Philanthropy, Fundraising, & Community Outreach

Tag: Benefit Corporations

Trevor Marca: Resources for Social Entrepreneurship

Resources To Help Social Entrepreneurs

Ask any entrepreneur, and they will tell you that finding success is difficult. For social entrepreneurs, though, success may be even more difficult to find. In addition to all the normal struggles that entrepreneurs face, social entrepreneurs also attempt to make a positive impact with their work—no easy task. If you want to be a social entrepreneur, the below tips will help you develop your business and find success.

B Lab – Impact Assessment Tool

B Lab is a non-profit organization founded in 2009. The company’s goal is to help social entrepreneurs and issue B Corporation certification to companies who score well on B Lab’s social impact assessment. While there is an annual fee associated with maintaining B Corporation certification, B Lab’s Impact Assessment Tool is free for any company to use. The B Lab site has many examples of B-Reports which can be used as references for creating a business that has a social impact.

Ashoka

Ashoka has been supporting social entrepreneurs for 35 years through fellowships. The fellows are able to use the grant money to support themselves while they work full time on their business. At the moment “more than 3,000 Ashoka Fellows [are] implementing system-changing solutions to human and environmental problems in 89 countries” (About Ashoka). Becoming an Ashoka Fellow is not an easy task. There are at least five phases to the selection process, and the business idea has to be truly innovative. However, the site also features inspiring stories and insightful articles that every social entrepreneur will find helpful.

NYU Speaker Series

Social entrepreneurship is the focus of the Catherine B. Reynolds Speaker Series. Entrepreneurs located in the NYC area should make a point of going to one of the discussions—they’re free and anyone can attend. The events can also be downloaded for free via iTunes. In the past, John Mackey (Whole Foods Market), Elie Wiesel (Elie Wiesel Foundation for Humanity), and Seth Goldman (Honest Tea) have participated in the series. Many other universities around the country have similar events, so if you don’t live in the NYC, you might still be able to attend an event in person.

Unreasonable Institute

The Unreasonable Institute “provide[s] entrepreneurs what they need to create scalable solutions to the world’s greatest problems” (We Believe). Entrepreneurs can apply for the chance to attend an “accelerator” program. Some of the programs are short (5 days) while other programs last for weeks. Entrepreneurs who participate in a program get the chance to speak with mentors and learn about numerous topics like raising capital and strategic planning.

Trevor Marca: 3 Companies That Have A Positive Impact On The World

3 Companies That Have A Positive Impact On The World

In recent years the concept of social entrepreneurship has become increasingly popular in the business world. A benefit corporation is a new type of corporate entity that relates to social entrepreneurship. Here is the definition of benefit corporations as it appears on Benefitcorp.net:

A benefit corporation is a new legal tool to create a solid foundation for long term mission alignment and value creation. It protects mission through capital raises and leadership changes, creates more flexibility when evaluating potential sale and liquidity options, and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO. (FAQ)

Certified B corporations are similar to benefit corporations, but there are a few differences that stand out. The most important difference is that in order to become a B Corp a company must have their performance assessed by B Lab. B Lab rates companies based on categories like environment and community.

This post will take a look at three of the most well-known benefit corporations and certified B corporations. Keep reading to learn how these companies are having a positive impact on the world.

Etsy

Etsy is a popular online marketplace that specializes in vintage and handmade items. It is also one of the first B Corps to go public. In order to become a certified B corporation, a company must receive a score between 80 and 200. Etsy currently has a score of 127. Etsy defines itself as a “mindful, transparent, and humane business” (Mission & Values). The company particularly prides itself on its concern for the environment. It helps the environment by setting carbon reduction goals and employing waste reduction practices throughout its offices. The median score that B Lab gives for its environment category is 7. This year Etsy scored a 14.

KickStarter

Kickstarter is a crowdfunding website that was launched in 2009. The site focuses on helping artists and businesses fund their creative ventures. So far the company has helped backers pledge $2.6 billion (About). Kickstarter’s charter features multiple sections that outline the company’s commitment to making a positive impact on the world. For example, one section says “Kickstarter will annually donate 5% of its after-tax profit towards arts and music education, and to organizations fighting to end systemic inequality as further defined in sections 4(c) and 5(c) below (the “5% pledge”)” (Charter). Starting in 2017, the company will release benefit statements that measure the results of its initiatives.

Patagonia

Patagonia is another certified B Corp. The company was founded in 1973 by Yvon Chouinard, a rock climber and environmentalist. Patagonia uses “environmentally preferred” materials to make its clothing (B Corp). Environmentally preferred means that the materials are organic or recycled. As a result of its commitment to the environment, the company has an environment score of 35 and a total score of 114. Patagonia has an entire section of its site devoted to corporate responsibility. It lists information on the company’s attitude toward working with factories, the company’s stance on migrant workers, and the company’s environmental impact. To learn more about the “activist company,” visit this page.

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