2023 Press Releases All Stories

WCSU Macricostas Entrepreneurs of the Year announced: Celebration Breakfast on March 29, tickets on sale now

(l-r): Erik Landegren and Jonathan Soares
(l-r): Erik Landegren and Jonathan Soares
(l-r): Erik Landegren and Jonathan Soares

DANBURY, Connecticut — Western Connecticut State University announced that Erik Landegren, founder and owner of Bridgewater Chocolate, and Jonathan Soares, founder and CEO of Agency Labs, will receive the 2020 and 2022 (respectively) Constantine S. Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year Award at a celebration breakfast on Wednesday, March 29, 2023.

The WCSU Macricostas Entrepreneur of the Year Breakfast will be held from 7:15 – 9:30 a.m. on March 29 at the Ethan Allen Hotel, 21 Lake Ave. Extension, in Danbury. Tickets are $35 per person and $300 for a table of nine (a WCSU student will round out the table) and are available at wcsu.edu/giving. Networking with area business and community members kicks off the morning, followed by breakfast and presentations from the honorees. This event is supported by Constantine S. and Marie C. Macricostas and the Macricostas Family Foundation. At the award breakfast, Landegren and Soares will share their entrepreneurial journeys and insights.

2020 honoree Erik Landegren, whose honoring was postponed due to the pandemic, founded and then expanded Bridgewater Chocolate into a world-wide sensation. Before that, he grew up outside of Stockholm, Sweden, and received his academic education at the University of Denver, Hotel and Restaurant Management program, and his culinary education at the Opera Cellar in conjunction with the Swedish Royal Palace in Stockholm. After several years of gaining experience from top restaurants in Europe, Landegren moved to the United States to open the critically acclaimed restaurant Aquavit in New York City in 1987.

Chocolate, Landegren’s true passion, became a business in 1995 when he moved to Bridgewater, Connecticut, and founded Bridgewater Chocolate. He credits the success of Bridgewater Chocolate to a well-thought out blend of European culinary traditions combined with innovative American ideas. With growing demand, Landegren joined forces with Andrew Blauner in 1999 and they have continued to create and invent new products that fulfill the highest expectations of their customers. Today Bridgewater Chocolate distributes its confections throughout the world, with the bulk of sales coming through mail-order and corporate sales. Retail outlets are in Brookfield, Westport and West Hartford. Bridgewater Chocolate has been awarded “Most Outstanding Overall Food Product” by The Connecticut Specialty Food Association and has been featured numerous times on The Food Network as well as other national media.

2022 Honoree and WCSU alumnus Jonathan Soares ’06 is the founder and CEO of Agency Labs, a technology studio that he launched in 2012. Based in Connecticut, his firm is a trusted engineering partner to some of the world’s largest companies. Over the past 10 years, the Agency Labs team has advised on and built more than 500 enterprise websites, mobile applications and custom software solutions for companies and universities including AIG, Boehringer Ingelheim, Brookfield Asset Management, Cognizant, Comcast, Ebay, Ford, Hilton, IBM, Nestle, Pratt & Whitney, Ritz Carlton, Samsung, Nestle, Duke University and Yale University.

Prior to Agency Labs, Soares was the founder & CEO of Q Products, a natural foods company he founded in 2005 at the age of 21, while a senior at WCSU. His flagship brand, “Jonathan’s Q Gourmet BBQ Sauces” was launched nationally into more than 15,000 supermarkets, club stores and retail outlets across North America. Soares discovered his entrepreneurial spirit while earning his B.B.A in Marketing at Western Connecticut State University, and credits his professors with giving him advice and guidance as he began his journey as an entrepreneur.

Western Connecticut State University designates the Entrepreneur of the Year award annually to recognize local business leaders whose drive, intelligence and creativity lead to notable business success. The program’s benefactor is Constantine “Deno” Macricostas, the founder of Photronics Inc., in Brookfield, who is a longtime supporter of WCSU and its students. The university’s Macricostas School of Arts & Sciences is named after the Macricostas family.

For more information, contact WCSU Institutional Advancement at (203) 837-9820 and foundationevents@wcsu.edu or WCSU Public Relations at pr@wcsu.edu.



Western Connecticut State University changes lives by providing all students with a high-quality education that fosters their growth as individuals, scholars, professionals and leaders in a global society. Our vision: To be widely recognized as a premier public university with outstanding teachers and scholars who prepare students to contribute to the world in a meaningful way.