Yesterday, was 2+ years of hardwork paying off for social enterprise supporters as Benefit Corporations is now a new law. Connecticut’s statute will be the most comprehensive in the United States, encouraging new businesses and jobs. New corporate structure enables social enterprises to solve social or environmental problems and make a profit.
Next week, as a part of the Startup Roadshow coverage of the Hartford area, The Whiteboard is sitting down with Kate Emery, CEO of The Walker Group and Founder of reSET, the nonprofit organization fostering social enterprise that is responsible for bringing B-Corp to the forefront. Until then, read a note from Kate and the press release below which provides details on the legislation.
HARTFORD, Conn.– reSET, the Social Enterprise Trust, applauds the passage of a new law allowing Benefit Corporations in Connecticut. This new corporate structure will allow companies to pursue a dual focus on profitability for shareholders and solutions to social or environmental problems. As a Benefit Corporation, a business is provided legal protections, accountability, and a level of transparency that had been very expensive and time-consuming to obtain previously.
The language of Connecticut’s bill is considered the most comprehensive in the United States in that it permits a “legacy preservation” option. Benefit Corporations may elect, after at least two years of operation, to lock in their social mission in perpetuity regardless of changes to management or ownership of the company. With the new law, which was passed on Monday, May 5, 2014 as part of a larger piece of legislation called the budget implementer, Connecticut becomes the 26th state in the nation to enact the Benefit Corporation form of corporate structure.
The Benefit Corporation is a new legal structure for social enterprises, businesses structured to solve social or environmental problems and/or apply all or a portion of their profits to solve those problems. The goal of the new legislation is to enable social entrepreneurs to catalyze a new wave of commercial innovation, job creation and economic development.
Governor Dannel Malloy announced at a press conference in January of 2014 that he had placed Benefit Corporation legislation in his 2014 legislative package. reSET worked in partnership with B–Lab and the Connecticut Bar Association to draft the language of the bill.
A dedicated group of individual and organizational supporters and advocates encouraged the state to adopt passage, including AARP, BI Cares Foundation, CBIA, Connecticut Association of Nonprofits, and the CT Veterans Chamber of Commerce, among many others.
Upon hearing of its passage, Kate Emery, Founder and CEO of reSET said, “This is a significant, happy milestone and for all those who have supported our efforts we are very grateful. Now our work can turn toward creating a vibrant community of social entrepreneurs in the state, using the power of the free market, along with the hearts and minds of this creative new brand of entrepreneurs, to help solve some of our world’s most pressing problems!”
Social Enterprise Trust (commonly known as reSET) is a nonprofit organization committed to promoting, preserving, and protecting the concept of social enterprise as a viable concept and a business reality. reSET’s goal is to make Connecticut a hub of social enterprise by creating a community of individuals and organizations committed to the ongoing economic and social development of our state.
reSET sponsors the annual Social Enterprise Challenge and Awards, offers ongoing Design Labs and the Social Enterprise Accelerator program twice a year, and also operates a community coworking space at 99 Pratt Street in Hartford. The space welcomes social entrepreneurs, small businesses, freelancers, nonprofit organizations and visiting business people. Both fixed desk and “hot seating” arrangements are available.
For more information, contact James Woulfe: 860-560-9120 ext. 220 or 401-573-3056; JWoulfe[at]socialenterprisetrust[dot]org