Skip to main content
All Posts By

Region Admin

6-unit eco-friendly townhome community, The Bismarck, coming to Historic Kenwood

By Business

Hot on the heels of their second development’s sellout, Salt Palm has just unveiled their third residential community for St. Pete – The Bismarck. The six-unit townhome community will be nestled in Historic Kenwood at 3023 1st Avenue North.

The Bismarck will be steps away from some of the Grand Central District’s most popular restaurants, including Baba, Wild Child, and Casita Taqueria. And hundreds of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and boutiques are just a bike ride away in downtown St. Pete.

THE BISMARCK WILL BE LOCATED AT 3023 1ST AVENUE NORTH IN HISTORIC KENWOOD.

Each 3-bedroom, 3.5-bath unit at The Bismarck will have 2,350 square feet of indoor living space plus 350 square feet of private outdoor space. Each home will feature a private entrance, an attached two-car garage, vinyl impact-rated windows, and a private artificial turfed backyard.

Additionally, the units will contain gas appliances, porcelain tile, quartz countertops, and wood flooring in the main living areas.

Architectural details of these modern farmhouse townhomes feature detailed gables, varied textures, and cladding that all merge to create a gorgeous elevation.

Back in 2018, Salt Palm was declared Florida’s first real estate development Certified B Corp, meaning the company formally committed itself to having a purpose greater than just maximizing profits. Salt Palm has committed themselves to making business decisions that consider environmental and societal impacts.

EACH UNIT AT THE BISMARCK WILL CONTAIN GAS APPLIANCES, PORCELAIN TILE, QUARTZ COUNTERTOPS, AND WOOD FLOORING IN THE MAIN LIVING AREAS.

The Bismarck will be Energy Star rated, meaning the homes will meet strict energy efficiency criteria set by the US Environmental Protection Agency or the US Department of Energy. All six homes will be solar ready and pre-wired for smart home technology.

Salt Palm launched their first development, The Sabal, in 2018 at 532 4th Avenue South. After completion of the 8-unit development in 2019, the company announced The Royal, a 13-unit community located across the street at the corner of 4th Avenue South and 6th Street.

The Royal is currently under construction with a targeted completion in early 2022. Building I’s shell has been completed and is ready for drywall. Building III is coming out of the ground and Building II is not far behind.

ARCHITECTURAL ELEMENTS OF THE BISMARCK FEATURE DETAILED GABLES, VARIED TEXTURES, AND CLADDING THAT ALL MERGE TO CREATE A GORGEOUS ELEVATION.

The Bismarck is slated to break ground next year and expected to be complete by May 2023. Pricing starts at $799,000.

For more information on The Bismarck or to reserve your unit, contact Jacki Fabrizio at (727) 776-2976 or jfabrizio@smithandassociates.com.

Brazil-Based Steel Company Joins Purpose-Driven Movement

By Business

Gerdau Looks to Scale Positive Impact Through Supply Chain

Brazil-based steel company Gerdau is one of the world’s largest recyclers — scrap metal comprises 73% of the steel it produces.

How did Gerdau come to adopt a model that incorporates recycled steel in its manufacturing?

A new impact economy is being built, one where businesses prioritize and consider their impact on all the stakeholders they impact — including communities, workers, customers, and the environment. Download this free report to learn how the stakeholder model as practiced by B Corps is gaining global traction and validation,

What are some other ways that Gerdau mitigates the environmental impacts of steel production, including the use of coal?

Thinking about your partners and suppliers, how do you assess their sustainability and social responsibility?

Why did Gerdau decide to be one of the first corporations in the B Movement Builders program?

How is Gerdau engaging with the B Impact Assessment and other elements of the B Movement Builders program? And what are the company’s plans to work toward B Corp Certification or adopt benefit corporation governance?

23 Leading Orlando Business Development Firms and Startups – The Future of Business Development

By Business

This article showcases our top picks for the best Orlando based Business Development companies. These startups and companies are taking a variety of approaches to innovating the Business Development industry, but are all exceptional companies well worth a follow.

We tried to pick companies across the size spectrum from cutting edge startups to established brands.

We selected these startups and companies for exceptional performance in one of these categories:

  • Innovation
    • Innovative ideas
    • Innovative route to market
    • Innovative product
  • Growth
    • Exceptional growth
    • Exceptional growth strategy
  • Management
  • Societal impact

Top Orlando Business Development Startups

Data sourced from Crunchbase and SemRush.

HyCarb

HyCarb

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

HyCarb, Inc. is a Florida-based, for-profit, woman-owned small business

Planaxis

Planaxis

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Planaxis fixates on business and brand growth with a spectrum of direct marketing and advertising solutions based on the latest technology.

Planaxis

Envision Salon & Spa

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Envision Salon & Spa provides salon and spa management software and services.

Planaxis

QSI Global Ventures

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

QSI Global Ventures offers technical, audit and business marketing strategies to enhance growth for organizations.

Planaxis

Diane Meiller and Associates

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Diane Meiller and Associates is a management development firm that provides IT optimization, business development and engineering services.

Planaxis

Jessica N. Abraham | writer. designer. publicist.

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Writer, Blogger, Content Writer, Publicist, Designer, Graphics, Web Design, SEO, Career Development,

Planaxis

Gallaher Edge

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Gallaher Edge is a management consulting company that applies the science of human behavior to organizations.

Planaxis

Mind Spark Technologies

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Mind Spark Technologies offers customized ERP software development & Odoo development services to speed up your company operations.

Planaxis

Corporate Strategy Institute

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Corporate Strategy Institute is a consulting firm that deals with strategic management for various industries.

Planaxis

Mycodehost

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Mycodehost is a online service company they fully managed website and application development options available to businesses and developer.

Planaxis

NKI Systems

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

NKI Systems offers incredible speeds for all capacity of media and it is a fastest memory cards around.

Planaxis

Florida Connexion

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Florida Connexion is a real estate and business brokerage service company.

Planaxis

Cirque Kalandra Productions

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Cirque Kalandra Productions provides cirque style entertainment for weddings, birthday party, concert booking, corporate meetings,etc.

Planaxis

National Center for Simulation

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

The National Center for Simulation is an association of defense companies, government, academic and industry members.

Planaxis

InnovativeSpace Technologies

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Innovative Space Technologies is a solar-energy company that provides commercializing an adhesive polymer.

Planaxis

Bus Parts Experts

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Bus Parts Experts is an online bus parts store.

Planaxis

PartnerAmerica

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Partner America is a is a program that was created by the United States Conference of Mayors and American Management Services.

Planaxis

Florida For Good

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Florida For Good is a business development consulting company.

Planaxis

TNMG Holdings

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

TNMG Holdings provides web media and e-commerce development and hosting.

Planaxis

Simple Functioning Solutions

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Simple Functioning Solutions || Web, App, Software, Marketing, Integration, Development Consulting

Planaxis

Resume.Academy

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Resume Writing, Professional Resume Writing, LinkedIn Development, Professional Bios, Executive Summaries, Career Development, Jobs Industry

Planaxis

Orlando Entrepreneurs

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Orlando Entrepreneurs is a network that helps local organizations find required events and resources for business development.

Planaxis

Nimlok Orlando

Crunchbase Website Twitter Facebook Linkedin

Nimlok Orlando is one of the most experienced and credible exhibit manufacturers in the USA.

Written by Tenner Smith

Tenner Smith – I have experience in financial intelligence and automated intelligence. In industry I have worked on artificial intelligence and machine learning. Tenner Smith is a reporter at DF media.

Developer believes corporations obligated to give back

By Business

Jared Meyers is pushing the idea of B Corps to get businesses to give back more to their communities.

by: Louis Llovio Tampa Bay Editor

We’ve all heard someone say put your money where your mouth is.

It’s not clear if anybody ever told Jared Meyers that, but even if they didn’t, he did it anyway.

Meyers, 45, is the founder and chairman of St. Petersburg-based Salt Palm Development and Legacy Vacation Resorts and an advocate —apostle, really — for B Corporations.

B Corporations, also known Public Benefit Corporations, are “businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose,” according to B Lab, a global network of B Corporations.

Basically, B Corps are companies created with altruism built into their DNA. In Meyers’ view, that means corporations have a responsibility to the communities they abide in and to the larger world. At a minimum, he says corporations should do no harm. But his personal belief is a company should only exist if it is a “net positive contributor and making the world better.”

He believes companies need to elevate communities all year and not just “rely on a year-end charitable donation or end of life gift.”

Meyers thinks that most corporations should consider becoming a B Corp. He says by structuring a company as a B Corp the responsibility to give back is laid out in the governing documents and makes a business legally obligated to make a positive impact.

Plus, he says being designated a B Corp allows a company to differentiate itself from competitors, attract investors and retain better employees.

To help push the idea, Meyers created Florida for Good. The organization helps companies become more sustainable and focused on the planet instead of just looking at profit.

For Meyers, the subject of corporate responsibility is not just talk.

Salt Palm has pledged to put at least 50% of its profits back into St. Petersburg and the state. Since 2018, Meyers says the company, a socially conscious developer of sustainable housing, has re-invested more than $600,000 to support community efforts.

Meyers says this profit-sharing approach leads Salt Palm to use more environmentally friendly building products than the market demands and to be carbon neutral even if it means a smaller profit in the short term.

And LVR, as the travel company is known, has committed to donate 1% of its revenue to the community. It’s also launched initiatives to institute living wage programs, recycling programs and committed to reducing its ecological footprint.

‘To change the DNA a company needs buy-in from the bottom to top of the organization and in both hearts and minds. However when you do so, it will be incredibly rewarding and its rewards go far beyond profits.’ Jared Meyers, Salt Palm Development and Legacy Vacation Resorts

Meyers says the approaches from both companies allow him to align his values with the work he does each day.

“It was important to me that any company that I am a part of be a positive agent of change, and that it transparently do so,” he says. “There is simply too much greenwashing out there and B Corps are the only way I know to easily differentiate companies that are actually doing what they say from ones that are merely good at marketing.”

Meyers’ push to improve how businesses operate comes in part from his desire to live a fulfilling life that makes the world better for others. And he wants his actions to set an example for his 15-year-old son and 11-year-old daughter to “help them embrace the concept of interdependence.”

He says that when we view ourselves as separated from the world around us, we lose our humanity and are more likely to exploit instead of being compassionate. “When I think about giving back, I think of living in harmony. Living sustainably,” he says.

“We cannot take more than we give and have balance in life,” he adds. “We’ve seen our imbalanced economic system lead to wealth inequality, racial injustice and the current climate crisis. To address issues like these, we need more than words.”

For anyone wanting to follow his footsteps, Meyers has one piece of advice and one warning.

He suggests to anyone who wants to start or transform their company to find a community of people or companies that have been through the process. These are people who can help minimize mistakes and provide support.

As for the warning: when he first made the switch from a company where the goal was maximizing profit to one that focused on “stakeholder prosperity,” he entrusted the work to some who saw the shift “as nice to have rather than a necessity.”

“Becoming a force for good is not a ‘check the box’ activity,” Meyers says.  “It is constant, never ending and needs to be at the core of your decisions. To change the DNA a company needs buy-in from the bottom to top of the organization and in both hearts and minds. However when you do so, it will be incredibly rewarding and its rewards go far beyond profits.”

USF internship program matches students with ethically responsible businesses

By Community

Published 3 hours ago on April 19, 2021By Jaymi Butler

This fall, more than two dozen University of South Florida students will get the chance to learn how to support socially and environmentally responsible businesses as they prepare for their B Corp certification.

Through the new Business for Good internship program, students will work directly with business leaders on the B Impact Assessment, a tool that helps get companies ready to become Certified B Corporations. Companies that earn this designation balance purpose and profit and are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment.

“The Business for Good internship program allows our students to see how the business community can be part of the solution for societal issues,” said Sri Sundaram, Tiedemann-Cotton Dean of the Kate Tiedemann School of Business and Finance on USF’s St. Petersburg campus. “This reshapes the conversation about how businesses view their commitment to all stakeholders they serve.”

Participants in the remote internship program, a partnership between Florida for Good, B is for Benefit and the university’s Bishop Center for Ethical Leadership within the Muma College of Business, will come from all three campuses and will represent a variety of majors and academic disciplines. They’ll be placed with one of seven businesses across various industries in Florida and Texas and will receive their training through B is for Benefit, an organization that offers services to academic institutions that wish to incorporate the intersectional nature of sustainability with business strategy through internships.

Emma Jacobs, a student at USF’s St. Petersburg campus, came up with the idea for the program after she completed a previous internship where she was charged with certifying the firm she was working with as a B Corporation.

“It was the most valuable experiential learning opportunity I have received in my entire college career,” said Jacobs, who worked alongside leaders from the Bishop Center and B is for Benefit to create Business for Good. “This internship will provide others with a similar experience.”

According to the Bishop Center’s Bekah Vigil – herself a grad student studying anthropology on the St. Pete campus – this type of internship is something that students have been requesting for a long time.

“Current and future students consistently tell us that they want to work for conscious and values-driven businesses, and this internship will provide such an opportunity,” she said.

David O’Neill, director of the Bishop Center, said that the internship program further reinforces USF’s commitment to ethical leadership.

 “Students get an inside view of what leaders in a business must consider, and the companies build awareness to improve their positive impact,” he said. “The values of a B Corp align well with our vision of what leadership should be, making this program a seamless addition to our offerings.”

And in turn, businesses will get help on their certification journey, making it a win-win for everyone involved.

“We are most excited about starting to work with a team of students, because we can learn from each other in many ways,” said Tony Selvaggio, CEO of Tampa-based eSmart Recycling, one of the businesses that will host interns. “We are passionate about what we build, and the opportunity to share that passion is the highlight of why we do what we do.”

Funnel : Leasing Launches H.O.M.E. to Increase Fair and Equitable Housing

By Business, Community

Non-Profit to Combat Housing Discrimination through Responsible Technology, Education and $1 Donations per Online Leasing Application

Funnel Receives Florida for Good Award, Moves Toward B Corporation Certification

Funnel, the only renter-centric property management software platform, announced the launch of H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities Made Equal), a 501(c)3 not-for-profit, dedicated to building responsible technology and supporting causes that provide disadvantaged renters with access to safe and healthy housing. The launch of H.O.M.E., timed during Fair Housing Month and the anniversary of the Fair Housing Act of 1968 (April 11), will further Funnel’s mission to combat the systemic oppression prevalent throughout the leasing process and increase housing access for individuals of color and other marginalized home seekers. Every online application completed through Funnel’s platform will now generate a $1 donation on behalf of H.O.M.E. that will be used toward creating more equitable housing access and opportunity.

“A home is the foundational block of economic progress and possibility. Without equal access to housing, people of color and other vulnerable groups will continue to be left further behind,” said Tyler Christiansen, CEO of Funnel. “Biases and homogeneity in teams responsible for the development of technology in the housing process can make the problem worse. We formed H.O.M.E. because we knew we could make a difference. By helping to change the housing process, we can influence the industry and change the world.”

As part of this larger commitment, Funnel has made a specific point of identifying and eliminating biases in their suite of leasing products, including in their new virtual leasing agent. Funnel has ensured the virtual agent can respond to messages about affordable housing and help find the least expensive apartments. Steps were also taken to accommodate messages in foreign languages, unsupported inquiries, and messages that indicate adverse prospective renter situations, including potential exposure to trauma such as domestic abuse.

Often overlooked, housing discrimination is a constant and formidable obstacle for millions of Americans. Studies confirm that home seekers of color are told about and shown fewer homes and apartments than their white counterparts, raising their housing search costs and restricting housing options. According to the Urban Institute, people of color are shown 12% fewer rental units, respectively, than whites. Safe and affordable housing is critical to many other aspects of well-being, including health, education, and job security.

Funnel was recently recognized as one of the leading companies in Florida using the power of business as a force for good by the University of Florida and received their 2021 “Florida for Good” award. Funnel is also in the process of filing for B Certification, having completed the BIA assessment and ensuring all aspects of its business model are optimized for social and environmental impact.

About Funnel

Funnel’s renter-centric solutions revolutionize the antiquated process of finding a home into an enjoyable experience. We believe all renters deserve a seamless, simple and personalized journey. We provide leasing and communication tools that are intuitive and obliterate repetitive tasks — driving more efficient leasing. Join us as we help leading property management teams create tomorrow’s rental experience at funnelleasing.com.

About H.O.M.E. (Housing Opportunities Made Equal)

Funnel is dedicated to fair housing for all. We created H.O.M.E. to advance our commitment of building responsible technology and supporting causes that provide marginalized renters with access to safe and healthy housing. Through our actions, we strive to identify and combat the systemic oppression prevalent throughout the leasing process that results in limited housing access for individuals of color and other marginalized home seekers. Every online application completed through our platform generates a $1 donation on behalf of H.O.M.E. that is used toward ending housing discrimination and increasing economic opportunity through housing. Learn more at homebyfunnel.org.

Climate First Bank (In Organization) Appoints Female Industry Leaders to Spearhead Executive Team

By Business, Environmental
03/15/2021 | 09:29am EDT

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Values-based community bank Climate First Bank (In Organization), names Michele Glorie as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, and Valarie Nussbaum-Harris as Executive Vice President, Tampa Bay Region Executive and Government Guaranteed Lending Executive.

With more than 22 years of executive and senior management experience, Glorie has a proven track record in overseeing strategic growth and driving profitability. Glorie has worked senior-level positions at various Florida community banks throughout her career. This includes working as EVP and CFO at Enterprise Bank of Florida, and as Director of Operations at Harbor Community Bank. During her tenure at Harbor Community Bank, Glorie successfully assisted with eight acquisitions and grew the bank from $50 million in assets to $2.2 billion over a seven-year period.

“In my role as CFO and COO, I look forward to executing Climate First Bank’s vision in becoming the largest and most profitable values-based financial institution in the Southeast,” says Glorie, one of the original six founding directors at Climate First Bank (I/O).

Glorie will be joined by life-long St. Petersburg resident, Nussbaum-Harris. In her new role as EVP, Tampa Bay Region Executive and Government Guaranteed Lending Executive, Nussbaum-Harris will draw on her 32 years of banking experience within the Tampa Bay market and her extensive background in SBA and USDA lending to help local businesses fund their expansion and growth sustainably. Prior to joining Climate First Bank (I/O), Nussbaum-Harris held executive positions at various national and community banks, including Bank of America, Regions Bank, SouthTrust Bank, and Freedom Bank. Adding to her resume, Nussbaum-Harris sat as board member for the City of St. Petersburg’s Environmental Development Commission, Leadership Tampa Bay and Leadership Pinellas.

“I’m ready to work with Climate First Bank (I/O) to transform traditional banking into a values-based model that didn’t exist before,” says Nussbaum-Harris, mother of two and a small business owner herself. “I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to serve the community I’ve lived in my whole life. With so many smaller banks being bought up and customer service reduced to dialing a 1-800 number, I look forward to working with Climate First Bank (I/O) to fill the vacuum in traditional, face-to-face community banking.”

Founded by veteran banker Ken LaRoe, Climate First Bank (I/O) is an environmentally conscious bank whose mission is to reimagine the community bank as a force for good. Backed by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, the community bank will combat the climate crisis by financing sustainable business practices and providing dedicated loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and green infrastructure. The premier location, opening end of Q2, will be carbon neutral from day one. The institution was also recently announced as Florida For Good’s 200th member.

About Climate First Bank (I/O)
Climate First Bank (I/O) is a values-based community bank that will offer a complete, full-service portfolio of simple and easy-to-use traditional banking products. Those products will be powered by modern technology to meet the expectations of today’s consumers. In addition to offering standard banking services, the company will place a special emphasis on non-governmental organizations (NGO) and businesses committed to sustainability. Eco-conscious customers will find dedicated loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and infrastructure to help combat the climate crisis.

Stay tuned for the latest updates, and to learn more visit https://climatefirstbank.com.

Media Contact
Abigail Lacaillade
Uproar PR for Climate First Bank (I/O)
(407) 547-9700
alacaillade@uproarpr.com

share with LinkedIn
share with facebook

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla., March 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Values-based community bank Climate First Bank (In Organization), names Michele Glorie as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer, and Valarie Nussbaum-Harris as Executive Vice President, Tampa Bay Region Executive and Government Guaranteed Lending Executive.

With more than 22 years of executive and senior management experience, Glorie has a proven track record in overseeing strategic growth and driving profitability. Glorie has worked senior-level positions at various Florida community banks throughout her career. This includes working as EVP and CFO at Enterprise Bank of Florida, and as Director of Operations at Harbor Community Bank. During her tenure at Harbor Community Bank, Glorie successfully assisted with eight acquisitions and grew the bank from $50 million in assets to $2.2 billion over a seven-year period.

“In my role as CFO and COO, I look forward to executing Climate First Bank’s vision in becoming the largest and most profitable values-based financial institution in the Southeast,” says Glorie, one of the original six founding directors at Climate First Bank (I/O).

Glorie will be joined by life-long St. Petersburg resident, Nussbaum-Harris. In her new role as EVP, Tampa Bay Region Executive and Government Guaranteed Lending Executive, Nussbaum-Harris will draw on her 32 years of banking experience within the Tampa Bay market and her extensive background in SBA and USDA lending to help local businesses fund their expansion and growth sustainably. Prior to joining Climate First Bank (I/O), Nussbaum-Harris held executive positions at various national and community banks, including Bank of America, Regions Bank, SouthTrust Bank, and Freedom Bank. Adding to her resume, Nussbaum-Harris sat as board member for the City of St. Petersburg’s Environmental Development Commission, Leadership Tampa Bay and Leadership Pinellas.

“I’m ready to work with Climate First Bank (I/O) to transform traditional banking into a values-based model that didn’t exist before,” says Nussbaum-Harris, mother of two and a small business owner herself. “I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to serve the community I’ve lived in my whole life. With so many smaller banks being bought up and customer service reduced to dialing a 1-800 number, I look forward to working with Climate First Bank (I/O) to fill the vacuum in traditional, face-to-face community banking.”

Founded by veteran banker Ken LaRoe, Climate First Bank (I/O) is an environmentally conscious bank whose mission is to reimagine the community bank as a force for good. Backed by Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, the community bank will combat the climate crisis by financing sustainable business practices and providing dedicated loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and green infrastructure. The premier location, opening end of Q2, will be carbon neutral from day one. The institution was also recently announced as Florida For Good’s 200th member.

About Climate First Bank (I/O)
Climate First Bank (I/O) is a values-based community bank that will offer a complete, full-service portfolio of simple and easy-to-use traditional banking products. Those products will be powered by modern technology to meet the expectations of today’s consumers. In addition to offering standard banking services, the company will place a special emphasis on non-governmental organizations (NGO) and businesses committed to sustainability. Eco-conscious customers will find dedicated loan options for solar photovoltaic (PV), energy retrofits and infrastructure to help combat the climate crisis.

Stay tuned for the latest updates, and to learn more visit https://climatefirstbank.com.

Media Contact
Abigail Lacaillade
Uproar PR for Climate First Bank (I/O)
(407) 547-9700
alacaillade@uproarpr.com

 

Build like a B Corp: A Startup’s Guide to a Socially-Conscious Company

By Business
Allie Felix
Mar 8 · 6 min read

Image for post

As a startup founder, you have the unique opportunity to build a socially-conscious company from its foundation. Adopting values-driven business practices can help your startup become a more attractive and competitive choice for engaged and high-quality talent and loyal customers to choose you over other options. In this post, we’ll dive into why building a socially-conscious startup matters, share case studies on venture-backed startups that have pursued B Corp Certification, and offer real-world examples of how to implement better business practices now.

Glossary of Terms:

Certified B Corporation — A company that receives the third-party certification administered by the non-profit B Lab. Certifying your startup is to business what USDA Organic is to your milk, Fair Trade is to your coffee, or LEED is to your office building. Certification is based in part on a company’s verified performance on the B Impact Assessment.

B Impact Assessment (BIA) — To become a Certified B Corporation, or Certified B Corp, a company must complete the BIA, a free and confidential survey designed to help measure and manage your company’s positive impact on your workers, community, customers, and environment.

Benefit Corporation — A Benefit Corporation is a legal structure that empowers and protects a company to pursue positive stakeholder impact alongside profit. Becoming a Benefit Corporation legally protects your startup’s mission through capital raises and leadership changes and prepares businesses to lead a mission-driven life post-IPO. Startups that convert to a Benefit Corporation can still elect to be taxed as a C Corp. A Benefit Corporation does not need to be a Certified B Corp.

Note: Incorporating or converting to a Benefit Corporation is not a requisite to becoming a Certified B Corp.

Why Building a Socially-Conscious Startup Matters

We know that consumers are more conscious than ever before. They are not just focused on what their favorite brands deliver, but how they deliver on their brand promise as well.

  1. 80% of global consumers agree that business must play a role in addressing societal issues. (Conscious Company, 2017)

Completing the B Impact Assessment (BIA) is one free and simple way to create your roadmap to better business practices, helping you evaluate what is already in place and ideate other ideas to implement that will expand your startup’s impact — whether or not you choose to formally certify your company.

If your startup receives a score of 80+ on your B Impact Assessment, you can choose to become a Certified B Corporation alongside peers like Warby Parker, Prose, Hootsuite, and Bombas socks. Once becoming a Certified B Corp, there are measurable benefits that can add value to your startup, such as:

  • Attracting and Engaging Talent: Certification can help validate that you are building an employee-centric culture for recruiting purposes and better connect your employees with your mission, leading to a more engaged workforce.

Venture-Back Startups Can Also Become Certified B Corps

Most startups incorporate as a C Corp if they intend to raise institutional venture capital. Becoming a Certified B Corp does not change or impact your C Corp standing — only the requirements of corporate purpose, accountability, and transparency achieved through the BIA.

In fact, institutional investors are already paying attention to companies with a social or environmental impact, and mainstream tier 1 venture firms like a16z, First Round Capital, Benchmark, and Founders Fund have backed Certified B Corp and Benefit Corporation startups.

Venture-Backed Startup Case Studies:

Allbirds

  • Founded in 2014, became a Certified B Corp in 2016

Lemonade Insurance

  • Founded in 2015, became a Certified B Corp in 2016

Ripple Milk

  • Founded in 2014, became a Certified B Corp in 2016

You Don’t Have to Certify to Reap the Benefits

The B Impact Assessment (BIA) measures your company’s impact on its workers, community, environment, and customers. Whether or not you intend to certify, reviewing the BIA questions can serve as an inspirational blueprint to set up your company on a socially responsible path — and to benchmark your efforts over time.

“For a group of nerds who love data and measurement tools, this was the perfect framework. There were a lot of company-wide things we were doing, like composting our lunch waste and supporting local small businesses, but we had never actually measured any of those efforts. Now that we have measurements and goals around our efforts, it felt really gratifying for everyone.” — Jennifer McKaig, Etsy’s Social Impact Lead on the BIA framework (Source)

Here are some examples that can be implemented to create positive change in your startup now:

Workers

  • Know your local living wage and pay that rate as a minimum for your employees

Community

  • Offer paid time off for your employees to volunteer in addition to their PTO allowance

Environment

  • Encourage or provide a stipend for public transit for your team’s commute

Customers

  • Include your data and privacy policy publicly on your website or in your newsletters

Governance

  • Reference the impact of your business in your mission statement

Florida-based startups who are interested in learning how to build socially-responsible practices into the foundation of their company can contact Lorin Augerie at Florida for Good for guidance and free resources.

Specials thanks to Florida for Good for sharing information with Embarc Collective startups on the B Corp movement.

Inspired by the global B Corp movement, Florida for Good is an initiative which funds free resources, collaborative opportunities and networking connections to facilitate the spread of business for good and Certified B Corporations®. Florida For Good is the connector between B Corps, Conscious Capitalism, 1% For The Planet, like-minded organizations/networks, governments/chambers, academia, and the local For Good ecosystems throughout the state. FFG and the For Good Movement were co-founded in 2018 by Jared Meyers, owner of two Certified B Corporations in Florida (Legacy Vacation Resorts and Salt Palm Development).

Additional Resources to Leverage

KNOWPanel discussion delves into rise of B Corps

By Business

Published on February 20, 2021

Clockwise from top left: Sirena Andras, Tonya Donati, Dan Bailey, Vinny Tafuro and Kimberly Jackson.

St. Petersburg College’s Institute of Strategic Policy Solutions held a virtual panel discussion on Thursday that took a detailed look at how the B Corp movement has brought a much-needed mindset shift to the business world.

The B Corp movement envisions business as a source for good and advocates for the “triple bottom line” — people, planet and profits. To achieve B Corp status, a company must meet certain environmental and social standards, such as paying its employees a living wage, offering paid time off for community service and implementing practices that reduce waste and pollution.

Worldwide, there are some 3,500 B Corps, and the movement has taken root in Florida, with 18 Sunshine State companies achieving B Corp status. In the Tampa Bay area, St. Petersburg-based Salt Palm Development and Diamond View Studios, a Tampa video production firm, have met the requirements.

ISPS Executive Director Kimberly Jackson hosted and moderated Thursday’s panel discussion. Her co-moderator was Vinny Tafuro, an author, economist and entrepreneur. Panelists were Sirena Andras, a Miami-based designer and art director; Dan Bailey, the founder of Amavida Coffee, a B Corp located in Santa Rosa Beach; and Tonya Donati, co-founder and managing partner of Mother Kombucha, also a B Corp, in St. Petersburg.

Tafuro kicked off the discussion with an overview of how B Corps operate. They allow “entrepreneurs and business leaders to voluntarily elect to choose this new format of operating their business that allows them to hit other metrics besides just financial statistics and financial reporting,” he said. “So they report on their impact to the environment, to the community, as well as to their shareholders.”

Prior to founding her B Corp, Creative G, Andras said she spent 13 years doing photo shoots for what she calls “luxury stuff.” Gradually, she came to the realization that she was using her talents to “dupe people, as was the case in marketing and still is for some companies.” The work gave her a “yucky feeling” because she was involved with companies that weren’t leaving a positive impact on the world. So she went out on her own. “I discovered B Corp,” she said, “and I said, ‘Those are the people I want to work with.’”

Andras said that as a solo entrepreneur, it took about a year for her to achieve B Corp status, but the hard work was well worth it. “I’m connecting more and more each day with other companies that are like-minded,” she said. “And when I get to use my talents and do work for these corporations, it’s an inspiration to me, and I feel like I’m leaving a positive footprint in the world. So that’s why I became a B Corp, and that’s why I like to support other B Corps.”

Bailey said his upbringing in an island nation in the Caribbean exposed him, at an early age, to the ravages of poverty, but it wasn’t until later in his career, in 2004, when “I decided I couldn’t sit on the sidelines any more. I needed to take action.” He said he founded Amavida Coffee with the goal of improving the sustainability of coffee growers around the world. “We really didn’t have a compass when we started,” he said. “We just knew that the things that were important to our growers were their income and their stability of income. Our mission was to be recognized as the best by our community, for our community, for the environment, for our employees and for our growers.”

Mother Kombucha’s application for B Corp status is still pending, but Donati said she started the business in accordance with B Corp principles such as using cleanly sourced materials and composting waste. “A lot of what the model of B Corp certification is, we had already been putting into our business,” she said. “And then about two or three years in, myself and another partner went to a conscious capitalism event. And we found out what B Corp was.”

Donati said B Corp status is good for a company’s brand, and she believes the certification will help, not hinder, Mother Kombucha’s growth. Becoming a B Corp, she said, is a way to “bake in our values and protect what we believe is the way we should be doing business.” Joining the B Corp community, she added, has allowed Mother Kombucha to connect and do business with a fair-trade tea company in Bangladesh that’s “raising women and children out of poverty.”

Visit the ISPS website to view the organization’s calendar of upcoming events like this one.

Punta Gorda Toy Company Receives Safety Certification Ahead of March Product Launch

By Business

Pressure Games announced their first toy, Countdown, has received its ASTM safety certification ahead of its upcoming launch in March. This critical certification is a stepping-stone toward the toy’s launch in late March. ASTM is an internationally recognized safety certification organization which tests to both local, nation and worldwide standards. Approval is required for mass distribution and sale through online retailers, such as Amazon.

Countdown is a hide-and-seek toy designed for active, social play for children aged 5+. Set a timer and hide the small toy anywhere. Then, another team must find it and play through a set of bite-sized games to stop the timer and win. It’s a fast paced game that raises the bar for the classic game of hide & seek for this generation of kids.

In development for over 2 years, Countdown has won at international toy competitions, was featured at 2020 CES in Las Vegas & the 2020 San Diego Comic Con and has been play-tested at local Boys & Girls Clubs, elementary schools and numerous other venues.

Countdown is currently available for pre-order with deliveries expected to start in late March. To learn more, visit:
https://pressuregames.com/toys/countdown

Pressure Games is a Public Benefit Corporation with a mission to give back to the community and environment. They are also a member of Florida For Good, Pledge 1% and an aspiring B-Corp company.