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The for-benefit model: why I'm still at this

Full disclosure: I started working on my graduate research project three semesters ago. It is not a Ph.D. It won't change my life. But it's important. It is important because Canada needs it and needs to get it right. The dual-purpose structure of a for-benefit corporation enshrines in legislation a corporation’s duty to both shareholders and stakeholders.

This week I'm finalizing my research, which includes a three-country study on four corporate models (240 data points), in-person interviews and online questionnaires, and a survey of social entrepreneurs. If life holds a steady (enough) course for the next month, I will complete the project report, defend and publish by January 2018.

Last call for survey and questionnaire

If you identify as a social entrepreneur or intrapreneur, please contribute to the survey (5 minutes).

If you work in business or social innovation, please add your thoughts to the online questionnaire (10 minutes).

The survey and the questionnaire will close Friday, October 27 at noon.

A little background

In the UK, the model is called a Community Interest Company (CIC), and in the US, it is called a Benefit Corporation. Canada's tentative entry into for-benefit companies has already introduced two different names: Community Contribution Company (C3) in British Columbia and Community Interest Company (CIC) in Nova Scotia.

Over the past year, I've dedicated the bulk of my research focus to problem finding. Why is Canada drifting on the for-benefit model? Uptake in BC has been minimal – just over 50 for-benefit incorporations in three years, and Nova Scotia announced the legislation in 2016 with very little fanfare.

I've been a social entrepreneur, working with social entrepreneurs in a collaboration or consulting capacity since 1984. That's 33 years of watching the GDP of social sweat equity swirl down the drain. I've taken the job of sleuthing out the problem purposefully and painstakingly.

If you would like to connect on this topic or receive a copy of the project report, please drop me a line:


Note: For-benefit corporations subject to legislative control should not be confused with B Corp certification by B Lab, a US non-profit that champions “a global movement of people using business as a force for good. ™” B Lab's mission includes promotes innovative corporate structures such as for-benefit companies. B Lab manages, an excellent resource for businesses, investors, attorneys, and policymakers and has developed model legislation, which it recommends for the basis of any new state legislation in the US. B Lab Canada is – contact Joyce Sou, Manager B Corps, MaRS

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