Josh Davis and Bruno Tropeano struggled when they first started Gelato Fiasco in 2007—banks were confused by the idea of gelato, and the economy collapsed just months after the company launched in fall of 2008. 

“We were just able to hang on long enough for more people to hear about us,” Davis said.

Five years, 1,200 flavors, and 100,000 gallons of Maine milk later, Davis and Tropeano found themselves featured on the 2012 Empact100 list. They are Maine’s only representatives, and will be recognized for their achievement at a White House ceremony on September 28. 

According to Gelato Fiasco’s press release, the Empact100 list is comprised of the top 100 companies in the Empact Showcase, a compilation of the United States’ leading entrepreneurs age 30 and under whose annual revenues are more than $100,000. 

In 2012, companies on the list contributed more than 8,000 jobs to the economy and controlled $1 billion in revenue. “We are proud to represent Maine, proud to be young entrepreneurs, and proud to be chosen for such a prestigious event,” Davis said. 

Today, Gelato Fiasco employs 36 people across its retail and wholesale business, operates in seven states and is sold at more than 200 grocery stores and restaurants across New England. Davis credits the company’s relationship with Bowdoin as one of the major reasons for its success.

“Half of our schedule is based on when Bowdoin students and their parents are in town,” Davis said.