Ireland’s Mid-East Region Is Growing Agtech-Focused Startups

How the Mid-East Region could become the Silicon Valley of New Food.
Sofia Kousa
on August 01, 2019

The Mid-East Region of Ireland consists of the countries Kildare, Louth, Meath, and Wicklow. It is the second-fastest growing region in Ireland after nearby Dublin and it offers a high-standard of living. On top of this, it boasts an attractive startup ecosystem with an increasing number of startups that are women-led or co-founded by a woman. And in fact, it is in the top 10 ecosystems globally for female founders.

The region is based near the country’s capital Dublin, which has five universities from which to pull talent. In addition to that, Maynooth University is situated within the region. The University is Ireland’s fastest growing university with faculties in science, engineering, business, and the arts. In partnership with Athlone Institute of Technology, Maynooth University created MaynoothWorks, an incubation space to help advice, support and coach startups in different stages.

According to Startup Genome’s 2019 Global Startup Ecosystem Report, the Mid-East Region is flourishing in the Agtech & New Food startup sub-sector. This makes some sense, given that Ireland’s food industry is enormous and projected to reach a net worth of $21.6 billion by 2025. Food exports currently amount to 12.3% of the country’s export revenue.

Meath-based startup Hexafly, led by CEO Alvan Hunt, was able to raise $1.2 million in funding in February 2019. Hexafly aims to find new ways to feed the planet and provide access to a more sustainable proteins through insect farming.

Centered in the Mid-East Region, The Boyne Valley Food Innovation District (BVFID) is a base for some of Ireland’s leading indigenous and high-growth food businesses including Dawn Farms, Kerry Foods, and Epicom. In 2018, BVFID received $1.7 million from the Regional Enterprise Development Fund to start work on Boyne Valley Food Hub. The Boyne Valley Food Hub is a project created to accelerate growth and yield business in the agri-food sector. 


In our 2019 assessment of the Mid-East Region we ranked the city against many startup ecosystems. Highlights include:

  • Mid-East Region is in the top 20 global ecosystems for Affordable Talent.
  • The average salary for a software engineer there is $44,600.
  • Research-intensive startups in Ireland can take advantage of tax credits of 25% for eligible R&D costs.

Our local member, Meath Enterprise, was created with a mission to develop enterprise and entrepreneurship for the benefit of the county, region, and wider economy. It intends to do this through collaboration and innovation via effective learning, mentoring, and networking. The organization offers office space along with support to suit different kinds of businesses to help each of them succeed.

“An exciting vision is emerging in the Mid-East region in creative industries, Agtech, and a network of innovation spaces,” Dr. Michael Brougham, Regional Director at Enterprise Ireland, said. “This bottom-up regional development approach ensures the region is poised for significant growth.”

Want to be more involved in the Mid-East Region startup ecosystem? Become a Startup Genome Ambassador! Please get in touch

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