leadership Group
  • John Ryan - Co-Founder of Rovi Corporation (formerly Macrovision Corp)
  • Marie O'Connor - PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
  • Marty Mannion – Summit Partners
  • Moya Doherty – Tyrone Productions
  • Padraic Brennan - Bank of Ireland (Business Banking Development Team)
  • Rory McInerney – Intel
  • Shane Naughton - Technology Entrepreneur 
  • Shay Garvey - Frontline Ventures


Dublin, Google EMEA Headquarters, Wednesday 23 June 2016


The winner was Sothic Bioscience, and the award was accepted by founders Stephen Greary and Piotr Jakubowicz.
Sothic Bioscience’s co-founder Stephen Greary impressed the judges with an excellent pitch on Sothic’s flagship product, LimuleXTM. The pharmaceutical and medtech regulated industries rely on strict Quality (including pyrogen) testing. Testing using a reagent called L.A.L. (limulus amoebosyte lysate), derived from the blood of the Horseshoe Crab, is the backbone of pyrogen testing globally. The growth in pyrogen testing demand provides both a threat to the Horseshoe Crab population disruption to the supply chain. The Atlantic Horseshoe Crab is on the conservation Red List, they cannot support the growth and demand for L.A.L.

Stephen and his co-founder Piotr Jakubowicz expressed their pride at winning the award saying, "Winning this year’s Ireland Funds’ Business Plan Competition will have a transformative effect on our business. The money will allow us to jumpstart our Intellectual Property strategy as well as our R&D internally." Report and photos

Killarney, June 18, 2015


It was announced today that Belfast tech start-up Ivea Labs has won €10,000 as part of the annual Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition for their product Visit, a dual-aspect technology solution that will change the way tourists interact with exhibitions.
Specifically targeted at Northern Irish tourism, Visit’s appeal is two-fold: it will allow tourists to receive free information about a piece in an exhibition directly to their phone via Bluetooth but more importantly it will allow attraction owners to gather accurate visitor analytics in a non-intrusive way. The group, made up of Andrew Boyd, Victoria Potts, Adam Whiteside and Alex Caskey are from Queen’s University Belfast.
The judging panel at the competition included Fergal Mullen of Highland Capital Europe, Marie O’Connor of PwC Ireland, Alan Foy of Blueface and Neil O’Herlihy of Google.
Chair of the judging panel and founder of CyberSource Corporation Ltd, Bill McKiernan said, "It’s always an honour to come to Dublin to see these compelling and diverse business plans and pitches.

I’d like to congratulate all of the finalists for displaying such an innovative and entrepreneurial flair in each of their ideas. Backing this energy and offering practical support is crucial to seeing these young people reach their full potential."




Belfast, June 18, 2014


Alexandra Milne has won the top prize of €10,000 for her business Little Deli, in The Ireland Funds’ third annual Business Plan Competition, hosted by Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) CONNECT in Belfast. Little Deli is a solution that lets customers easily and efficiently pre-order and pre-pay for their lunch from local delis and cafes, at their own convenience. The first and second runners-up were awarded money of €5,000 and €1,000 for their business ideas.

The competition is modeled on a similar initiative run at Harvard Business School and aims to nurture creativity and hone entrepreneurial skills amongst recent graduates and post-graduate students.  

The four finalists from Belfast, Dublin and Cork were among 15 teams to complete a training programme that helped them develop their business ideas and create a competitive pitch. The four young entrepreneurs then pitched their ideas to a judging panel of business leaders, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs in the competition. 


We are happy to come and talk to students and alumni groups whose members may be interested in applying to The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition. If you want to learn more, contact us at the details below.



Harvard University Business Plan Competition – Check out the resources listed in the far right column

The UC Berkeley Start Up Competition Resources Page – UC Berkeley operate a similar competition and have compiled numerous resources for interested applicants.

Visit us online at: 




Key Dates 2016

7 March 2016
Launch of 2016 Business Plan Competition
7 April 2016
Apply online until 7 April 2016
5 May 2016
Workshop: Developing a winning pitch with Stillwater Communications
6 May 2016
Workshop: Developing your business idea with The Innovation Academy, UCD
7 June 2016
Semi-final will select the  3 best pitches to progress to the final
22 June 2016
The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition Final

Please note: While workshops are optional to attend, we strongly encourage shortlisted candidates to do so whenever possible.

Training workshops provided in association with: