So you likely know of wildly successful sites Etsy and Couchsurfing, but what you don't know is that their corporate status is as unique as their business models. Both of these online powerhouses are setup as B-corps (short for benefit corporations).
In short, their business and revenue model combines social entrepreneurial spirit with a do-gooder nature - to the benefit of society, the environment and their investors (in that order).
Why all the excitement over this NOW? Well, Lousiana recently became the eighth state in the nation, and the first in the South, to enact benefit corporation legislation.
Which leads to our presenters for the evening:
The Business of B-Corps: New Orleans City Business writer Jennifer Larino has been covering B-corps since before they were legal. From the journey through the halls of government, across the legislative floor to the adoption by the local business community as yet another business incentive, Larino will share the knowledge she has gathered along the way with our group.
B is for Bicycle B-Corp: Wes McWhorter, kick-ass developer and designer at Trumpet by day, is also the Rouler, New Orleans-based B-corp bicycle repair shop. McWhorter will discuss his experience, reasons for being "B" and lessons learned.
Lesson in B-Corp Law: Megan Riess, an associate attorney at Fishman Haygood Phelps Walmsley Willis & Swanson, who was instrumental in creating the B corporation legislation in Louisiana.
This is an exciting development, one that will continue to impact our local economy, draw smart, talented and socially responsible innovators to our state (not to mention the impact to those who have already planted roots in New Orleans).
- Doors open at 5:00pm
- Drinks and Networking start at 6:00pm
(if you know of someone who would like to sponsor this event, please let us know)
- Announcements and Presentations begin at 7:00pm
* Please let us know if you have any special announcements, job opportunities, or other information to share with the group.
A Little More on B-Corps
A benefit corporation, or B corp, model was developed by B Lab, a Philadelphia based non-profit, that wanted to find a way to use the power of business to solve social and environmental problems, instead of making them worse. As Shareable's Malcom Harris wrote earlier this year, B corps are "a new class of US corporations, dedicated to social as well as financial good."
- Have a corporate purpose to create a material positive impact on society and the environment;
- Are required to consider the impact of their decisions not only on shareholders but also on workers, community, and the environment;
- Are required to make available to the public an annual benefit report that assesses their overall social and environmental performance against a third party standard.
Unlike other corporations, which exist only to generate profit for their shareholders, a B Corp exists to fulfill its socially or environmentally beneficial mission, and is allowed to put those goals ahead of profit. As such, the B Corp has the legal right to make decisions that might be "bad" for shareholders, but are good in other ways.