On Wednesday, 16th March, Mayor of Drogheda Paul Bell, and the former Mayor of Salinas City in California, Dennis Donoghue (representing the current Mayor Joe Gunter), took part in a symbolic shamrock-giving ceremony video-link. The video-link also included Jennifer Krebs of The Western Growers Centre for Innovation and Technology in Salinas. This marked the renewed commitment of co-operation between Salinas and Drogheda in the Ag-Tech sector, and the additional potential collaboration of Drogheda’s Mill Enterprise Hub with Western Growers Centre for Innovation and Technology in Salinas.

IMG_1687

Drogheda has already hosted a number of visits from the former Mayor of Salinas, Dennis Donoghue, who has been in agribusiness since 1988 and is also a key player in the re-birth of Salinas as it moves from ‘the Salad Capital’ of The United States to becoming a champion in the Agri-Tech sector. According to Dennis, “the long-standing relationship between Salinas and Drogheda will be improved, and the co-operation between both Innovation Centres and regions, offers a great opportunity to further cement the strong partnership, and take a leading role in a rapidly-expanding sector”.

Mayor Bell participated in the ‘Shamrock-giving’ video-link, and reconfirmed Drogheda’s commitment to further develop the relationship with Salinas City, “Salinas has actively positioned itself as the central point where technology meets the agri-food sector, and we would be delighted to expand on that relationship. Both Salinas and Drogheda have common traits including the fact that they’re natural Gateways to the region’s agri-food sector, but are also in close proximity to the technology epicentres of Silicon Valley, and Silicon Docks in Dublin”.

IMG_1693

A key objective is to see Irish–Americans, and both regions, coming together to develop a mutually beneficial network in the Ag-Tech sector.  Similar to Salinas, Drogheda, The Boyne Valley, and the North-East of Ireland has a very strong tradition of agri-food companies, from Boyne Valley Foods, to Natures Best and Keelings. Breanndan Casey of The Mill stated “We believe there is strong potential for existing rural & urban agri-food businesses in the region to develop their business by adopting high-tech solutions. The International linkage would highlight best practise in both countries, and harness the expertise of many Irish-Americans who now have a leadership role in the US Agri-Tech sector. The Western Growers Innovation Centre is a key partner in The Thrive Accelerator programme for technology-enabled Startups in the AgriTech and FoodTech areas, and I believe we can form a mutually-beneficial partnership. The Mill ran a series of FoodTech seminars in 2015, and we are working on similar initiatives for 2016”.

Mayor Bell Drogheda-Salinas AgriTech Twinning 16.03.16

Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone

FoodTech logoOn Tuesday, 30 June 2015, we held a meeting with several local food companies in order to highlight the importance of establishing an ‘Industry-led’ FoodTech Skillnets network, which will support the growth of SMEs in the Food and Agri sector throughout the North-East (North Dublin, Louth, Meath, Cavan, Monaghan).

The North-East region has a proud Food / Agricultural tradition, and has developed a strong cluster of Agri-Food, and we’re seeking to establish a network of companies that could benefit from subsidised training in areas such as Technology Applications / Supply Chain Management / Environmental etc (the specific training needs will be decided internally by member companies) in the Agri-Food manufacturing process.

We would like to thank Teresa Hanratty from Learning Waves and Noreen Fitzpatrick from Skillnets for coming over to The Mill and telling us more about how Skillnets work and how it could benefit the food companies in the North-East region.

Noreen Fitzpatrick Skillnets
(L-R) Teresa Hanratty and Noreen Fitzpatrick

Our guest speaker for the night was Pat Cooney, who talked about the building of the Gleeson group to over 700 employees and six factories.

Pat Cooney
(L-R) James Cooney and Pat Cooney

He is currently establishing a new brewery / distillery in Drogheda, which is going to become one of the biggest visitor centres in the Boyne Valley, with tours of facilities available to visitors and many more exciting features to come!

Pat Cooney
Some of the attendees at our FoodTech Skillnets Seminar: Patricia McAlernon, Kevin Tuck (Alltech), Malachy McCloskey (Boyne Valley Foods), John McGuiness (Ezy Technology), Bronagh Conlon (Board Member in The Mill), Alison Cowzer (East Coast Bakehouse), Geoff Fitzpatrick (Jack Cody’s), Caitriona Coyne, Anthony Gregory (Elite Food Solutions), Colin Guilfoyle (Nebula Interactive), James Cooney

Pat Cooney

Our evening concluded with a bit of networking and pizza.

Pat Cooney
(L-R) Marketing & Innovation Director of East Coast Bakehouse – Alison Cowzer, Food Consultant – Bronagh Conlon, and ex-director of Gleeson Group, known best for their Tipperary Water – Pat Cooney.
Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone

FoodTech logoKevin Brennan, Food Safety & Quality Consultant of Teagasc, gave an overview of Teagasc activities, joineteagasc foodtechd by Edward Spelman, Managing Director of Ballymaguire Foods (Country Crest), who spoke about the company.

Country Crest

Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone

FoodTech logo

Joe English of the Louth Local Enterprise Office gave an overview of support structuresLouth LEO for starting/expanding businesses, joined by Eamonn Flynn, Managing Director of Keelings Solutions, who spoke about Keelings Solutions.

Keelings Solutions

 

Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone

FoodTech logoMichael O’ Dowd from Enterprise Ireland gave an overview of support structures for expanding businessesNatures Best and specialist support for Agri-Food Sector.

Paddy Callaghan, Managing Director of Nature’s Best spoke on the complex issues of scaling a business from the farmyard to international distribution.
Enterprise Ireland

Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone

 

FoodTech logoMichael Carey, Chairman of Bord Bia and founder of The Company of Food, a specialist food investmentbordbia business, was the second speaker at the FoodTech@TheMill Programme on November 5th.

Bronagh Conlon from The Real Irish Food Company also visited The Mill to talk about the company. The Real Irish Food Company is a specialist manufacturer of preserves, sauces and dressings based in Drogheda. The company was founded in 1997 by food enthusiast Bronagh Conlon and was acquired by Jacob Fruitfield in 2007.Real Irish Food Company

Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone

 

TFoodTech logohe first evening was opened by Eileen Bentley, Entrepreneurship Manager at Bord Bia and Kevin Tuck, Managingbordbia Director of Alltech, who spoke on innovation within Alltech, their story of growth to a billion dollar company and key learnings they made along the way, including some of the mistakes!

Ten SMEs including representatives from FitzScientific, AgriNet, Kingswood Computing and Ezy Technology heard Kevin Tuck, alltechManaging Director of Alltech give a detailed presentation on AllTech’s growth to a €1 billion company, and how its relentless focus on innovation and R&D has enabled it to continue growing.

 

Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone

FoodTech logoThe first talk in the newly established FoodTech@TheMill programme took place on October 29th. Ten SMEs including representatives from FitzScientific, AgriNet, Kingswood Computing and Ezy Technology heard Kevin Tuck, Managing Director of Alltech give a detailed presentation on AllTech’s growth to a €1 billion company and how its relentless focus on innovation and R&D has enabled it to continue growing.

Michael Carey, Chairman of Bord Bia and founder of The Company of Food, a specialist food investment business, will be the second speaker at the FoodTech@TheMill programme on November 5th.

Michael Carey established Jacob Fruitfield, one of Ireland’s leading, privately owned food businesses which included some of Ireland’s best known consumer food products. Prior to acquiring these businesses, Michael worked in a number of multinational food companies in Ireland and the UK including Kellogg’s, Fox’s Biscuits, Evian/Volvic and Cantrell & Cochrane. In 2011 Valeo Foods acquired Jacob Fruitfield and the combined business of Valeo and Jacob Fruitfield has an annual turnover of approximately €300 million and a combined workforce of over 400.

The format of FoodTech is based on six in-depth presentations & case-studies from some of the leading Agri-Food companies in Ireland including:

  • Alltech
  • Country Crest
  • Nature’s Best
  • Keelings

Topics covered include:

  • Technology Applications in Food Service
  • Supply chain for scaling SMEs
  • Accessing International Markets/Major Customers in the Food Sector
  • New Product Development Process
  • Product Portfolio Management
  • Scaling a Food/Agri Manufacturing Process

Ireland, and the Boyne Region in particular, has a proud agricultural tradition and has developed a strong cluster of Agri-Food companies in the region. Globally, there’s unprecedented competition for food due to population growth and changing diets. Technology in the Agri-Food Sector can be used to optimise traditional solutions, by helping to streamline and better manage operations, more efficiently utilise resources and improve communications.

Please contact bcasey@themilldrogheda.ie for more information.

FoodTech@TheMill: 6 evenings of guest lectures and networking for SMEs from the North-East region supplying IT, Environmental and Value-added Services to the Agri-Food sector

Ireland, and the Boyne Region in particular, has a proud agricultural tradition and has developed a strong cluster of Agri-Food companies in the region.

Globally, there’s unprecedented competition for food due to population growth and changing diets. Technology in the Agri-Food Sector can be used to optimise traditional solutions, by helping to streamline and better manage operations, more efficiently utilise resources and improve communications.

The Mill Enterprise Hub is recruiting 12 small businesses in the region that can benefit from a series of six seminars from some of the leading food companies in Ireland. Sample companies could include:

  • Software Developers for Agri-Food sector
  • Production Specialists
  • Quality Control
  • Environmental Firms
  • Food Producers with export potential
  • New Product Development for Agri-Food

FoodTech logoFormat:

The format will be based on in-depth presentations & case-studies from some of the leading Agri-Food companies in Ireland.

Topics:

  • Technology Applications in Food Service
  • Supply chain for scaling SMEs
  • Accessing International Markets/Major Customers in the Food Sector
  • New Product Development Process
  • Product Portfolio Management
  • Scaling a Food/Agri Manufacturing Process

Details:

The seminars will take place over six weeks, commencing on Wednesday October 29th at 7pm and finishing on Wednesday December 3rd. Each seminar will be 2 hours and applicants will be required to attend all seminars.

Each seminar will be followed by pizza, beer & networking opportunity.

The seminars are subsidised and applicants will be charged a once-off payment of €80 to attend all six talks.

Please contact bcasey@themilldrogheda.ie for more information. To apply, please complete the FoodTech@TheMill Application Form.

Share:
Tweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookEmail to someone