The recent extension to the Enterprise Centre and the subsequent expansion of the anchor tenant, which is a leading food outsource manufacturer, have paved the way for the creation of the Boyne Valley Food Hub (Food Innovation & Research Centre). This ambitious and innovative project, while still in its infancy, is a collaborative and strategic partnership between the Meath Enterprise Centre, Meath County Council, Epicom, local & regional SME’s and associations in the food sectors and some of Ireland’s leading educational institutions such as Dublin Institute of Technology (DIT).
The Boyne Valley Food Hub will strive to establish itself as a key food innovation and research hub in the region with a strong focus on helping;
- Farmers and Agricultural Cooperatives to create new businesses based on value- added agricultural products and/or develop new markets for their existing commodities
- Startup Food Companies to cope with challenges such as financing, technology, regulations, market development and infrastructure requirements
- Existing small and mid-size Food Companies seeking to access new technologies, upgrade quality assurance capabilities, enter new markets, train their workforce, and expand and improve their operations
- Retail and Foodservice Establishments seeking to improve their operations and purchase locally grown products
General household and commercial waste, water waste, water pollution, septic tanks, farming waste etc. can all have potentially adverse effects on the local environment and a costly impact on the local economy. These effects/impacts will determine in many respects the quality of our farmland and our water and this in turn has a direct effect on the quality of food we can produce or food businesses, start-ups or experts we can attract to the county and whether we can meet the required standards going forward.
Finding new and innovative ways of dealing with all these issues as well as assisting news food start-ups, educating and supporting existing businesses, working with colleges and so on is what the food hub should be all about.
There are over 400 farms in Meath. Increasing farming productivity while at the same time decreasing pollution will be a huge challenge but one we must meet head on if we are to compete or attract FDI to the county. We have to work harder and smarter with less money to spend, these are the harsh realities.
The Boyne Valley Food Hub will strive to find answers to these questions provided we get the support, cooperation and funding we need.
We can and should strive to become experts in food at local and national level but before we can do that we must engage with the experts on the ground and listen to their ideas and opinions so that we can begin to lay the foundations for the future.
Internship & Work Placement Programme
The aim of the programme would be to provide relevant industry recognized training and work experience to students and graduates interested in a career in the food industries. The programme would be innovation and research focused and would aim to establish the Meath Enterprise Centre as a key Food Innovation & Research Facility into the future.
All participants would receive HACCP and Manual Handling Training as standard as required and they would also receive training in project research, planning and presentation skills. On completion, graduates of the programme would be presented with a Certificate of completion along with the relevant HAACP & Manual Handling Certs. They would also receive an employment reference / letter of recommendation that could be used when applying for jobs in the future.
Meath Enterprise will be fully committed to developing strong links with the local business community in an effort to find placements for programme graduates. Meath Enterprise would also look to develop a network of potential employers throughout Ireland and abroad whilst establishing Meath as a centre of excellence for Food Innovation & Research and fostering the development of food hubs, clusters and new food start-ups throughout the County.