Experiments in the kitchen during lockdown turned into a fully-fledged business for ACORNS alumni Georgia Quealy and her partner in Praliné Chocolatiers.
We talk to rural women entrepreneurs from across Ireland who recently took part in the ACORNS programme.
Women in rural Ireland with new businesses or at least with well-developed ideas are being invited to join next phase of the programme ACORNS 8. The ACORNS programme is designed to support early-stage female entrepreneurs living in rural Ireland through a peer learning approach. Thanks to the support of the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, and the voluntary contribution of time by Lead Entrepreneurs, there is no charge for those selected to participate.
“Participating in ACORNS was invaluable to the business. The most beneficial aspect was being given the skills to confidently run a business to its full potential”
The call is now open for applicants for ACORNS 8 and 50 female entrepreneurs from across the country will be selected to participate. Anyone interested in receiving an application form ahead of the midnight 23 September deadline for ACORNS 8 should register their interest here
Originally from Roscrea in Co Tipperary, Georgia Quealy and her boyfriend/business partner, Daniel Linehan set up their company, Praliné Chocolatiers, in his home town of Athlone, Co Westmeath, in October 2020.
Both classically trained chefs with Michelin star experience, they had plans to move to Dublin to work as pastry chefs when the pandemic hit. Having always talked about setting up a business together, they began to experiment in the kitchen of Daniel’s parents’ café in Athlone.
“Praliné Chocolatiers produces luxury hand-painted, hand-crafted chocolates made from the finest ingredients and showcasing many Irish producers,” she explained.
Georgia likes to create a journey of the senses for customers, starting out with the opening of the bespoke packaging to find the edible works of art, full of unique flavours and textures.
“The pandemic created a gap in the market for the company because gifting handmade, heartfelt gifts became a big aspect of people’s lives.
“Praliné Chocolatiers began selling our product on Instagram in October 2020 after receiving support and mentorship through LEO Westmeath. We launched our own website in February 2021 and moved into their own production kitchen in November 2021.”
Their main range of chocolates is available throughout the year, and they produce limited edition seasonal collections every couple of months.
“Participating in ACORNS was invaluable to the business. The most beneficial aspect was being given the skills to confidently run a business to its full potential while benefiting from the expert experience of our group’s Lead Entrepreneur Eimer Hannon of Hannon Travel. I am very grateful to be part of the ACORNS community.
“The main plan for the year ahead is to continue to build the brand and expand the product range, we are also looking into B2B marketing to hotels and corporate gifting.”