Archipelago

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Archipelago

Dublin, IrelandDublin, Ireland
Organization type: 
for profit
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Archipelago is one of the largest communities of young entrepreneurs in Western Europe. We help young people create sophisticated businesses through events, think tanks and crowd sourced funding initiatives.

We are a community of young entrepreneurs helping each other build and fund innovative companies. In the last 6 months, we have facilitated over 300,000 euros in investment and 150,000 euros in prizes. Our events have reached over one million people, 10,000 people have watched our videos on YouTube, and over 8,000 people have joined our network.

We have created an environment in Ireland where enterprise is now a viable alternative to youth unemployment and emigration. People should vote for Archipelago because we are making enterprise accessible to a forgotten generation of Irish economic talent. We are having a fundamental impact on an economy that has forced many of its brightest young people to emigrate. We are the protagonists of a generation standing up for ourselves, defining the parameters of our own environment and actively designing the Ireland we live in. Archipelago is a community representative, not of the leaders of tomorrow, but of the leaders of today.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Due to systemically high levels of emigration, Ireland is not a country with a history of celebrating it's youth or their endevours. Once again, Ireland is suffering high levels of youth unemployment and generational exodus; An entire demographic of solutions and perspectives are leaving Ireland - many will never return and no one is working to curate their collective experience. Young people have few options and fewer role models. Enterprise needs to be a legitimate career choice for young Irish people

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Archipelago is a community that works to develop, facilitate and profile the achievements of young Irish leaders in enterprise. Our explicit goal is to create an environment in Ireland conducive to the facilitation of young entrepreneurs. Through events, think tanks & community building Archipelago legitimises a latent economic presence the country never knew it had. Our events have domestic awareness of over 200,000 people. We give all our gate receipts away to one start-up at every event, we run a weekly twitter boost for one new start-up to help them build profile, we run community gettogethers & problem solving retreats, we host investor pitches for those seeking funding, organise mentoring work shops with established business leaders, use google hangouts to foster relationships between Irish entrepreneurs and industry peers in the UK and Europe. We draw attention and investment to the protagonists of a youth movement changing the way Ireland works.
Sustainability

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Competitor: Dublin Web Summit Strengths: Established. Weaknesses: Extremely expensive We’re different because: We’re not just tech focussed Competitor: University Seminars Strengths: Large Network. Weaknesses: Poorly Publicised We’re different because: We’re not limited to one university Competitor: Enterprise Summits Strengths: Well funded Weaknesses: Poor engagement We’re different because: Our target audience is younger Competitor: Enterprise Boards Strengths: First Contact Weaknesses: Poor Quality We’re different because: They have no community Competitor: HBAN Strengths: Premier Investment Network Weaknesses: “Hit & Hope” We’re different because: We don’t charge, we’re more than just investment These orgs have never impinged on our opperations
About You
Organization:
Archipelago
Background Information
First Name

John

Last Name

Egan

The competition is only open to people between 18-34 years-old and resident in UK, Ireland, Sweden, Denmark or the Netherlands. Does this apply to you

Yes.

Country of residence of entrepreneur

Ireland

Tell us about your personal background. Why are you passionate about this issue? Making an idea a reality takes innovation, dedication and strong leadership. Do you have the necessary entrepreneurial skills to realize your vision?

I am a socially inclined, 27 year old, Irish, serial entrepreneur and débrouillard. I sold my first company at 20 and went on to start a further 6 companies and organisations over the following 6 years. I have an academic background in Finance and Econometrics and have worked in finance both in Europe and the US. I am the founder of The Archie Talks, The Daedalus project, EnergySolve, Curia and Archipelago, one of the largest communities of young entrepreneurs in Western Europe. I am the Irish ambassador to ICUE, an Ashoka Change Executive, A World Economic Forum Young Global Shaper and the Dublin Ambassador to Sandbox.

My focus is on creating commercially sustainable social organisations, enterprising cities and mechanisms for measuring qualitative impact. I coined the term "Zero Dollar Ecosystems" referring to engaged, no capital communities, particularly within local enterprise. I am currently working with a number of the world's premier youth organisations to make Ireland an international capital of youth innovation by 2015. I regularly speak on the design of enterprising cities and I also write for a number of Irish business and finance publications. I keep an archive of published articles, ideas and essays on my blog www.iamjohnegan.com

I am particularly passionate about the issue of youth enterprise for 3 reasons

1) I’m part of the generation of young people in Ireland most severely affected by the economic environment. Youth unemployment and emigration are among the highest in Europe. Enterprise can be a legitimate alternative to both.
2) I believe in enterprise as one of the most effective mechanisms for individual expression. Giving young people the opportunity to challenge themselves and innovate within an enterprising environment is socially progressive and financially sensible.
3) Ireland is a country in need of solutions and role models, particularly the generation of people between 20 and 30. A generation quickly becoming a forgotten generation , if we do not stand up to save ourselves, we can’t expect anyone else to do it for us. Entrepreneurs are the cultural icons of a zeitgeist; designing a society that facilitates their development is imperative.

About Your Organization
Organization Name

Archipelago

Organization Country

, DB, Dublin

Country where this project is creating social impact

, DB, Dublin

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Innovation
The Model: Walk us through a specific example of how your solution makes a difference; include your primary activities

The Model:
A community defined by interaction points - Events, Investment, Advisory, Mentorship, Access, Profile. The community does not charge for membership - all elements are free and open to any young person who wishes to start or has started their own business. All revenue stems from sponsorships or charging external corporate partners fee's to access the community base

How it makes a difference:
Archipelago has made a difference to its members a number of ways; When a speaker appears at our talks we do a number of things to raise their profiles - we get them national press, radio and TV spots, we also video their talk and promote it digitally thereafter.
We have facilitated the investment of over €300k into Irish start-ups through investor matching and pitch events - we do not charge for this
We run private pitch your problem events where start-up can talk about their biggest problems and have them solved by a room full of their peers in a trusting environment

Primary Activities:
Archie Talks: The Archie Talks are run every 4-6 weeks, showcasing the stories of young entrepreneurial speakers and their companies. The events primary revenue stream is sponsorship. At every event, we give the total sum of our gate receipts to one start up - decided by public vote

Investors: We run pitch events once a quarter where young companies looking to fundraise get access to a private group of 20+ investors - we do not charge start-up for this

Pitch your problem: Most young start-ups encounter similar problems. Pitch your problem events allow a group of peers to work on behalf of one another in a positive collaborative environment

Profile: We constantly seek to develop the profile of our members in national media and online publications. We have established contacts with business magazines and national print press. We build all our press releases around the companies and their founders in stead of ourselves and make our newsletter about local start-up news and the community

Advisory:
We have two methods of advisory. Once a month we get an established business person to give 30-60 minutes of their time to talk to small groups of start-ups about what they're doing.
We also use google hangouts so that groups of 10 founders can discuss issues and opportunities with established professionals from overseas

Our focus is on community building, i.e an environment that fosters collaboration, interaction and mutual growth among peers. We define the parameters within which this community develops but we don not charge or control the membership.

Select the stage that best applies to your business

Operating for 1-5 years

Social Impact
What is the social impact you have had to date and how you measure it?

We are the largest community of young entrepreneurs in Ireland and the UK (8,000 subscribed, 340 members)
We have facilitated over €300,000 of seed investment though our pitch events
We have reached over 800,000 people collectively through the Archie Talks events
We have had 10,000 people look at our videos
We have raised over €60,000 in sponsorship in 6 months
We have given away over €5,000 to start-ups
We have brought over 30 young entrepreneurs from over seas to Ireland to share their experiences
Our site gets over 500 unique visitors a day
We have brought the international consortium of university entrepreneurs and Sandbox to Ireland

What barriers might hinder the success of your business? How do you plan to overcome them?

Barrier 1: Funding
We need to develop more ways to accept sponsorships
Some of our current proposals include
A sponsored app
Sponsored Hangouts
Sponsored young leaders section
Awards Program

We are also in the process of developing a start-up funding platform that will sustain itself. The platform will be a crowd sourced funding mechanism for early stage start-up unable to access bank funding

Barrier 2: Scale
How do we develop a model that can be scaled nationally
Solution - digital migration. Over the next year we will further develop our online platforms, principally for the purposes of national scaling.

Sustainability
How does your model address financial, social, and environmental sustainability?

Financial Sustainability: In the space of 6 months we have raised over €60,000 in sponsorship, sold over €10,000 of tickets and facilitated over €300,000 in investment. We believe our financial sustainability rests with our ability to accelerate the rate of sponsorships in order to build revenue generating models through crowd funding, investments and advertising

Social: The development of a community structure necessitates that we continuously act in the best interests of our community, failure to do so would result in the eventual redundance of the organisation. We monitor our effectiveness in the community primarily through our event analytics - how much coverage, how many ticket sales, how quickly they sold out and how many customers are recurring. We also monitor our social media interactions and video views which are hugely helpful indicators of community sustainability and growth.

Environmental: At this point in time, we are relatively unique within our space. Environmental sustainability relies on our maintaining our usefulness. We begin our podcast series in 2 weeks time which has been created specifically with developing our ability to assist the community in mind

Awareness & learning
How do you see social entrepreneurship contributing to the improvement of developing countries?

Social enterprise targets & serves the largest economic markets in the world. There are 3 billion people without access to proper sanitary facilities, 1.6 billion without access to grid electricity, 1 billion with to access to clean water. Population growth has meant that bottom of the pyramid innovation is the most important economic challenge of our time.

Social entrepreneurship is a bridging mechanism between the developing and developed wold. It is a particularly efficient method of transferring skills and technologies, ideas and solutions. Many social problems are homogeneous and solutions are often replicable in other geographies.

Social enterprise is, by it's nature, communal, inclusive & focused on the design of solutions for people centred problems. It requires participants to do a lot with a little, focus on impact & be constantly resourceful. I believe that social enterprise will become a primary instigator of civic innovation

What aspects of your stay in Uganda as part of the competition do you think you will find most challenging and rewarding?

Challenging:
1) Cultural context - it's difficult to get a sense of the social, environmental & cultural context of a country in a short space of time
2) Being relevant - If I got the opportunity to travel to Uganda, I would hope that the time I spent there would be relevant & beneficial to the people I interact with despite linguistic or cultural differences
3) The activities: I assume that the work itself will be challenging, both at a physical & interactive level. It is always a challenge to represent you & those you represent in a positive way especially when you put yourself in an unfamiliar situation

Rewarding:
1) I am fascinated to see how an established corporate entity like Ben & Jerry's develop socially sustainable commercial entities in a developing country in a civicly responsible way
2) The prospect of meeting & working with talented, ambitious, civically inclined changemakers within my peer group is very exciting