Not even a pandemic can stop progress at the BIA Innovator Campus development in Athenry which is on track to open in Summer 2021. When complete, BIA Innovator Campus which is co-located at Teagasc, Athenry, will be the base for 40+ food companies creating 360 jobs and hundreds of trainee places.
Culminating three and a half years of a determined effort by the voluntary Board of BIA Innovator Campus CLG, the opening is in sight. Peter Feeney, Chairperson of the Board, pays tribute to the founders and funders that have invested in the future of food. “When we shared our vision for this project in Athenry in 2017, we were so encouraged with the reaction from the food sector. They told us they needed food-grade space to produce and grow their businesses. They needed food-specific technical support and business guidance in a more accessible way. COVID-19 has put the spotlight on our food sector and the critical supply chains from farm to fork. If anything, the demand for local, quality food has increased. With challenge comes opportunity. BIA Innovator Campus is ready to provide the infrastructure, the programmes and the community to help a new generation of food entrepreneurs and those who see the potential to grow their food businesses but lack the space to do so”.
Acting General Manager, Sarah Hanley explains “we all know that starting or growing a food business can be a daunting experience, but that’s where BIA Innovator Campus comes in. We are the first food infrastructure project in Ireland that clusters food sector incubation & innovation supports at one location. While our campus has three buildings spanning 2301 square metres (23,767 sq. ft) to support over 40+ food-related on-site food businesses, hundreds of others will use our facilities. We offer the base from which to reshape careers through upskilling in the food and hospitality sector, host and attend food tourism events and to connect to a community (our tribe) of food champions in Ireland West.”
Co-located with Teagasc, Mellows Campus in Athenry, Co. Galway, BIA Innovator Campus immediately connects into and benefits from an environment with a long and proud tradition of innovation, agriculture, rural development and rural sustainability which will further enhance the success and the job creation potential of BIA Innovator Campus. Adjacent to Galway Rural Development RD and the Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine, the Campus is excellently situated immediately adjacent to (2-3 km) of both the N6 (Galway to Dublin) and N17/18 (Limerick to Tuam) motorways, Athenry town (2km), Galway City (25km).
Elaine Donohue has several years of experience at senior management within the food industry, holding a first class honours degree in international marketing practice, Prince II project management, and a diploma in strategic growth for the food industry from Smurfit Business School in Dublin. She gained robust knowledge of the retail industry and its workings following her years with Lidl Ireland. She then developed an extensive international perspective from working for Bord Bia in its London office. Returning to Ireland, she worked commercially as a national account manager for Greene Farm Foods and Brady Family Ham, one of Ireland’s top 40 brands, managing both domestic and export channels.
Acting General Manager
Sarah Hanley joined BIA Innovator Campus as Project Coordinator in September 2020 describing the project as “a vital resource for Irish food producers and a once in a lifetime opportunity”. Sarah holds a B.A. International from NUIG and an MSc. Marketing Practice from UCD Smurfit Business School. Over the past eleven years Sarah has gained a wealth of experience working with multinational FMCG industry stalwarts including Molson Coors and Nestlé UK&I as well as some of Ireland’s strongest companies with Bord Bia, Italy.
Athenry, Co Galway
© BIA Innovator Campus 2020