Cork-based SmartRoutes took the top spot in a tightly-fought competition made up of some of the best start-ups from throughout Northern Ireland and the Republic and run by start-up platform Startacus.

It walked away with a cash prize of £3,000, as well as professional advisory services from, amongst others, KPMG, Kx Technology, Lanyon Communications and Startacus which together total £50,000.

Calvin O’Callaghan from SmartRoutes which took the top prize, said: “We’ve taken no formal investment onboard so winning the Ascend start-up competition will be absolutely massive in helping drive things forward for SmartRoutes.”

Second place was taken by Clare-based company Get the Shifts tech-centric staffing solution which is disrupting the Irish hospitality sector by supporting bars, restaurants, cafes, festivals, and other hospitality and events businesses to source experienced, temporary staff in their area on demand.