Young Irish self-starter wins award in Ben & Jerry’s sustainable business contest

5 Sep 2012

John Egan, founder and managing director of Archipelago

John Egan, the founder of Archipelago, the not-for-profit community of young entrepreneurs in Ireland and the UK, has scooped an award in the ‘Join Our Core’ competition organised by the ice-cream giant Ben & Jerry’s to seek out new models for sustainable business.

The competition was open to young self-starters in Ireland, the UK, the Netherlands, Denmark and Sweden to pinpoint businesses in these countries that are making a difference in their communities.

Join Our Core got almost 200 entries before 15 finalists were picked by a judging panel that included Ben & Jerry’s co-founder Jerry Greenfield.

The competition had its final leg in Uganda, when the finalists worked with the development charity VSO to carry out a week-long set of tasks living and working alongside local Fairtrade farmers and entrepreneurs.

Egan from Archipelago was selected as one of the five winners, with the others being Rubies in the Rubble from the UK, Mattecentrum from Sweden, Play31 from Denmark and Fairmail from the Netherlands.

The five winners will now get a €10,000 cash prize, mentoring for their business from Ashoka, the global organisation for social entrepreneurs, plus they will feature on a Ben & Jerry’s flavour tub in 2013.

Egan said the award would help accelerate Archipelago’s European expansion and to help promote what he termed “effective hybrid business models” to a generation of young leaders.

Headed up by Egan, Archipelago is a community that runs events such as its Archie Talks series, as well as think tanks and community and social platforms, to help young entrepreneurs build and grow companies.

Egan is also one of the Dublin ambassadors for the Sandbox Network, the global community of young achievers and leaders under the age of 30.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic