Archipelago scoops David Manley emerging entrepreneur award

18 Jan 2013

Dr Chris Horn, chair of the David Manley Awards' judging panel; John Egan of Archipelago; and Michael Kearney, manager, Irish national rugby team

Archipelago, a not-for-profit start-up to help create a community for young entrepreneurs in Ireland, has won the top prize in this year’s David Manley Emerging Entrepreneur Awards.

It was a casual pub conversation between friends that led John Egan and Steven Menton to set up Archipelago in 2010 as a platform to help forge a community of young entrepreneurs in Ireland and reduce the brain-drain of talented young people from the country.

Since then, Archipelago has been holding monthly ‘Archie Talks’ events in Dublin as well as courses and programmes. 

The aim of the not-for-profit is to promote entrepreneurship among under-35-year-olds through events, think tanks and community and social platforms.

“What is innovative about our programmes is our financial discipline and sustainability,” explained Menton. “Every project has two revenue streams; one to cover costs and the other to reinvest in the community.”

At such Archie Talks events, one self-starter is chosen by the audience to win what Egan and Menton call ‘gate receipts’. This includes a €3,000 prize, plus communications advice and workshops.

For 2013, the duo plan to expand the Archie Talks series to other cities around Ireland. Egan and Menton are also planning an enterprise education initiative, with the aim of making Ireland the global capital of youth innovation.

Incidentally, Egan is also one of the Dublin ambassadors for Sandbox, the global network for young innovators under the age of 30. The Dublin Sandbox hub launched last April.

For winning the David Manley emerging entrepreneur award, Egan and Menton get a €10,000 prize as well as a mentoring package worth more than €100,000.

The other winners this year were Ronan Clarke from Smart Wall Paint who won in the Emerging Business Entrepreneur category. Laura Dovn and Ben Readman from BLOCK T won the Emerging Arts Entrepreneur category.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic