Smart Work: A Smart Collaboration with The Chocolate Factory

Operations manager of the Chocolate Factory, Gerry Scullion, first met Val Rutledge in 2013 when looking for a space to develop and produce a no added sugar soft drink. He originally rented a unit from Val to start on production and they eventually went on to start managing a building together. This building is now home to approximately thirty independent businesses across the thirty separate units, which creates an environment that acts as “an incubator space for start-ups” says Gerry.

Diversity is a major strength of the chocolate factory which houses a wide array of industries such as architecture, fashion, fitness and graphic design. Gerry explains that these businesses are all at varying stages in their entrepreneurial journey, ranging “from an idea or creative ambition to a fully-fledged business”. According to Gerry, having so many businesses at different stages in their journey, who each possess different skillsets and expertise, is a major advantage as there is always someone knowledgeable to seek advice and support from.

Regarding the challenges that come with any start up business, Gerry admits that entrepreneurship “can be a very lonely pursuit”, but when you’re surrounded by people who you can share that journey with, “it makes it an awful lot easier and a lot more fun”. Finally, he stresses the importance of surrounding oneself with “likeminded people” who are there to encourage, support and advise.


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