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Magic Mayan owner and chief chocolatier Darren O’Connor faces the five dragons on RTE1’s Dragon’s Den.

Chocolate company expands following appearance on Dragon’s Den


Irish Raw Chocolate Business Magic Mayan has expanded its sales into Northern Ireland and is growing in size following owner Darren O’Connor’s appearance on RTE’s Dragon’s Den last night (Sunday, April 30).

While the county Clare family business did not secure an investment from the five dragons, in the days after filming Magic Mayan signed a contract to export its chocolate and protein bombs into the UK via Northern Ireland.

Employing five people and with plans to expand the workforce and production of chocolate and protein bombs even further in the coming months, the artisan raw chocolate business based in Ennis continues to grow.

“We are currently selling 35,000 protein bombs a month and more than 1,000 bars of hand made chocolate each week through our Irish distributers, and online,” explained Darren, who took over Magic Mayan two years ago with his wife Sinéad.

“The protein bomb market is growing at a huge rate internationally as people are becoming more and more conscious about what they eat. Busy professionals who plan their snacks, those that work out regularly and members of sports clubs are also big supporters of our most popular product.

Mayan owner and chief chocolatier Darren O’Connor at work in his Ennis business.

“Our 14 different certified organic, deeply dark, dairy free, gluten free and soya free raw chocolate bars are proving very popular in many of Ireland’s best known health stores, and the fact our raw chocolate is minimally processed using only high-quality basic ingredients, it retains essential vitamins and minerals,” added Darren, who as well as managing the production of the Magic Mayan bars, is also the chief chocolatier.

In the world famous Dragon’s Den, Darren sought a €48,000 investment for a 10% stake in his family business. Had he secured this funding he would have allocated it to upgrading the chocolate factory and installing a new chocolate tempering machine, while also bringing forward plans to invest in new packaging for the protein bombs, and invest in marketing

However even without the Dragon’s investment, the company continues to expand.

“We are expecting delivery of a new chocolate tempering machine in the coming months which will increase our production levels to meet the ever growing demand. We are also working on expanding our sales into other European countries,” said Darren.

“While there are some concerns about sterling and trade with the UK post Brexit among the business community, we at Magic Mayan are heartened to have secured a number of contracts into Northern Ireland in the last number of months, and are working to increase our exports into Europe. Our online sales are also very strong and our products, particularly the protein bombs are flying off the shelves,” he added.

For Darren the trip into the Dragon’s Den did not dampen his enthusiasm for his raw chocolate business.

“The Den was a great experience and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and while an investment from a dragon as well as their expertise would have been welcome, it was not a necessity for the further growth of our county Clare company,” he said.

“Sinead and I are really looking forward to the year ahead, as our staffing levels expand, new equipment arrives to our small factory in Ennis, and more and more people discover Magic Mayan for themselves.”

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