The idea that entrepreneurs can change the world is central to Inc.'s mission, but the sentiment can be overstated. Witness how early episodes of HBO's Silicon Valley lampooned the bloated pledges of certain tech founders: "Making the world a better place, through minimal message-oriented transport layers."
At Inc., we don't dismiss good business ideas, even if they don't lend themselves to snappy slogans. And yet it's inspiring to see companies swing for the fences. Our May issue focuses on businesses that are tackling big, complex issues that affect everyone. Executive director of editorial Jon Fine identified four key areas in need of innovation: climate change; community; food and drink; and health. He and his team then found the companies--some big, most small--that are pushing fresh approaches and creating the industries of the future.
The findings are momentous. The "synbio" firms profiled by San Francisco bureau chief Jeff Bercovici are truly poised to change the world. They are using revolutionary technology to overhaul wasteful industries--from fish feed to fertilizer--and dramatically cut down on carbon emissions.
Our cover story documents bold changes on tap for one of the great restaurant success stories of the 21st century. Sweetgreen was launched more than a decade ago by three Georgetown grads. It has grown to 90 locations and posts impressive profit margins, all while emphasizing food that is healthy and sustainable. But, as editor-at-large Burt Helm writes, these founders are hardly standing still. Through their story, Helm raises the question tugging at many businesses: Should we too become a tech company?
This issue also highlights entrepreneurs from Inc.'s annual list of Rising Stars: 30 founders under the age of 30 who we think will make it big. We especially want to thank our expert panel of judges who helped select this talented crew: Michael Dubin, co-founder and CEO of Dollar Shave Club; Melinda Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and investor at Pivotal Ventures; Pooneh Mohajer, co-founder and CEO of global lifestyle brand Tokidoki; Tina Sharkey, co-founder and CEO of Brandless; and Laura Behrens Wu, co-founder and CEO of Shippo, an enterprise shipping platform, who herself was named an Inc. Rising Star in 2017. For the complete list of Rising Stars, visit inc.com/rising-stars-2019. Then sit back and watch the world change.