“One arena where American start-up firms’ numbers have increased in recent years, rather than shrunk, is the space called “social entrepreneurship” – at the crossroads between profit-based growth and not-for-profit ideals of changing the world for the better.
One face of the trend is Revolution Foods, a company founded by two mothers – Kristin Groos Richmond and Kirsten Saenz Tobey – in 2006. The motive was to give American children access to healthier school lunches and, more broadly, help transform American eating habits. But to achieve that goal they had to deliver at a price schools could afford – while making a profit. By 2012 they had $54 million in annual revenue and 942 employees.
It’s hard to say exactly how many for-profit firms have been founded in recent years by people explicitly putting social good alongside profit as a top objective. But here’s one peripheral indicator: In the database of US newspaper and news wire services collected by the firm Nexis, the phrase “social entrepreneurship” cropped up in only a handful of articles in the early 1990s. That rose to hundreds in the early 2000s, and thousands since 2006.”