The business started as a homemade ice cream parlor in a dilapidated former gas station in 1978 on an initial investment of $8,000. Over the years Ben served as chef, route salesman, CEO, Director of Sales and Marketing, new flavor development specialist, and Chairman. Ben and his partner Jerry were awarded the Small Business Person of the Year award in 1988. By 1999 the enterprise had grown with annual sales volume of over $250 million and 700 employees. Ben had become a pioneer in the area of socially responsible business.
The Wall Street Journal recognized Ben and Jerry's as having one of the top ten corporate reputations in the United States.
Ben is President of Business Leaders for Sensible Priorities and its TrueMajority campaign and is also the Chairman of two social venture capital funds: The Barred Rock Fund, and Hot Fudge Ventures, which started SweatX, a sweatshop free clothing factory in Los Angeles that is unionized and pays a livable wage.