A DOZEN new business incubation units are to be established in Co Cork to help promote the indigenous food sector.
The units will be provided by Cork County Enterprise Boards in conjunction with the county council and will be located in Carrigaline, Fermoy, Skibbereen and Ballincollig.
Fitted to Irish and EU food safety standards, the facilities are 1,000 sq. ft each and will be rented at below market rates to 12 short-listed food businesses.
The chosen small and medium enterprises will also benefit from intensive business mentoring in order to maximise their sales and expansion potential.
West Cork Enterprise Board chief executive Michael Hanley said the food industry is a crucial provider of jobs and enterprise activity.
“Our commitment to the food sector extends to the provision of infrastructure for start-ups and ‘growth companies’. These small-scale food business incubation units will greatly contribute to the local economy.
“The premises are in ‘walk-in’ condition as they’re fully compliant with all health and food safety requirements,” he said.
Mr Hanley said the move will help to ensure there is increased start-up activity during the remainder of 2010.
“It’s important to remember that the manufacture of food and drink products in Ireland has an estimated output approaching €20 billion.”
The Cork County Enterprise Boards have already begun to prepare for the launch of the new units by inviting start-up and existing food business SMEs to apply for the new scheme. Six units will be made available in Carrigaline and two units will be provided in each of the other locations.
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