SITUATED on the town’s Carrickmacross Road, Ballybay Enterprise Park is a facility that was set up to develop new business workspaces in the local area after a partnership was entered into between Ballybay Development Association and Monaghan County Enterprise Fund.

ballybay1smAn impressive new extension was officially opened to the rear of the site this week by Minister of State for Small Business John Perry TD, adding substantially to the initial development that was completed in 1998-99 with the construction of five industrial units of 1,500 square foot each. All of these are occupied at present.

The primary objective in expanding the enterprise centre in works carried out over the last 15 months at a cost of over €500,000 was to enhance the potential for indigenous enterprise development and stimulate employment activity by creating workspace facilities.

Both the Monaghan County Development Board’s Strategic Plan and Ballybay Economic Forum had identified the shortage of suitable and affordable workspace units for micro enterprises as being a real hindrance to economic development.

It is now hoped that the new extension at Ballybay Enterprise Park will act as a catalyst to attract business start-ups to the town. Given the area’s highly successful and well-established agri-food sector, the workspaces on offer should be of particular interest to food production businesses.

The new facility includes a dedicated food production unit finished to the highest standards and available for a range of flexible lease terms, while the ‘Test Kitchen’ offers exciting opportunities to new and existing food businesses. 

The provision of affordable workspaces will facilitate potential tenants — whether existing or new business — who wish to focus on their core business and free up capital resources that can be invested in developing their business and  market share etc.

Monaghan County Enterprise Fund (MCEF) was established in March 1988, with the assistance and support of the International Fund for Ireland. It is a company limited by guarantee and its Board is widely representative of the business, industrial, professional, voluntary and community sectors. Board members act in a voluntary, unpaid capacity, and the aims of the company are: 

• To assist and support small and medium sized enterprises and job creation throughout the county,
• To encourage the development of community-driven economic projects,
• To assist in the provision of workspace for small and medium enterprises.

MCEF was a valuable source of loan finance for SMEs and small business start-ups, particularly in the 1980s and early ’90s when such funding was difficult to source. As a consequence, many small businesses were assisted in the county, and some of them have gone on to much greater things!

Over the last number of years, MCEF has broadened its focus to include the direct provision of workspaces in Co Monaghan. A number of enterprise centres have been assisted or built directly by MCEF, including the M:TEK I and M:TEK II buildings in Monaghan Town, Clones Business Technology Park and Ballybay Enterprise Park. A new project, C:TEK in Carrickmacross, is due for commencement in July 2014.  

For the Phase 2 extension at Ballybay Enterprise Park, MCEF was one of the project promoters in a CASA application made under the Interreg IVA Programme. CASA is the name given to the Castleblayney and South Armagh Partnership, which was established in 2003 and is a cross-border working group made up of representatives from Newry and Mourne District Council, Castleblayney Town Council and Monaghan County Council.

The partnership has met on an ongoing basis since its inception and continues to meet regularly. The total funding for the overall CASA project, North and South, was £1,373,653 GBP.

The elements of the application were enterprise, tourism and marketing, and MCEF received Interreg IVA funding of €470,000 via CASA for the new development. A further sum of about €40,000 was contributed by MCEF in its own right to make up the balance of the cost of the project.

The new development at Ballybay Enterprise Park consists of 4,000 square feet in total, with six separate units of 500 square feet and one unit of 1,000 square feet.

MCEF is in the final stages of fitting out this larger unit as a ‘Test Kitchen’, in a response to a need identified in a study carried out by Monaghan County Enterprise Board among food producers within the county. Partial funding for the Test Kitchen has been allocated through Cavan Monaghan Rural Development (LEADER), with match funding from MCEF.

Marketing of the new units at the Ballybay Enterprise Park Phase 2 extension has commenced and brochures will soon be produced. Those wishing to make an expression of interest in the units can contact  Monaghan County Enterprise Fund, M:TEK Building, Armagh Road, Monaghan; tel: 047 75255 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.