A business park for the food and drink industry in Leicester is now open for business and will be welcoming its first tenants within weeks.
It is hoped the £5.8 million Food Park will attract new start-up businesses, provide space for existing food and drink businesses to grow, and create dozens of new jobs.
Its three steel-framed buildings, developed close to a business park off Lewisher Road, house nine units, ranging in size from 1,000 to 5,000 sq ft.
The food park was commissioned by Leicester City Council, and will be managed by the East Midlands Chamber of Commerce. City Mayor Peter Soulsby said: “Food and drink are a major part of Leicester’s economy we have got many great strengths and many small firms and those small firms need quality premises to produce food and continue to grow”
“I have no doubt at all, that in the weeks and months ahead, we will see a queue of small businesses wanting to take space here, and wanting to take the opportunities that will be on offer here for them to get the support, get the space and get the opportunity to grow, create jobs and contribute to our economy”.
James Bowie, president of the Leicestershire Chamber of Commerce, said: “Its a real growth opportunity for people who are interested in developing food businesses and it offers really good modern clean hygienic facilities and I can imagine there will be quite a buzz when there is a number of different people doing different food products here”.
The East Midlands Food and Drink Forum, which is a not-for-profit organisation that supports the local food industry, will also be on board, to provide technical and business assistance to the Food Park tenants, while working with the council to support the wider food and drink sector across the city.
The Food Park’s first tenants are expected to be announced within the next few weeks. Interest in the facility has been high, with more than 30 businesses due to attend a special open day next Tuesday (18 November).
The project was financed with £3.4million from the European Regional Development Fund, with the city council contributing a further £2.4million. The scheme is part of the City Mayor’s plans to develop four key business investment areas in the city.