Jerry Greenfield, co-founder of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream, will be the keynote speaker for this year’s EntreFEST, set for May 16 and 17.
The ice cream business he and Ben Cohen started with one storefront in Burlington, Vt., in 1978 grew into a $300 million household name.
The pair sold the business to Unilever for more than $325 million in 2000.
Along with building up their ice cream empire, they developed a reputation as humanitarians. In 1993, they were awarded the James Beard Humanitarians of the Year and, four years later, the Peace Museum’s Community Peacemakers of the Year.
The Council on Economic Priorities 2 presented Ben and Jerry’s the Corporate Giving Award in 1988 for donating 7.5 percent of its pre-tax profits to not-for-profit organizations through the Ben and Jerry’s Foundation. In 1988, the U.S. Small Business Administration named Greenfield and Cohen the U.S. Small Business Persons of the Year.
Greenfield remains active in Ben and Jerry’s, but also is involved in with the Institute for Sustainable Communities, Businesses for Social Responsibility and TrueMajority, a progressive advocacy organization, according to a news release from EntreFEST.
EntreFEST is a two-day conference focused on helping start-ups share ideas. The annual event is produced by NewBoCo and presented by the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, and supported by the city of Cedar Rapids and Renew Rural Iowa.
Greenfield will be joined by almost nearly 50 other speakers at this year’s event, the release said. Among the speakers will be Sumaia Masoom, an innovator who works at Visa, has written for the Huffington Post and is involved in a number of social initiatives; Antoinette Stevens, who founded Reboot Iowa to help low-income adults explore ways technology can help them; and Raygun chain founder and owner Mike Draper.
For more details on EntreFEST, go to entrefest.com.