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All for Profit and Profiting for All

College students are starting for-profit companies that promote social causes.

This story appears in the June 2009 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

are known for their progressive thinking and desire to make the world a better place. Now, some are pushing past theoretical ideas and taking steps to put their money where their mouth is by starting for- companies that promote .

While studying abroad in Paris during his junior year at Drexel University, Timothy Ericson was impressed by the environmentally friendly bicycle-sharing system he encountered. After doing some research, Ericson learned that the program had 20,600 bicycles, 1,451 stations and more than 42 million users, and he saw an opportunity to take the concept back home and make some money while promoting a healthier environment. "Hopping on a bicycle to go to school and work would be a great convenience for me," says Ericson, 23. "But beyond the convenience factor, this system reduces carbon emissions, which is something I believe in strongly."

The and Entrepreneur are proud to announce Entrepreneur magazine's Entrepreneur of 2009 awards. We're awarding three winners: an established owner, an emerging business (less than four years in business) and a college entrepreneur. For more info and to enter, go to or The winners will be featured in Entrepreneur and honored at a luncheon in Miami in January 2010. The deadline to enter is June 15, 2009.
Building a company with staying power was important to Ericson, so he and his co-founders, James Perkins, 25, and Jason Meinzer, 26, opted to incorporate CityRyde as a for-profit entity when it launched in 2007. "You have to make green to go green," Ericson says. "We knew we needed to have a model that allowed us to sustain the business while still helping us save the environment." After a year of planning and development, Philadelphia-based CityRyde has positioned itself as an authoritative bike-sharing consulting firm, offering services to companies across the U.S. and projecting sales of $1.1 million this year.

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