In the framework of Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy 2018, Enterprise Ireland allocated just under €2.5 million from the Regional Development fund to the BIA Innovator Campus project, an innovative regional food workspace infrastructure aimed to revamp the food sector in the West of Ireland.
Supported by Galway County Council and Teagasc, two of the four leading partners of the European Region of Gastronomy title year programme, BIA Innovator Campus will be a regional and national centre of excellence for the food sector that, capitalising on existing strengths, will address major challenges in the field, providing support to local businesses and fostering development throughout the food chain.
As a remarkable outcome of the successful cooperation developed among public, private, education and third sectors, an approach that lies at the basis of the Regions of Gastronomy Platform’s philosophy, the hub will offer support and services to all actors involved in the food-value chain, from producers and entrepreneurs to chefs and food scientists.
BIA Innovator Campus project fulfils one of the main focuses of Galway-West of Ireland’s bid for the European Region of Gastronomy title, namely Supporting SMEs & Innovation, providing facilities and a conducive environment for training, research, knowledge transfer, innovation, collaboration, and development, aimed to collect best practices and stimulate businesses growth.
CE of Galway County Council, Kevin Kelly affirmed that BIA Innovator Campus is “a key legacy project for the Galway-West of Ireland European Region of Gastronomy designation for 2018” and added that it “is an excellent example of how collaborative working adds value in achieving shared objectives.”
Director of Teagasc, Prof. Gerry Boyle commented that “Teagasc are delighted to welcome this funding for the BIA Innovator Campus proposal” which “offers a unique opportunity to link with and complement the national food programmes.”
Finally, Coordinator of Galway-West of Ireland, European Region of Gastronomy 2018, Elaine Donohue stated “I am delighted to see such a forward-thinking collaboration across such a wide range of partners” and highlighted that BIA Innovator Campus “is a wonderful legacy to have and will create a strong platform for supporting the talented producers in our region.”
The project, which involves a wide range of stakeholders such as Galway City Council and GMIT (Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology) to name a few, will start in 2018 and, within three years, it is expected to create more than 360 new jobs in over 40 businesses across the West of Ireland and support over 2,400 entrepreneurs and learners.
The European Region of Gastronomy Platform and Award aim to contribute to better quality of life in European regions, by highlighting distinctive food cultures, educating for better health and sustainability and stimulating gastronomic innovation. IGCAT (International Institute of Gastronomy, Culture, Arts and Tourism) organises the award with the support of European institutions.
IGCAT is a non-profit organisation established in 2012 working in the fields of gastronomy, culture, arts and tourism. Through its worldwide network of experts, IGCAT aims to empower local communities by guiding, facilitating, and supporting local leaders in cities, regions and cultural projects to understand the potential of their distinct food, culture, arts and sustainable tourism assets. IGCAT is the official secretariat for the Region of Gastronomy Platform and provides the European Region of Gastronomy Award, the European Young Chef Award and the Innovative Food Souvenir Award.