A new 20-acre site on the outskirts of Navan, Meath, is being billed as a hub that will be for food “what Silicon Valley is to technology”.
In an initiative driven by Meath Enterprise, with support from Meath County Council and several stakeholders, the Boyne Valley Food Hub aims to accelerate food innovation and research.
It will do so through collaborative partnerships to create scalable and sustainable food agribusinesses with growth and export potential.
‘The Boyne Valley Food Hub will be like the ‘dream team’, bringing the highest talent together from academia and industry to drive change and create innovation’
– MINISTER DAMIEN ENGLISH
The site, which is owned by Meath County Council, is close to the M3 motorway, and is 40 minutes from Dublin Airport and 45 minutes from Dublin Port.
The hub will be developed in four or five phases over the next 10 years, to include incubation space, outsourced food production, manufacturing and packaging facilities, industrial kitchens, centralised distribution and storage, a new product development and innovation centre, and a state-of-the-art research and development facility.
The hub’s aspirations were featured recently in the Financial Times’ Global Entrepreneur Network magazine.
Food for thought
“We are surrounded by eight of the country’s leading universities and a labour force of 910,000 people, all within a 45-minute radius,” says Gary O’Meara, manager at Meath Enterprise and project manager of Boyne Valley Food Hub.
O’Meara expects to have two or three anchor tenants confirmed within the next few months, including a food outsourcing manufacturer and an international food research and lab testing company.
“By developing a world-class infrastructure and fostering a world-class culture of collaboration, innovation and entrepreneurship, we create a platform for developing world-class companies.
“This is a fast-paced initiative with long-term benefits that could help harness the region’s strengths, build capacity and generate the critical mass needed to compete effectively and competitively on a national and global level.”
Meath County Council recently launched its Economic Strategy 2015-2022, with a key focus on ensuring more sustainable job creation while strategically positioning Meath as a hub for business, entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as a great place to live.
The project also has the support of the Minister for Skills, Research and Innovation, Damien English TD.
“The Boyne Valley Food Hub will be like the ‘dream team’, bringing the highest talent together from academia and industry to drive change and create innovation.”
Minister English said that he expects the Boyne Valley Food Hub to develop to become one of the existing national research centres, which are funded through Science Foundation Ireland, the Irish Research Council and Enterprise Ireland.
River Boyne image via Shutterstock