When you think of famous entrepreneurs, you might think of Bill Gates or Oprah Winfrey. Forbes would say that it’s with good reason, too. I, however, think of someone else. Two someone elses who are my all-time favorite famous entrepreneurs - Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield. Maybe you aren’t familiar with them, but I’m certain it’s the use of their full name that’s throwing you. Ben & Jerry (ah, now you know) rank the highest on my personal list of favorite famous entrepreneurs.
Ben and Jerry met in junior high school in Merrick, Long Island. Their friendship grew into a business partnership when they decided to make ice cream after taking a $5.00 correspondence class from Penn State in ice cream making. The first Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlor opened up in Burlington, Vermont in 1978.
The history of the company is more entertaining than most with a timeline that includes not one, but two, cow mobiles, and a lawsuit filed against Pillsbury which prompted the “What’s the Doughboy Afraid Of?” campaign (hee-hee). Ben & Jerry’s famous ice cream flavors are wacky, fun, and laden with clever, though sometimes corny, creativity and are usually inspired by real people.
What makes these world famous entrepreneurs appealing isn’t just their inspiring start from every day people to business tycoons, or the delicious array of full-flavored, low fat, and even sugar free ice cream flavors, but their devotion to social and environmental issues. From children to farmers, Ben & Jerry has supported many causes over the years and was even acknowledged by President Reagan as 1988 US Small Business Persons of the Year.
The business has grown into a multi-million dollar company with franchises worldwide. Following their tradition, started at the very beginning, there is a national free scoop day once each year. This is a day where anyone can have a little piece of heaven on earth for free for as long as it takes to lick up a scoop.