Food innovation centre The Kerry Food Hub has completed the installation of 10 1,000 sq ft food grade production units and launched artisanmarket.ie, its multi-vendor online marketplace for artisan producers and professional buyers as part of a €2m investment.
The 10 units are part of the hub’s ongoing expansion, and include four existing production units that employ 40 people across four local food producers. The hub has enjoyed 100% occupancy since it opened in 2016.
The expansion will allow new food entrepreneurs to enter the market and established brands to scale up, and it is expected that it will deliver 162 local jobs and an estimated €3m in new income to the Kerry economy.
David Gleeson, founder and chairman of the Kerry Food Hub, said, “this considerable investment in the local economy and the online platform signifies confidence within Ireland’s indigenous food artisan industry. The €2m investment ensures that The Kerry Food Hub will be a crucial source of employment within our local community. The platform offers the opportunity to re-think how we support our local food producers, providing a sharper focus on what consumers and visitors want to experience, great local food.”
“Without the investment from Enterprise Ireland, the local community, North East West Kerry Development, Kerry County Council, Kerry Group, and Clann Credo, we would not be here today. We are truly grateful for their unwavering trust and belief in the project.”
The project is supported by the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment through Enterprise Ireland, with Minister of State for Business, Employment and Retail Damien English commenting that he is delighted by the expansion and the launch of the website, saying, “the Kerry Food Hub, which secured over €1.2m in funding from my Department through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund and Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme, is an example of one of the many enterprise initiatives the Government is supporting throughout the country.”
“The South West Regional Enterprise Plan to 2024, under the stewardship of Patricia Quane, covering counties Cork and Kerry is a bottom-up Plan which is responsive to the opportunities and needs of the region and focuses on regional collaboration. Kerry Food Hub is an example of the power of that collaboration, and I hope and expect that it will inspire similar initiatives in the region.”
Jerry Moloney, regional director for the mid-west & regional programmes at Enterprise Ireland, said, “a key focus for Enterprise Ireland is fostering regional entrepreneurship and job creation and we are proud to have supported this expansion project through the Regional Enterprise Development Fund (REDF) and the Regional Enterprise Transition Scheme (RETS).”
“This important regional project will deliver a key piece of infrastructure for the South-West which will help new food entrepreneurs to enter the market and established brands to scale up, while also creating more than 120 new jobs in the region and contributing an estimated €3 million in new income to the local economy. We wish the entire team at Kerry Food Hub every continued success in this new chapter.”
Source: Business Plus