MONROE — There’s a lot of cackling and some crowing going on at Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs where co-founder and self-described “CEyOlk” Jesse Laflamme was recently named an Ernst & Young 2019 New England Entrepreneur of the Year.
Laflamme was one of 11 businesspeople from the region, and the only one from New Hampshire, to be recognized by EY during a gala event held June 26 at The Westin Boston Waterfront hotel in Massachusetts. Pete and Gerry's is based in Monroe, a small town in Grafton County near the Vermont border.
Laflamme and all regional honorees are eligible for the Entrepreneur of the Year national awards. Award winners in several national categories, as well as the Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall Award winner, will be announced in Palm Springs, Calif., on Nov. 16. The Entrepreneur of the Year National Overall Award winner will compete for the EY World Entrepreneur of the Year Award in Monaco in June 2020.
Since 1986, EY, which is headquartered in London, England, “has honored entrepreneurs whose ingenuity, spirit of innovation and discipline have driven their companies’ success, transformed their industries and made a positive impact on their communities,” the company said in a prepared statement.
EY said that the Entrepreneur of The Year “makes a difference through the way it encourages entrepreneurial activity among those with potential and recognizes the contribution of people who inspire others with their vision, leadership and achievement. As the first and only truly global awards program of its kind, Entrepreneur of The Year celebrates those who are building and leading successful, growing and dynamic businesses, recognizing them through regional, national and global awards programs in more than 145 cities in more than 60 countries.”
EY called Pete and Gerry’s Organic Eggs “a values-led company dedicated to humane treatment of animals and supporting small family farms who follow the strictest standards of humane animal treatment, safety, and environmental sustainability.”
Pete and Gerry’s became the first certified humane egg producer in the U.S. in 2003, and a decade later it was the first egg producer in the world to achieve Certified B-Corporation status, said EY. As a “B Corp,” Pete and Gerry’s has its operations audited biennially for sustainable business practices and social and environmental performance.
Pete and Gerry’s, EY said, “believes hens deserve a safe, comfortable place to live a happy, healthy life — and that family farmers deserve the right to keep their lands and livelihoods without having to resort to unhealthy factory-farm practices.”
“We’ve worked hard to build a company that provides a better egg to consumers, a better life for hens and a better production model for America’s small family farmers,” said Laflamme, promising to continue those efforts in the future.
Debra von Storch, director of EY Americas Entrepreneur of the Year program, said, “There are many successful entrepreneurs in this world, but to build something truly remarkable you can’t let anything stand in your way. EY is proud to honor the 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year winners who are inspiring innovation without limitation and fueling growth and prosperity by being truly unstoppable.”
Paul Turbeville, vice president of marketing at Pete and Gerry’s, on Tuesday said the EY award “is validation from one of the most trusted professional services firms in the world that we are running a business with a strong strategy and top-notch execution while also delivering on our mission of restoring small family egg farming in the U.S.”
Currently, Pete and Gerry’s partners with over 120 family farms in 13 states, said Turbeville. Pete and Gerry’s eggs are distributed in all 50 states, he added, and can be found in over 55% of all retailers. In 2019, Pete and Gerry’s expects to “cross $200 million in annual revenue with strong double-digit growth,” said Turbeville.