Local projects will benefit from an injection of funding to the tune of € 1,151,960 following the third call of the Regional Enterprise Development Fund according to Minister of State for Tourism and Sport, Brendan Griffin, TD.
“I’m delighted to see Firies Business Hub and Kerry Sci -Tech have been successful and will receive grants of €1,271,960 under the regional fund,” said Minister Griffin.
“The fund is designed to back projects that support job creation and I am delighted to see our local area benefit in this way,” he said.
The Allocations are as follows: Firies Business Hub DAC: Stream 1. Location / Region – Kerry, South West
Approved Grant: €1,151,960
About the Kerry Hub
The ‘Kerry Food Hub’ is a not-for-profit community project located in Firies, Co Kerry.
The Hub was purpose-built on a greenfield site to provide food production facilities to start-up entrepreneurs and small but growth-oriented food businesses seeking the opportunity to expand and develop.
The Hub currently has 100% occupancy. Current tenants range from Contract Food Producers to Private Label Artisan Producers targeting the retail market and employing 35 people such as;
- Bally Goats Cheese – Private Label – Retail
- Ballyhar Foods – Contract production – Food service.
- Fruity Farm – Contract production – Food service
- Leen’s Salads / Krave Lunches – Private Label – Retail.
On-Line Sales Tools
This project entails the expansion to the current facilities, plus the development of a new online sales tool designed to provide greater connectivity between the local/regional Artisan producers and buyers in one of their key target markets.
The expansion will go from 4 x 1000 sq. ft units to 10 units with an addition of 6,000 sq. ft. – all of which will be food production grade incubation spaces.
€10m in Yearly Food Sales
The second element of this proposal involves the development of an online e-commerce Artisan marketplace designed to connect both the Hub-based and regional artisan suppliers to key hotel buyers in Killarney.
Killarney has one million visitor nights per year and sells €10m in food each year. This on-line tool will be a Cloud-based system, browser-accessed and fully scalable.
Starred Hotels and Restaurants
It is a B2B marketplace which will be built on a platform provided by leading B2B solutions provider, Magento.
Detailed discussions and agreements to use the system have been completed with a range of four and five star hotels and restaurants in the town who are seeking differentiated product offerings from a single source.
Firies Community Food Enterprise & Innovation CLG; The Kerry Food Hub; Taste Kerry – Regional Food Network; Kerry County Council; Kerry Local Enterprise Office; Kerry Group Plc; Institute Of Technology Tralee; Killarney Technology Innovation Centre; University College Cork; Food Training Unit Cork Institute Of Technology; Taste Cork – Regional Food Network; NEWKD; Bally Goats; Ballyhar Foods; Leens Salads; Fruity Farm; Killarney Hotels; Clann Credo; Ring of Kerry Quality Lamb – Logistics partner; Justcooking.ie and Ruralfoodskillnet.
Kerry Sci-Tech CLG: Stream 3
Location / Region – Kerry, South-West – Approved Grant: €120,000
This project is an expansion of an original approval under Call One of the REDF which has been very successful in delivering a strong local cluster of companies who have a shared purpose in attraction and retention of science and technology talent to the region.
It’s a bottom up response to the global ‘STEM skills deficit’ which is impacting economic development in a rural regional constituency. It is building on the ability of the regional cluster to successfully mobilise stakeholders for productive collaboration to-date.
The promoters have leveraged the resources and expertise of a group of individuals and companies whose active participation in and association with the project will significantly increase its chances of success.
Currently there are almost 45 member companies within the cluster such as: Portable Medical Technology; Sort My Books and CodePak, Kerry Sci-Tech has also expanded their membership to companies who operate in the wider region like Kostal who have operations in both West Limerick and North Cork.
IDA Supported Jobs
Since previous REDF funding and appointment of cluster manager, this project has delivered in members and member subscriptions, having grown to 45 companies, with a target of 60 companies set for 2020.
Minister Griffin added, “This news comes at a time when we now have the highest number of IDA-supported jobs in the regions ever.
“Under the third call of the REDF, applications were invited to submit proposals under three Streams:
- Strategic Change Projects – grant funding of €500k up to €5m;
- Regional Strengthening Projects – grant funding of €100k up to €500k; and
- Enterprise Clustering Projects – grant funding of €50k up to €350k.
Multi-Stage Evaluation Process
“The successful projects were selected through a rigorous multi-stage evaluation process managed by Enterprise Ireland, based on criteria which included: impacts and value for money; collaboration and participation; viability and sustainability; building regional strengths; and significance for innovation.”
“The projects we are funding today are at the cutting edge of innovation. I am confident that they have the potential to make a real and lasting impact on enterprise development at both regional and national level,” said Minister Griffin.