Building Better Businesses

We wrapped up the last of the Innovate LIVE: Spring workshops this past week, thank you for attendance and participation! Follow us on Twitter @Innovate_LIVE to find out when our Fall workshops begin.

Building Better Businesses


Christina CainChristina Cain, the Executive Director of the Staunton Creative Community Fund was our speaker for the night. She earned a Masters of Science in Community Economic Development with a specialization in Nonprofit Management from Southern New Hampshire University. She empowers people to open businesses by educating them on business planning, navigating the process of getting a business loan, and lending an ear of support and empathy.


The Building a Better Business workshop was held at Mary Baldwin College’s Spencer Center. The Spencer Center is a part of Mary Baldwin’s commitment to local and worldwide community outreach. The center offers students service, study, or volunteer abroad opportunities. It is also a place for dialogue on civic and global topics, guest lectures, faculty-development seminars, and panel discussions.


Do you want to start a non-profit, but don’t know how to fund the organization? Do you want to start a for-profit organization, but still want to maintain social and environmental sustainability? B-Corps just might be your answer! Christina Cain guided the Spring 2016, Innovate LIVE: Building Better Businesses workshop through the benefits of B-Corps and the differences between B-Corps and Benefit Corporations.

So what is a B-Corp?
B Corps are for-profit companies certified by the non-profit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. B-Corps is a force of people using business as a force for good™ and companies competing to be best for the world™ instead of “in” the world. As of April 2016, there are more than 1,700 certified B-Corps in 50 countries from 130 industries.

Why become a certified B-Corp?

  1. Attempting to certify your organization can help you evaluate how socially and environmentally sustainable your organization is.
  2. Certification is a public statement that your organization meets and passes rigorous standards by a third-party organization on social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
  3. It enters your organization to a community that can help partner you to ones with similar goals.
  4. It helps educated consumers support sustainable businesses.
  5. It attracts investors and talent.

How about a Benefit Corporation?
A Benefit Corporation is a legal status administered by the state. As of April 2016, 31 states recognize the legal status of Benefit Corporations.

So what are the differences?
The following table was found on the B-Corp website:

Issue Certified B Corporations Benefit Corporations
Accountability Directors required to consider impact on all stakeholders Same
Transparency Must publish public report of overall social and environmental performance assessed against a third party standard Same*
Performance Must achieve minimum verified score on B Impact Assessment
Recertification required every two years against evolving standard
Availability Available to every business regardless of corporate structure, state, or country of incorporation Available for corporations only in 30 U.S. states and D.C.**
Cost B Lab certification fees from $500 to $50,000/year, based on revenues State filing fees from $70-$200
Role of B Lab Certifying body and supporting 501c3, offering access to Certified B Corporation logo, portfolio of services, and vibrant community of practice among B Corps. Developed Model Legislation, works for its passage and use, offers free reporting tool to meet transparency requirements; No role in oversight
* Delaware benefit corps are not required to report publicly or against a third party standard
** Oregon and Maryland offer benefit LLC options

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