Athenry’s multi-million euro BIA Innovator campus is ready to move towards construction with the signing of the lease on the land for Teagasc to allow the project to proceed.
I have received confirmation of the signing of the lease by my ministerial colleague, the Minister for Agriculture Michael Creed TD.
This is great news and is part of the master plan for Athenry to realise its potential as a major food and tourism centre.
The BIA Innovator project received funding of €3,544,000 in February from the Rural Regeneration and Development Fund – a fund that is awarded by my Department, the Department for Rural and Community Development.
I expect construction of the BIA Innovator hub to move ahead now that all outstanding issues for the project have been resolved.
The Rural Regeneration Fund grant also provided for upgrades to Athenry town centre to create a new, dynamic public realm.
I am delighted that we are delivering on the commitment I negotiated in the Programme for Partnership Government to revive and rejuvenate our rural towns and communities.
As Minister of State in the Department of Rural and Community Development, I am determined to support improvement for all areas in Galway East and the wider county.
The BIA Innovator Campus will be a 24,000 sq ft centre for start-up food businesses and entrepreneurs.
It is expected to create 360 new jobs in 40 companies during its first three years of existence, along with 2,400 training places.
The campus will have four key components: BIA Obair will have 12 food-grade specialist production units; BIA Accelerate will include a Business Engagement Zone, a Business Information Centre and a Demonstration and Training Area, all aimed at supporting food businesses to grow and scale; Bord Eolas will be a dedicated learning environment aimed at providing specialist programmes for all those working in the food industry and will include a large demonstration kitchen and a Culinary Training Centre; and BIA Blas will provide a showcase for new product development, while delivering a fast network for trade buyers, suppliers and investors.