The creation of the Hawke’s Bay Food Innovation Hub has reached another milestone, with Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) approving the draft feasibility study and progressing the project to complete its business case. Sapere Research Group is completing the research for the Food Innovation Hub project, which is aimed at collaboration, innovation, research and development in food, beverage and agricultural technology sectors. A $215,000 grant from central government’s Provincial Growth Fund in June 2018 helped fund the feasibility study and business case for the project. The Hastings District Council, Napier City Council, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council and 13 businesses and organisations engaged in the industry contributed an additional $35,000 towards the research. The draft feasibility has identified three initial options for the development:
- Option 1: To develop and support an implementation pipeline (virtual network) involving more resources to identify and support two or three proposals each year and support with food technician skills and facilities.
- Option 2: Utilise the existing infrastructure and virtual network. Underutilised facilities have been identified which together could deliver capacity for developments.
- Option 3: Develop an innovation precinct in an agri-tech focussed park (Innovation Park). The focus would be on clustering food innovation, agri-tech and IT business in rentable lab space, co-working spaces, and meeting/event centre with business support services.
Further funding will be needed to set up the hub, which is estimated to cost about $20million. Hastings District Council’s economic development team is leading this phase, with the overall project being managed by a stakeholder group of industry and council representatives. HDC’s Group Manager Economic Growth Craig Cameron said the Food Innovation Hub has enormous potential for Hawke’s Bay. “The predicted economic impact of an innovation precinct or park is estimated to be $100million over ten years and can bring with it 500 jobs for our community which is massive.” “We look forward to seeing the business case which will include more financial details such as potential funding and management arrangements.” The detailed business case is due to be completed by February. Posted: 26 January 2019