What happens when a business develops a non-profit mindset, and wants to use income for social good? Or a nonprofit develops an idea for a profitable business model?
There are a growing number of legal and taxation structures for businesses large and small who want to do good in the world, yet remain a for-profit enterprise.
Social Enterprise Structures
501c3: The 501c3 designation allows for federal tax exemption of nonprofit organizations, specifically those that are considered public charities, private foundations or private operating foundations. They must be organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, testing for public safety, literary, or educational purposes, or to foster national or international amateur sports competition, or for the prevention of cruelty to children or animals. (Source: 501c3.org)
L3C: A low-profit limited liability company, also known as an L3C, is a new kind of limited liability company (LLC) that combines the financial advantages of the traditional LLC form of business with the social benefits of a non-profit entity. In addition, as a variety of LLC, the L3C generally shields its owners from the debts of the enterprise. (Source: Marc J. Lane) Essentially, it is an LLC where the social mission is its primary purpose.
B "Benefit" Corps: B Corps are corporations certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency. (Source: BCorporation.net)
- A primer by Marc J. Lane: The Low-profit Limited Liability Company (L3C).
- Book: Social Enterprise: Empowering Mission-driven Entrepreneurs (2012).
- Corporate Creativity: The Vermont L3C & Other Developments in Social Entrepreneurship, a Symposium, February 2010.
- To L3C or Not to L3C? That was the Question, by Richard Marker, February 2013.
- L3C founders on Twitter.
- How To: Corporation Division of the State of Vermont resources.
Local Social Enterprise
- Thryve, a program of Startup Tucson, 501(c)3
"Anncouncing Thryve – A Social Impact Incubator," Startup Tucson
Fed By Threads, LLC
"Fed by Threads Extends Socially-Conscious Clothing Brand to New Downtown Location," Downtown Tucsonan
- Dishes and Stories, L3C
"Entrepreneurs in a Cultural Urban Kitchen," Zocalo Magazine
- Borderlands Restoration, L3C
- Goodmans Interior Structures, B Corp
B Corps Resources