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Wednesday, June 20, 2012
Two food entrepreneurs took top honours at a business network awards ceremony in Co Tipperary last night.
Margaret O’Connor of Quigley’s bakery and Elaine Dorris of Lough Derg Chocolates took the top awards at the Network North Tipperary Business Women of the Year Awards, an AIB-sponsored event open to all categories of business.
Joint managing director of Quigley’s, Ms O’Connor has turned the chain of bakery cafés into a multimillion-euro business employing more than 150 people. She joined the fifth-generation family bakery in 1988, helping to grow the company from one outlet to 16 across nine counties.
Ms O’Connor was presented with the ‘Existing Business’ award by Martin Troy, branch manager of AIB Nenagh. The ceremony took place at the Fairways Bar and Orchard Restaurant in Nenagh.
Meanwhile, Elaine Dorris set up Lough Derg Chocolates with husband Malachy just seven months ago. She previously worked in the construction industry before taking redundancy in 2008.
Ms Dorris set up the handmade luxury chocolate company in Nenagh just before last Christmas. She was presented with the ‘Emerging Business’ award by Rita Guinan, Tipperary North County Enterprise Board chief executive.
Fiona Connolly, president of Network North Tipperary, said: "Our winning entrepreneurs clearly have a passion for food and for business and are both incredibly focussed on achieving their company objectives.
"Although our two winners are at very different stages in the business life cycle, they both exhibit key entrepreneurial characteristics. According to the judging panel, both entrepreneurs were energetic, measured risk-takers and both had an understanding of how important their teams were to the success of the business."
Margaret Ryan from Storm Web Management took the runner-up prize in the ‘Existing Business’ category and Camelia Shanahan from Meli Bondre was the runner-up in the category for ‘Emerging Business’.
Towards the end of the ceremony, the Tipperary-born humanitarian aid worker and writer Adi Roche was presented with an honorary award, ‘Tipperary Woman of the Year’, by the president of the Network.
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