Over 1.4B people around the world live off the grid, according to IRENA.org. 780 million people around the world lack access to clean water and WFP.org reports that 842 million do not have enough food to eat. In terms of healthcare, 1.3 billion lack access to necessary healthcare systems. The numbers are so staggering that they make it difficult even for those who would like to help as they do not know how or may have even lost belief in the systems that are currently tasked with doing so.
How do we, as a species, incentivize caring about the future of our race and the planet we currently inhabit? We desperately need modern and forward-thinking problem solving in business that takes full advantage of proven economic incentives, technological advances, helps clean up our world and combines success with moral courage to do what is right and just.
We can apply these same formulas to solving major global problems that affect billions of lives. This morally responsible and motivational course of action is what I call need-based capitalism. Products and/or solutions are based around basic human need, not want or desire for non-essential luxuries. The only additional criteria required to add to the already proven-successful, incentive-based structure that in turn will affect positive change and provide solutions to macro problems, is the development of these businesses strictly around solving the problems themselves. This providing of responsible and sustainable solutions, in fact, and synergistically, is also makes for a strong business case. In other words the size of the problem directly correlates to the market size and business opportunity.
Jenelle Isaacson, owner of Living Room Realty
As our B Corp interview series comes to a close, we’re excited to end the series on a strong note for businesses that decide to file as Benefit Corporations by featuring Jenelle Isaacson, owner of Living Room Realty in Portland, Oregon. Living Room Realty has the distinction of being the first real estate company in Oregon to become B-Corp certified and today, we spoke with Jenelle about how she hopes Benefit Corporations will be the future norm for business and how her company believes in building both business coupled with community – “one great neighbor at a time.”
1) How did you get started with your company?
I was getting ready to have a baby and wanted to leave my current office anyways so I could have my own place I could easily bring my baby in if I needed and have control over the environment of my office. I was nesting. I wanted my own space, with my favorite teas, assurance the office was cleaned with natural products and was somewhere as comfortable as my own living room if I would be balancing two children under two years old and a thriving real estate business.
Senen Garcia, Esq. of SG Law Group
Accountant, attorney, and B Corp movement supporter Senen Garcia, Esq. got his entrepreneurial start at an early age. The sole owner of two businesses before completing his bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Entrepreneurship and International Business, Garcia opened his accounting and tax practice before receiving his undergraduate degree. While running said business, he completed his Graduate and Juris Doctorate degrees and now operates SG Law Group in Florida which assists clients with their corporate, real estate, estate planning an property insurance claim needs.
Today he’s giving us a look at how he got interested in the B Corp movement, what he believes Benefit Corporations need in order to succeed and why the real benefit behind the B Corps has a lot to do with marketing.
Lisa Garrison, Attorney, Smith Moore Leatherwood
At the firm of Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, Lisa Garrison maintains an active business litigation practice advising and representing clients in anything from claim appeals to multiple jury trials, but she also has an active presence with companies that have socially beneficial missions. Lisa serves as the founder of the firm’s “Benefit Corporation Team” or the “B Team” which focuses on exploring and serving the legal needs of aspiring or existing “benefit” or “B Corp” companies – for-profit businesses that seek to better the world through identified social missions and by focusing on sustainability and TPL/3BL (the “triple bottom line” pillars of profits, people, and planet).
Today, we’re discussing with Lisa how the “B Team” came to be at Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP and the assistance it provides Benefit Corporations in need, the financial advantages that come with forming a B Corp, and why every entrepreneur needs to read up on the pros and cons of Benefit Corporations before starting one up.
Timothy S. McCausland, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Orange County Trust Company
In 2010, with over 25 years working in transactional matters involving real estate, trusts and estates, commercial matters and finance, attorney Timothy S. McCausland began investigating the growing trend of states adopting benefit corporation legislation. The B-Corps won McCausland over, especially since at the time he resided within a more rural part of New York and felt that the B-Corp would be a great fit for his region. By working alongside a colleague and friend, Gary Schuster, and familiarizing his state legislators with benefit corporations, the pair was able to push for the legislation and ultimately, for benefit corporation legislation to be passed in New York.
Today, we’re interviewing Timothy, currently serving as the Senior Vice President for Orange County Trust Company, on where he thinks B-Corps are heading, the benefits of going B-Corp for your business, and why once the switch is on for setting up a B-Corp, it can’t be switched so easily back off.
Tim Frick, Principal at Mightybytes
For Tim Frick and the team at Mightybytes, sustainability means more than trending on a Google search – it’s how they do business. A full-service creative firm for conscious companies in Chicago, Mightybytes provides branding, content strategy, and web based services to its clients along with being a certified B Corporation. They’re passionate about making a social impact with their work to make the world a better place, even if it happens, “just one small pixel at a time.”
We asked Tim five questions on his business and he gave us some pretty amazing answers on how he left corporate America behind for the entrepreneurial lifestyle, the bootstrapped beginnings of the company, and how in order to be an entrepreneur you need to walk the walk.
1) How did your business get started?
After a brief career in corporate America I started freelancing in 1995, which eventually evolved into what is now Mightybytes. The freelance lifestyle was attractive to me due to the freedom it offered and the DIY philosophy of being an entrepreneur. Quality of life and doing impactful, cause-driven work I can be proud of is at the core of who I am as a person. We imbue those principles into all we do at Mightybytes.
For any business owner, sustainability and growth are always top of mind. You want to invest in growth while realizing a positive return. As you contemplate your long-term goals, here are the top three investments to consider:
1. Technology infrastructure – It’s important to operate off a scalable technology platform – one that enhances employee performance. Because technology impacts every sector of your business, it’s important that it provides a simple and flexible experience for your team members so that they can maximize efficiency.
Keeping up with cutting edge trends that you can implement first in your industry is a great way for your company to stay ahead of the curve and stand out. Don’t be afraid to take risks!