Kerry Food Hub to create 162 new jobs with expansion

Development will also contribute an estimated €9m in new income to Kerry economy

Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland.

Leo Clancy, CEO, Enterprise Ireland.

 

The Kerry Food Hub is to create 162 new jobs through the expansion of its innovation centre.

The centre, located in Firies, Co Kerry, will grow from four units to 14. Each unit is 1,000sq ft in size and the centre currently employs 35 people. The expansion will create 100 direct jobs and a further 62 indirect local jobs, according to the group.

The expansion will also contribute an estimated €9 million in new income to the Kerry economy over the next three years.

The not-for-profit community project was set up by local farmer David Gleeson in 2016. He founded a group of local social based entrepreneurs with the aim to enhance employment opportunities in the region and make the community it serves a “better place to live”.

It has purpose-built food production units provide start-up entrepreneurs and small food businesses the opportunity to expand and develop with access to food-production facilities.

“This major investment in the local economy signifies confidence within the indigenous artisan industry of Ireland,” said Mr Gleeson.

“Nurturing and developing embryonic food production talent to a point where that same talent can move onto bigger and better things is our goal. And to date we consider ourselves highly successful in achieving that goal.”

The group received €2 million in investment from Enterprise Ireland for the initiative.

“This investment will ensure the hub acts as a key source of employment within a local community that has experienced significant population growth but has lacked economic development,” continued Mr Gleeson.

“The Kerry Food Hub was established in 2016 and has had enjoyed 100 per cent uninterrupted occupancy since opening. While the activities over the past number years have worked as a very successful proof of concept, the future is extremely bright.

“Through the extensive expansion of the existing premises and the development of the B2B Artisan Marketplace, the board of local volunteers will aim to achieve their goal of encouraging and supporting local culinary talent.”