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October 31, 2014

Millennials Launch Startups to Address Civic Problems

Millennials, those born in the early 1980s up to the early 2000s, are increasingly looking to start or join for-profit businesses with strong social missions, the National Journal reports. These companies are tackling issues ranging from education to transportation in a new way, and they are finding support from sources like the charitable arm of Blackstone Group.

One San Francisco incubator, Tummi, founded by Clara Brenner and Julie Lein, is dedicated to supporting start-ups that blend for-profit and civic objectives. Since summer 2013, Tummi has sponsored 17 different companies, giving them seed funding, a workspace, and professional connections.

Tummi has already had an impact. One of its start-up companies runs vans along the most crowded corridors in San Francisco, helping to make commutes go more smoothly. Another is working to streamline the preschool enrollment process.

Brenner and Lein see their company as a new form of civic engagement. "More money means more impact," said Brenner. "So making sure [these companies] have a robust revenue stream is critical to their ability to be good social entrepreneurs."