ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT


Stay Connected
ADVERTISEMENT


Proposal to spur businesses with a ‘social benefit’


HARTFORD (AP) — Connecticut is trying again to rework state law allowing business owners to organize companies using alternative business models that seek social change rather than focusing solely on boosting profit.

The legislature’s Commerce Committee has scheduled an informational hearing on Tuesday, three weeks before the start of the 2014 session, to consider legislation that would allow business owners to establish so-called “benefit corporations.” Similar legislation failed last year and in 2012, and lawmakers and advocates believe they have a good chance to pass a measure before the legislature adjourns in May.

“We got a lot of people on board earlier than last year,” said Rep. Chris Perone, the House chairman of the Commerce Committee.

Benefit corporations, or B-corps, are intended to allow a portion of a company’s profit to be used for social purposes such as promoting the arts, protecting the environment or reducing poverty without the threat of shareholder lawsuits.

Sen. Gary LeBeau, the Senate chairman of the Commerce Committee, said if it ultimately becomes law, business owners will be “doing good while doing well.”

“You can do both,” he said. “You can make money and do good.”

James Woulfe, public policy and impact investing specialist at reSET, a Hartford nonprofit group that promotes social enterprise, said changing state law could quickly draw in more than 20 companies establishing a business model to create change.

Changing state law would be “empowering” to capitalists who have a different business model, he said.

Christopher Brechlin, a community organizer who uses data to help local nonprofits, government and business find solutions to housing and other problems, said his business, Blueprint for a Dream, would benefit with a change in state law.

“It allows me to lock my mission in and protect me if I choose to favor the social mission of my business,” he said.

LeBeau said many business leaders looking to establish a new business model are in their 20s and 30s or even younger.

“They’re entrepreneurial and creative. They’re exactly the kind of people we want to keep in Connecticut,” he said.

David Cadden, a business professor at Quinnipiac University, compared the business model to investments that appeal to investors who want their money to support causes even if they forfeit higher profit. Opposition to benefit corporations is nearly non-existent, he said.

“Outside some ideological obsession I can’t see where anyone would be adverse to them,” he said.



Back to State
Top Stories of the Week

Vigil to be held after Southington students killed in I-84 …
SOUTHINGTON — The community is mourning the death of two teenage girls who friends and family said had bright futures tragically cut short by a … more ...

Two killed in Southington I-84 crash …
SOUTHINGTON — Two were killed in a rollover crash on Interstate 84 eastbound Tuesday afternoon, according to state police. The accident occurred near exit 31 … more ...

Meriden motorcyclist killed, one woman injured in crash on Berlin …
BERLIN — A Meriden man is dead after crashing his motorcycle into the side of a car making a U-turn on the Berlin Turnpike early … more ...

Woman remains hospitalized in fatal turnpike crash, Berlin PD investigating …
BERLIN — A Cromwell woman remains hospitalized following a crash on the Berlin Turnpike over the weekend that resulted in the death of a Meriden … more ...

Police: Wallingford drug dealer arrested during traffic stop …
WALLINGFORD — A resident was arrested following a routine traffic stop after police say they found a large quantity of drugs, pills, cash and equipment … more ...

Comments