Galway facility can sate the palates of the world

For anyone who has studied the history of Galway over the past century, you will see therein a repeated window of opportunity which has either been grabbed with both hands (as in the case of our early cultural and artistic endeavours ) or frittered away (as was the case with our continuing failure to benefit from the proximity of the waters along which we live ).

Thankfully, this is a trend that is reducing and in recent times, we are taking on board a more holistic view of what it is to live and work and study and visit here, although at times, the lack of joined up thinking would frustrate.

However, thankfully, there are more and more times when it looks like we have finally delivered on projects that will take the best of what we have to offer and turn them into something that can define us.

Tomorrow morning, appropriately around the time for elevenses, An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar will be back in the area again when he launches the BIA Innovator Campus on the Teagasc Mellows Campus at Ballygarraun West in Athenry. It has been some week for Athenry — last week's Dexcom ground breaking kicks off what will be a fascinating new era of prosperity for the town.

With 1,000 jobs promised and 500 before that in construction, the bounce will be substantial, not just for Athenry but for the region which feeds into it. Tomorrow, that prosperity continues with the opening of the stunning new BIA Innovator Campus.

For those of you unfamiliar with this, the Campus is Ireland’s first National Centre of Excellence dedicated to supporting the Irish food industry from one central facility in Athenry, and has been completed following €8m plus of capital investment.

Designed to drive regional and national growth in Ireland’s agri-food sector, the BIA Innovator Campus will facilitate the launch and development of new and existing food businesses at all stages of their entrepreneurial journey, from product development and securing investment to identifying export opportunities and business collaboration across the island of Ireland.

The impressive new state of the art campus, which spans over 23,000 square feet, is the first of its kind in Ireland and is home to 12 own-door starter units and four high-tech incubation spaces for dairy, meat, seafood and multi-product businesses to facilitate go-to-market product development.

In addition to the physical day to day production spaces, the BIA Innovator Campus also provides a potent mix of technical, innovation, and commercial supports to the food community in the form of a 60-seat auditorium with demonstration space, a 16-station Culinary Training Centre, 12 hot desks to allow BIA tenants and non-tenants to work remotely, a Buyer Showcase room and a range of meeting spaces available for rent to tenants and non-tenants alike.

It will become a go-to for the top buyers from the food emporiums and supermarkets of the world and it will be located here in the heart of our own county. Hopefully, its proximity will inspire more innovation among students and entrepreneurs.

Good luck to all who will innovate within.


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