Supporting Ireland — one entrepreneur at a time. connect 2018 • 44 The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition The Ireland Funds is committed to supporting Ireland’s economic recovery. The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition was found- ed by Bill McKiernan, The Ireland Funds America Board Member, and is modeled on a similar initiative run at Harvard Business School. The competition nurtures creativity and entrepreneurial skills amongst recent graduates and post-graduate students. On August 9th, the final of The Ireland Funds Business Plan Competition in partnership with Ireland’s National Digital Research Centre (NDRC), an early stage investor in tech companies, was hosted in Dublin’s Digital Quarter. Now in its sixth year, the compe- tition offers a top cash prize of €10,000 and an opportunity to pitch business ideas in front of leading entrepreneurs, executives and venture capitalists from the US and Ireland. The judging panel was made up of industry experts: Avril McHugh, Direc- tor of Global Marketing at Cpl Resources plc; Gene Murphy, Entrepreneur in Residence at Bank of Ireland; Dermot Casey, Investment Leader at NDRC; and Gareth Quinn, MD of Digital DNA. Dublin-based start-up Aurius won €10,000 in August of 2017. Aurius offers affordable, high-quality hearing aids paired with an app on a phone or tablet that allows users to tune the device at home. This breakthrough technology means that a visit to the audiologist is no longer required when common glitches occur, thereby saving the user both time and money. THE IRELAND FUNDS BUSINESS PLAN COMPETITION