Meath Enterprise History
The Navan Enterprise Centre Company was incorporated in 1998 by Meath County Council to take ownership and manage the redevelopment of the underutilised Navan Exhibition Centre which was built in the early 1980s to support and promote Navan’s hugely successful furniture industry.
The original Navan Exhibition Centre, which was managed by the Navan Chamber of Commerce for just over 17 years, was a 38,000 square foot open plan warehouse facility that, along with the furniture exhibitions and trade fairs, would have hosted several major events from show jumping, cattle marts, election counts, music events such as the Status Quo concerts in 1982 and 1990 and an international boxing bonanza in 1983 between Ireland’s Featherweight sensation Barry McGuigan and Cameroons Sammy Meck.
Following its establishment in 1998, when seed capital from Meath County Council and Navan Town Council along with grant aid from Enterprise Ireland and Meath County Enterprise Board got the project started, the Navan Enterprise Centre Company’s primary focus was to develop good quality and affordable workspace that would enable new and/or existing SMEs to grow while also promoting entrepreneurship and economic development in Meath.
Today, almost 25 years later, the Meath (Navan) Enterprise Centre is the largest regional enterprise hub in Ireland with an impressive 85,000 square foot of professional office, light industrial, manufacturing, research and training spaces available to support Social Enterprises, Startups and SMEs across multiple sectors such as food, agtech, life sciences, robotics, machine learning, digital media, creative industries, construction, pharmaceuticals and professional services to name but a few.
The Navan based SuperHub, which is managed by Meath Enterprise, is currently home to a daily workforce of almost 300 people and these impressive jobs numbers are expected to increase significantly with addition of the new 10,000 sq. ft Boyne Valley Food Hub in 2022 and the proposed development of a new 30,000 sq. ft Digital Innovation & Smart Agri Hub which is expected to commence in 2023.
Meath Enterprise also manages the Kells Enterprise & Technology Centre (opened in 2007), Kells Tech Hub (launched in 2018), Dunshaughlin Enterprise Hub (launched in 2021), is progressing plans to develop a new Digital / Remote Working Hub in Slane and is leading the delivery of the Boyne Valley Food Innovation District project across the Mid-East Region as part of the Governments Regional Enterprise Plan 2022-24.
In 2014 Meath Enterprise launched Meath Enterprise Week (MEW) which takes place every November in partnership with Global Entrepreneurship Week (GEW). Through the delivery of business conferences, showcases, local enterprise events, seminars, workshops and webinars, MEW is an opportunity for all stakeholders in our entrepreneurial ecosystem to connect, innovate and succeed.
In 2014 Meath Enterprise also launched the MEW Student Enterprise Challenge which is an annual competition open to students of all secondary schools in Meath where students compete for the various awards such as Best Startup Business, Best New Business Idea, Best Pitch etc.
In 2016 Meath Enterprise delivered the inaugural Pipeline Innovators Summit, a week-long series of shared learning events and masterclasses between 100s of Irish and US startups and SMEs.
In 2018 Meath Enterprise helped launch the inaugural EO (Global) Accelerator in Ireland to support startups and SMEs from across the country to scale.
In 2019 Meath Enterprise funded and delivered Irelands first Startup Ecosystem Assessment and Development project for the Mid-East Region which was launched by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar in our Kells Tech Hub.
What we do….
Meath Enterprise is a commercially focused local government (Not-For-Profit) enterprise development company with a remit / mission to drive local, regional and national enterprise development through the provision of business incubation and support services, collaboration, clustering and creative thinking.
Meath Enterprise is developing and delivering various local, regional and national projects and initiatives that support the development of Startups and SME’s in Ireland such as;
- Startup & Micro SME Accelerators,
- Business Investor Networks,
- SME Scaling Programmes,
- Clustering, Incubation Services & Facilities
- Training & Mentoring Services,
- Enterprise Events & Networking Opportunities,
One of these projects, the Boyne Valley Food Innovation District (BVFID), aims to create a food cluster / network that will facilitate the scalable expansion of qualified Food Startups and SME’s into global market opportunities. The BVFID will find opportunities in global and emerging markets and then match these opportunities to indigenous Irish Food Startups and SME’s who have the capability and ambition to go global. We will then plug these companies into the system and manage their development to ensure success therefore creating a qualified pipeline of investable propositions for investors while also supporting long term sustainable economic development throughout all regions.
The BVFID project has the support of all the relevant local and national government agencies, research institutions, universities and food SME’s including Ireland’s Strategic Investment Fund (ISIF) who will potentially match fund viable projects and/or investable propositions that can have a significant regional economic development impact.
Meath Enterprise are also developing specific infrastructural projects, collaboration and training initiatives in the technology sector that will focus primarily on Food & Ag-Tech, FinTech, Digital, AR-AI, Blockchain, Robotics and Machine Learning while our business networks provide direct access to all other sectors nationwide.
Meath Enterprise are unique in their approach to supporting enterprise. We focus on finding solutions to problems that actually exist and we engage directly with global organisations to learn how-to based on global best practice.
Some of our global partners and collaborators include;
- Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN) – https://genglobal.org
- Startup Genome – https://startupgenome.com
- Kauffman Foundation – https://www.kauffman.org
- Entrepreneurs Organisation (EO) – https://www.eonetwork.org
Regional Development, Clustering, Rural Regeneration, Remote and Smart Working are just some of the important elements of the vital services we seek to provide across the County and beyond. These factors are changing the approach of government departments when it comes to making decisions on policy and funding, so it is very important that we, as an enterprise development vehicle representing all stakeholders in the region, have a strong voice that shows real leadership when it comes to tackling these issues.
Providing creative and innovative economic development options and solutions that can have positive long-term sustainable impacts on economic and social prosperity of the many rural and urban communities we support in Meath is a core part of why we exist. We want to develop long term relationships that are based on trust, a willingness to collaborate and an ambition to succeed. We believe, with the right partners, anything is possible, and we have a very open minded, flexible and entrepreneurial approach to doing business and driving regional development.