What is a Social Business?

Published by Tine Le, Performance Data Auditor
May 11th, 2015

The first thing that might come to mind is a business that sells social media or communication services. But that’s NOT at all what social business is. Social Business, by definition, is a cause-driven business where investors can recoup money invested, but cannot capitalize on dividends. There are four popular and notable social businesses that we want to bring light to within this blog.

1. Non-profit Social Enterprise

First let’s look at non-profit social enterprise which is the social business nearest and dearest to my heart. These are non-profit social enterprises are 501(c)3 business operations created to solve a social problem. There is a strong movement going on to advance and accelerate the growth of these non-profit businesses. The Social Enterprise Alliance is one of those movement leaders.

social-enterprise 

WORNA great example of a social enterprise is WORN, owned by Catholic Charities Fort WORNWorth. This business gives refugee women the opportunity to work from home knitting scarves to earn supplemental income, while taking care of their children. A UTA research study found that these women were able to recover and overcome their PTSD at rapid rates compared to a control group. 

2. Benefit Corporation 

Benefit corporations are legal entities, offered in 28 states, that gain certain legal protection from sharlegistlationeholders who don’t like the idea of a double or triple bottom line. 

Normal corporations are legally obligated to focus on only making profits for shareholders. Benefit corporations still strive to make profit, but with more flexibility to achieve social or environmental goals as well.

3. Low profit limited liability – L3C

Low profit limited liability is a “hybrid” corporation, where the corporation operates around both shareholder investments and charitable investments for the best of both worlds! (Save for an accounting nightmare)

L3C 

Recently, Rebel Nell, L3C won the Gingras Global Social Enterprise Award. Congrats, Rebel Nell! Their missiorebeln is to “employ disadvantaged women in Detroit, to educate them on financial management, life wellness and business, and to empower them to successfully transition to an independent life.” Their products are made by re-purposing graffiti. Rebel Nell is both inspiring, and creative. 

4. B-corp Certified

B-corp certification is a certification which any business or non-profit organization, regardless of legal registration can apply to obtain. This certification is a respected document that proves a company satisfies the bcorprequirements of making a social impact. This certification expires in 2 years after it is received.

First Rate is a certified B Corp. At the core of First Rate’s vision, mission, and purpose are love, give, serve, and enjoy. We became a B Corp to join, support and identify with the movement of other businesses that want to serve more than just its shareholders, employees and customers. First Rate is striving to transform the business community to engage its human resources and financial resources in all non-business spheres of society: education, government, media, bcorp2entertainment, family and religion. One way First Rate makes an impact is investing in branches of First Rate around the world. We have two offices overseas, one in India and the other in Afghanistan to provide support to our American office so our core processes are running 24/7. Having a job provides the financial stability one needs to grow a home, a family, and in turn impact others around them. First Rate thrives on seeing their employees – both in America and abroad – impacting their communities for the better.

About the Author: Tina Le, Performance Data Auditor, has been with First Rate since 2014. In her role, she is a jack of all trades auditing data, testing programs and making training videos for Service Bureau, Professional Services and First Rate University. Outside of First Rate, Tina is president of Plus Two Toastmasters, and enjoys reading about social enterprise and data science.

Share This Post: