Galway business set for national enterprise awards final

A chocolatier from Galway is set to compete with the country’s best small businesses as one of the Finalists for the National Enterprise Award taking place today Thursday.

Gráinne Mullin’s company, Grá Chocolates will represent Local Enterprise Office Galway at the prestigious awards that take place on in the Round Room at the Mansion House in Dublin.

Gráinne founded Grá Chocolates in her hometown of Kilchreest in 2020, and the business has gone from strength to strength. Her creations use ethically sourced Valrhona Chocolate, Casa Luker cocoa butter and Irish cream and butter – resulting in decadent, small batch treats.

Grá Chocolates will now compete against 30 other finalists from every local authority area for a share of the €35,000 winner’s prize fund.

This is the 24th year of the Local Enterprise Office initiative, which was won last year by Advanced Cosmetics, supported by Local Enterprise Office Mayo. The Ballina-based company were set up Noreen Hackett in 2018, before launching to market in 2022. As one of the only “concept to shelves” cosmetics companies in Europe they have achieved significant success, securing contracts with some of the biggest brand names in the cosmetics industry.

This year the finalists cover a range of sectors and industries from transformational digitization software (DreamDev Technologies ) and reduced mobility booking systems (PRM Assist ) to luxury handmade chocolates (Grá Chocolates ) and hand-crafted natural soap (The Black Stuff ).

With Ireland’s success on the global film stage continuing the finalists also include a film production company that helped give Paul Mescal his break (Harp Media ) and a prop and set design company who are working with some of the biggest international productions in Ireland providing bespoke props and set materials (Monarú ).

Acting Head of Enterprise at LEO Galway, Caroline McDonagh said that herself and the LEO team are delighted that Gráinne Mullin’s and Grá Chocolates will be representing Galway at The National Enterprise Awards.

“Grainne overcame the challenges of starting a new business during a pandemic and has built a strong brand and a sustainable business.

“What sets Grainne apart is her ability to blend tradition with innovation and sourcing the best local ingredients with a focus on individual and seasonal products.

“We believe that Grá Chocolates has the potential to follow in the footsteps of previous winners to become a successful global company,” she said.

The Finalists compete for a prize fund of €50,000 and along with an overall National Enterprise of the Year winner there are categories for Best Start-Up, Best Export Business, an Innovation Award, a One-to-Watch Award, and a Sustainability Award. There is also an Outstanding Achievement award for a business that started with their Local Enterprise Office and has gone on to achieve international growth with the assistance of Enterprise Ireland.

Previous winners of the National Enterprise Awards include the likes of Irish Yoghurts (1998 ), Obelisk (2000 ), Simtech Aviation (2008 ), Digiweb (2004 ) and Design Pro (2013 ), Terra NutriTech (2018 ), Pestle & Mortar (2019 ), Bevcraft (2021 ) and Aqualicence in 2022.

The National Enterprise Awards are one of a number of initiatives that the Local Enterprise Offices run, to foster entrepreneurship across the country. Others include Local Enterprise Week, the Student Enterprise Programme, National Women’s Enterprise Day, and Local Enterprise Showcase.

The Local Enterprise Offices in local authorities are funded by the Government of Ireland through Enterprise Ireland.Established in 2014, the Local Enterprise Offices are the essential resource for any entrepreneur looking to start a business or any small business that is looking for support or advice to help them grow. Since their inception eight years ago, the Local Enterprise Offices have helped create over 70,000 jobs across the country. The LEOs work with thousands of client companies across Ireland in a diverse range of sectors offering mentoring, training, expert advice, and financial supports to small businesses. For more information see www.LocalEnterprise.ie

 

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