Welcome to Rolfe Larson Associates!

Rolfe Larson Associates helps mission-focused companies and enterprising nonprofits develop entrepreneurial strategies to increase impact and grow earned income. We provide guidance and direction on social enterprise strategies with services that include strategic plans, market research, feasibility studies and business plans. 

Rolfe Larson is the author of Venture Forth! the award-winning guide to social enterprise endorsed by the late Paul Newman of Newman's Own. Rolfe is also a professor at the University of Denver, where he teaches courses in social enterprise and nonprofit finance. Rolfe's educational background includes an MBA from the Yale School of Management and an undergraduate degree from Swarthmore College. 



Projects Completed



Years as university professor



People trained



Years in business

Project Examples

Greyston Foundation (business planning)

Greyston Bakery is the iconic social enterprise that for decades has provided training and employment to the underserved in Yonkers, a low-income area just north of NYC.  Greyston manufactures all the chocolate found in Ben & Jerry's ice creams.  We helped them to explore opportunities to launch another venture, to expand their impact and diversify outside the food services sector.  We helped them brainstorm and evaluate venture ideas, complete two feasibility studies, and then prepare a comprehensive business plan.  (See endorsement below.)

Wisconsin Public Radio (strategic planning)

We met regularly with WPR for more than a year to develop a strategic change plan at a time when they were facing major external and internal challenges.  This project, funded in part by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), was part of a larger project called Leadership for Philanthropy from the Development Exchange.  We guided them through a planning process that led to major changes in their priorities and strategies.  (See endorsement below.)

Naropa University (business planning)

We researched and wrote a business plan for a student and community counseling center, to provide counseling services to moderate income residents facing mental health challenges.  We studied local market conditions, competitors and models, and prepared recommendations for operations, pricing, marketing, positioning and structuring this venture, along with realistic financial projections.  The counseling center opened in 2014, and is still going strong!

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (business plan training)

Planned Parenthood hired us to present several webinars to their affiliates around the country, to help them explore and develop new business ventures to diversify their funding.  One special feature we incorporated was live collaboration between affiliates; another was online facilitation using an electronic white board to collectively plan specific venture ideas. 

Public Media Company (strategic planning, project management)

We provided consulting assistance to Public Media Company (formerly Public Radio Capital) for several years, in strategic planning, project management and implementation.  This work led to creation of a long term vision for public radio, and then a focused strategic plan to accomplish that vision, including goals and measurable outcomes for the next three years.  We also represented PMC in providing consulting services to public radio groups in Washington, Missouri, Wisconsin and Maryland. 

Minnesota Public Radio (senior manager)

Rolfe's direct management experience includes almost ten years as a senior manager at Minnesota Public Radio, where his responsibilities included developing and launching new business ventures. He took the lead in developing several successful ventures that generated millions of dollars of profit to support programming. One such business generated revenues of approximately $5 million per year; another earned a one-time profit of $850,000; a third generated profits exceeding $1 million over ten years.

Our Approach


We work closely and collaboratively with your organization, bringing in your perspective and expertise as well as our own. This approach leads to a consulting product that your organization "owns," which increases the odds of successful implementation. 


We collect and analyze external and internal data. We look for relevant data that agrees and conflicts with expectations. Openness to disconfirming data is important to successful business planning, helping the team identify strategies to address problems.


A key consulting goal of ours is to build your internal capacity. While we possess unique skills, we do not view our work as proprietary, and instead seek to transfer knowledge to your organization. Our goal is to help your organization become stronger, more resilient.  


Our approach is to keep you and your team completely informed about the research and analysis we are doing, the roadblocks we are encountering, the progress we are making.  Through regular emails and Zoom calls, we will keep you updated on our project and invite your participation in decision-making.  We are experts in providing brief, useful updates!

Affordable Pricing

We understand many organizations can not afford full-on consulting assistance, and may not reach out for help expecting a price tag well outside their range.  We do things differently! We pride ourselves in our ability to custom-design a project to meet your needs AND your budget. Let us know what you need and what you can afford, and we'll work with you to figure something out!


Many of us rush quickly into activities and decision-making, without taking a moment to get grounded, to listen within, to calm ourselves.  In contrast, we believe we do our best when we approach our work (and our relationships) with a sense of awareness of the present moment, and a feeling of gratitude for what we have, and what we can and will accomplish together. 


Rolfe helped us through all the steps of developing a strategic change plan during a very challenging time. He provided encouragement and guidance when we most needed it.

The most important emphasis he brought was to focus us on "transformative" change. We've been working on that ever since!

Mike Crane
Director of Radio, Wisconsin Public Radio

We hired Rolfe to provide research and analysis in support of development of our next social enterprise. Rolfe and his business partner provided excellent value to this project.

Rolfe has deep social enterprise experience. He is hard-working, insightful and easy to work with. We hired Rolfe again for the next phase of the project.

    Matt Shelley

Senior Vice President, Greyston Foundation

Rolfe is a wonderful instructor. You can tell he is passionate about the subject and that translates in the discussions and the course content. The ability to progress in knowledge throughout the course, on the way to the portfolio assignment, was a big plus for me personally.

I can confidently say that I learned a lot from Rolfe.

Graduate Student Course Evaluation
University of Denver

Our Team

Rolfe Larson

Principal Consultant

30 years direct
management and consulting experience working with social enterprises and nonprofits.

Peg Logan

Associate Consultant

25 years management experience working for social change organizations in the US, New Zealand, Japan and Costa Rica.

Paul Orosz

Technology Advisor

3+ decades computer and software experience; specializing in application development, technical support & hardware configuration. 

Blogs & stuff

Written by Rolfe Larson

Many people use the term social enterprise. A common thread is an organization that seeks to address social problems while selling goods and services. Think Goodwill thrift stores, Girl Scout cookies, Newman’s Own spaghetti sauce.

With this article, I'd like to describe what is (and what isn’t) a social enterprise. 
Read complete article

There are many theories why some social enterprises flourish while others languish. Is it leadership, business planning, funding or market timing that makes for a successful social enterprise?

To answer that question, we took a deep dive into what works and what doesn’t. Here's what we discovered.

Read complete article

Business plan competitions are all the rage in the social enterprise world. In many cities, funders seeking to nurture emerging social entrepreneurs have decided to go all in on the pitch, offering winners startup cash and technical assistance. Good idea, right?

We’re not so sure. Looking for perspective, we crowd-sourced this question to the online social enterprise community.

Read complete article

Rolfe Larson is the author of Venture Forth! the award-winning guide to social enterprise endorsed by the late Paul Newman of Newman's Own. Venture Forth has been used by countless entrepreneurial teams to develop a business plan or a business plan canvas, and by numerous college and graduate school programs as a teaching resource.

Download 1st Chapter of Venture Forth!

Thousands of nonprofits that use the marketplace to accomplish their social goals call themselves social enterprises. Thousands of for-profit companies also have big social goals. Yet these two groups barely talk with each other. Why is that?

Read complete article

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2370 Dexter Street
Denver CO 80207


Social Enterprise Strategies

Feasibility Studies

Business Plans

Strategic Plans



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