The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) has approved the draft feasibility study and have progressed the Hawke’s Bay Food Innovation Hub to complete its business case. The research involved with the Food Innovation Hub project is aimed at collaboration, innovation, research and development in the food, beverage and agricultural technology sectors and is being conducted by Sapere Research Group.
The feasibility study and business case were funded by a grant from the central government’s Provincial Growth Fund in June 2018. The total grant was $215,000. An additional $35,000 was contributed towards the research by the Hastings District Council, the Napier City Council, the Hawke’s Bay Regional Council, and 13 businesses and organisations engaged in the industry.
The draft detailed three initial development options:
- 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.
- Utilise the existing infrastructure and virtual network. Underutilised facilities have been identified which together could deliver capacity for developments.
- 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.
An estimated $20 million will be needed to complete the hub. The overall project is being managed by a stakeholder group of industry and council representatives. This project represents a massive opportunity for the Hawke’s Bay. Hawke’s Bay District Council’s Group Manager of Economic Growth Craig Cameron said, “The predicted economic impact of an innovation precinct or park is estimated to be $100 million over ten years and can bring with it 500 jobs for our community which is massive.”