John Cronin, who co-founded John’s Crazy Socks, was named Entrepreneur of the Year by the Long Island Chapter of Entrepreneurs’ Organization on Thursday.
He earned the award for the founding of the company and leadership of the business that has created 39 jobs and earned more than $5 million last year. John is 23 and has Down Syndrome. The announcement of the award came on World Down Syndrome Day.
The Long Island chapter recognized John’s contributions by announcing this honor on World Down Syndrome Day. He has been a fierce advocate for the rights of people with differing abilities. He has testified twice before the U.S. Congress and has been a frequent visitor on Capitol Hill, meeting with legislators on issues ranging from eliminating the sub-minimum wage to eliminating the marriage penalty for people with a disability.
“I am grateful for this honor,” said John. “I work very hard in my business. I want everyone to know that I have Down syndrome, but Down syndrome never holds me back.”
“John is an inspiration to entrepreneurs everywhere. He took his passions and created a successful and impactful business – inspiring others with differing abilities to find purpose in their lives – and this is why we have chosen him as our 2019 Entrepreneur of the Year,” said Stephen Distante, Entrepreneurs’ Organization NY Long Island chapter president.
John started John’s Crazy Socks with his father, Mark X. Cronin, in the fall of 2016. John had entered his last year of school at Huntington High School and had begun looking at his options after graduation. A natural entrepreneur, he suggested to his father that they go into business together. John had the idea to sell socks because he had long worn crazy socks. “They let me be me,” says John.
John and his father opened their online store in 2016 and immediately began receiving orders. They made hand deliveries of those orders, adding candy and a hand- written thank you note from John to each order. The two men have gone on to create a social enterprise: a business model with both a social and business mission. “We have a goal to spread happiness,” says John.
Part of their mission is to show what people with differing abilities can do. More than half the employees (23) at John’s Crazy Socks have a differing ability. The company makes videos to show the world what their staff can do and hosts school tours and work groups. As the face of the company and the chief happiness officer, John leads the tours and is featured in the videos. John and Mark have spoken across the U.S., Canada and Mexico and are part of the U.S. State Department’s Speakers’ Bureau.
The Entrepreneurs’ Organization is a global business network of 13,000 entrepreneurs in 186 chapters and 58 countries.
The Long Island Chapter was founded in 2018 and recruits like-minded Long Island based entrepreneurs ready to grow their business while connecting and learning from the world’s most influential community of entrepreneurs. More Info can be found here: www.eolongisland.org