Allison and the chocolate factory

Allison 1

Posted on: 4th June, 2014

Category: Features

Contributor: Mary O'Brien

Allison Roberts and Clonakilty Chocolate is now part of an innovative campaign that aims to make small business ideas happen around the globe. She talks to Mary O’Brien about her ambitions.

Indiegogo is the world’s most established crowdfunding platform — a process of pooling money from many different people to make an idea happen. Clonakilty Chocolate is looking for pre-orders through Indiegogo to help buy machines and create a vibrant chocolate factory in the heart of Clonakilty. Allison hopes to raise €15,000 through orders, which means she will be able to increase current production and get producing from bean by Christmas.

An independent chocolatier for most of her life, Allison started her first chocolate making business at the age of 12. In 2007, her passion created Clonakilty Chocolate, making fairtrade and handcrafted products including 15 chocolate bars.  Clonakilty Chocolate bars are stocked in a number of small independent shops throughout Ireland but Allison’s aim now is to create a vibrant bean to bar chocolate factory in the heart of Clonakilty providing a healthier and ethical alternative to what’s available in the mainstream. Most of Clonakilty Chocolate’s bars contain at least 70 per cent cacao.

“I’ve always been passionate about business ethics so the Fairtrade movement is close to my heart. In the chocolate industry, producers are often abused and child slavery and widespread poverty are rife,” explains Allison.

Last November, Allison had the opportunity to visit Ghana with the Fairtrade Clonakilty organisation. Here, she met the Fairtrade communities and producers of her chocolate. “Fairtrade chocolate premiums don’t just benefit the chocolate industry…money is invested in to new machines, palm oil, textile projects so a whole community develops around a Fairtrade co-operative. Fairtrade communities are able to invest in schools, running water and sanitation facilities.”

Allison was inspired to see what small, community-minded business can do in it’s local area and inspired to see what benefits she could bring to her own community in Clonakilty.

Allison imports her beans directly from Ghana and is a direct link between fairtrade farmers and chocolate lovers in Ireland.

Clonakilty Chocolate’s new bars will be made directly from bean, Fairtrade certified and will also use natural alternatives to sugar, resulting in a healthier chocolate bar. “Ireland is Europe’s second biggest chocolate consuming country, and since diabetes and obesity are on the rise like never before (one in four of us are estimated to become diabetic by age 40 by 2020) — and since I think chocolate and sugar don’t need to be synonymous — I have decided to focus on developing my range of naturally sugar-free (and very popular) bars from bean,” says Allison.

Allison was recently accepted onto the School for Social Entrepreneurs Incubator course in Dublin, an eight-month course guiding entrepreneurs who want to develop their business with social responsibility/ethics/community/sustainability weighing in equally with financial stability and development.  “Small is the new big,” says Allison smiling. “By pre-ordering through my new indiegogo campaign, you’ll be helping my small business have a big impact, both locally and globally.”

For more information on Clonakilty Chocolate, log on to clonakiltychocolate.com. Place your preorder and help Allison build her chocolate factory at www.igg.me/at/clonchocolate.

Latest News Articles:

Issue of childcare a major concern for 72 per cent of female entrepreneurs
Rain, slurry deadlines and housing
Celtic Ross Hotel awarded AA Rosette for Culinary Excellence
St. Joseph’s in Clonakilty looks back on 50 years of educating young girls
‘Operation Transformation’ for Young Beef Farmers
Macra President welcomes publication of EU Young Farmer Survey
Vital role of Focus in the West Cork community highlighted at Open Morning
Clonakilty Food Company opens new production facility in Clonakilty
Beara student one of three Cork students awarded €20,000 scholarship by Naughton Foundation
International success for Skibb rowers

Join us on Facebook

Bandon Walled Town Festival in looking for new ideas!
Would you like to get involved in the 2018 Festival?If you yourself would like to be involved in big or small way
email bandonwalledtown@gmail.com
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Submarines, American Sailors, and the Underwater War in Irish Waters, 1917-1918
by Dr John Borgonovo in The Parish Centre, Clonakilty
on Thursday Oct 26 2017 at 8.30 pm

In 1917, unrestricted submarine warfare by German U-boats brought the United States into WWI and created a crisis in Britain. To defeat the submarine menace, an American naval fleet was dispatched to County Cork, bringing about 10,000 sailors with it. This talk will explain the circumstances of this extraordinary event, and how Cork residents dealt with their unexpected American guests.

Dr John Borgonovo is a lecturer in the School of History at UCC. His publications include Spies, Informers, and the 'Anti-Sinn Féin' Society: The Intelligence War in Cork City, 1920-1921; The Dynamics of War and Revolution: Cork City, 1916-1918; Exercising a close vigilance over their daughters: Cork women, American sailors, and Catholic vigilantes, 1917-18; Something in the Nature of a Massacre: The Bandon Valley Killings Revisited (with Andy Bielenberg). His latest publication (with co-authors John Crowley, Donal Ó Drisceoil and Mike Murphy) is the highly acclaimed and magnificient Atlas of the Irish Revolution. In July of this year, he organised a very successful conference on Winning the Western Approaches - Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the US Navy in Ireland 1917-1918.
... See MoreSee Less

11th October, 2017  ·  

Apple Juicing Day in Clonakilty next Sunday Sept 30th. All welcome to bring their apples from 2-6pm to the Clonakilty Community Garden (on entrance road to Clonakilty Lodge).

Building on the success of its inaugural 2016 event, local voluntary environmental organisation Sustainable Clonakilty invites people to bring along their apples and press them to extract their own juice to take home, using the group's Apple Press.

Volunteers will be at hand to assist in the procedure. Bring along your apples washed; clean containers to freeze your juice (milk/juice bottles or cartons, plastic bottles with caps); clean, sterilised glass bottles to pasteurise with swing caps or suitable for 26 mm diameter metal cap.

A limited number of new 3 litres juice bags that are suitable for freezing and pasteurising, can be purchased for a nominal fee on the day also.

This is a free community event and donations will be welcome to cover costs.

For further information, please contact Xavier at xavierdubuisson@gmail.com or text at 086/0476124.
... See MoreSee Less

26th September, 2017  ·  

Dúchas Clonakilty's first lecture for the Autumn promises to be of huge interest to all: Emerging from the Shadow of Tom Crean – The Parish Centre, Clonakilty, Thursday September 28th 8.30pm.

Lecture by Aileen Crean O’Brien & Bill Sheppard

In May 2016, Kerry man Tom Crean, along with Ernest Shackleton and four other crew members, landed the James Caird lifeboat on the rocky isle of South Georgia. The navigation of that small boat, across 1500 km through icy winds and towering seas, is regarded as the greatest ever feat of navigation. They then trekked across the forbidding and inhospitable mountains and glaciers of South Georgia to seek help for the rest of their crew, who were left behind on Elephant Island after their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by the Antarctic ice.

One hundred years later, Crean’s grandaughter, Aileen Crean O’Brien, set off with her sons and partner to follow in her grandfather’s footsteps. Join Aileen and Bill to hear of their adventures (and misadventures) on the Southern Ocean and the island of South Georgia.
... See MoreSee Less

7th September, 2017  ·  

Jump to:

Top