Benefit Corporations

Benefit corporations (B-Corps) use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems. While B-Corps can be for-profit or non-profit, we will focus on those organizations that are generating profit, which sustains their efforts.

105, Jay Coen Gilbert, B Lab | Business as a Force for Good

What if we could utilize the power of business as a force for good? What would that make possible? Jay Coen Gilbert knows how to scale a business. As a cofounder of AND1, he grew the company from selling t-shirts out of the back of a car to a global basketball footwear and apparel brand worth over $250 million. When he sold the company in 2005, Jay took the time to think about his experience. He and his friends Bart Houlahan, and Andrew Kassoy met with purpose driven businesses to talk about the potential of business as a force for good. Based on these conversations, they recognized that, just because a company…

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A Company Powered by Purpose, with Krista Carroll, Latitude

Latitude is a for-profit creative agency, powered by purpose. In November 2009, Krista and her husband were in their 30s and, as she told me, “chasing the American dream really hard.” They were being financially successful but lacked a level of meaning and purpose. It was during a trip to Haiti that they witnessed extreme poverty for the first time. In response to this life-changing experience, they decided to form a social enterprise. In order to avoid debt, Krista, her husband, and two small children moved into her parents’ basement. Their company, Latitude is a for-profit, full-service creative agency. They do amazingly great work in brand design and experience design. What…

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069, Michael Pirron, Impact Makers | How to Scale a Social Enterprise

If you want to know how to scale a social enterprise, Michael Pirron of Impact Makers might be someone to ask. Not only is his company recognized as a “Best for the World” B Corporation, they are also on the Inc. list of Fastest Growing Companies for five years in a row. And, they have been listed as a Best Places to Work. That’s a combination that piques my interest. Impact Makers is a for-profit Virginia benefit corporation that is owned by two non-profits. In 2015, Impact Makers gifted ownership of the company to two organizations that support philanthropy and community development: Virginia Community Capital and The Community Foundation Serving…

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069, Michael Pirron, Impact Makers | How to Scale a Social Enterprise

046, Laurie Lane-Zucker, Impact Entrepreneur | Public Benefit Enterprise Zones

Public Benefit Enterprise Zones is a new idea with old roots. Laurie Lane-Zucker has had a long and interesting path to Impact Entrepreneur. He was the Executive Director at the Orion Society, a highly respected environmental organization and publisher of Orion magazine. In 2007 he launched Hotfrog, a Founding B Corporation, a GIIRS Pioneer Company, a Founding Member of Mission Markets. Laurie is also the founder and manager of the LinkedIn group, Impact Entrepreneur, with nearly 10,000 members from more than 150 countries. (If you join right away, you could be the 10,000th person!). Impact Entrepreneur was recently recognized as one of the “Best LinkedIn Groups for Small Business.” Recently,…

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046, Laurie Lane-Zucker, Impact Entrepreneur | Public Benefit Enterprise Zones

034, Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell | How to Build a Purpose-Driven Company

Russ Stoddard of Oliver Russell has been building purpose-driven brands for 25 years. Purpose matters. 90% of U.S. consumers say they would switch brands to one associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality, according to a study conducted by Cone Communications. In another study conducted by World Federation of Advertisers and Edelman, 60% of people said that they are actively seeking brands with a sense of purpose. And, according to Deloitte’s 2015 Millennial Survey, six out of 10 Millennials said a sense of purpose is part of the reason they chose to work for their current employer. Russ Stoddard of Oliver Russell builds brands for purpose-driven companies. He’s…

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034, Russ Stoddard, Oliver Russell | How to Build a Purpose-Driven Company

025, David Reiling, Sunrise Banks | Empowering Underserved Communities

According to Sunrise Banks’ CEO David Reiling, “The culture of Sunrise Banks is all about mission and innovation.” If you pull his statement apart, you’ll notice three components: culture, mission and innovation. These are the magic ingredients that have allowed Sunrise Banks to be recognized as a “Best for the World” company. Sunrise Banks has been recognized on many levels for their purpose-driven innovation. They are a certified Benefit Corporation (BCorp). Their parent company was one of the first Minnesota Public Benefit Corporations. And, they are a certified Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI), one of only 100 banks in the US. They focus on underserved communities. More than 60% of…

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025, David Reiling, Sunrise Banks | Empowering Underserved Communities

013, Jim Smith, MadiDrop | From Academic Researcher to Founder

When I say “early stage entrepreneur,” whom do you picture? A hungry young person in a hoodie, eating Raman noodles and cranking out code? While this might be the prototype, more and more social entrepreneurs are looking more like Jim Smith. Jim is an academic and a scientist. He spends most days in deep research and in the classroom at the University of Virginia. However, thorough a series of synchronous events, Jim was jarred into the world of hands-on entrepreneurship in some of the most underserved communities of the world. Jim Smith is an advisor and serves on the board of PureMadi, where they developed a sustainable, ceramic water filter….

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013, Jim Smith, MadiDrop | From Academic Researcher to Founder