Reps. Vaupel, Greig hold panel discussion on B-corps
B-corps allow corporations the flexibility to pursue philanthropic goals
State Rep. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville) hosted an informational panel forum today with Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills) to introduce entrepreneurs to the concept of benefit corporations, also known as B-corps. B-corps give businesses additional flexibility to pursue philanthropic goals rather than solely existing to maximize profits.
“The House Talent and Place Caucus introduced this bipartisan legislation to recognize the status of benefit corporations in our state and allow companies to opt to prioritize their societal mission within their business model,” Rep. Vaupel said. “I hear from B-corps how their status as mission-driven businesses helps them grow their businesses by attracting talented employees, investors and customers.”
“B-corps bring together a business’ desire to provide a service or product to a community and a desire to serve that community at the same time,” said Rep. Greig. “I’m enthusiastic about bringing legal recognition to the B-corp status, to encourage more businesses to take advantage of such opportunities.”
Hosted at Cleary University’s School of Business, university president Jason Boyers welcomed the forum of local businesses leaders, social entrepreneurs and students.
“Today’s discussion brought together representatives of existing certified B-corps in Michigan and entrepreneurs and business leaders who want to know more about them,” Boyers said. “It offers current and future business leaders a chance to learn about B-corps and if this new status would better support their business goals.”
Rob Fowler, president of Small Business Association of Michigan (SBAM), participated on the panel. The association provided testimony to members of the House Commerce and Trade Committee on Tuesday, where the four bill package received a hearing. “With the legal recognition of B-corp status from the Michigan Legislature, we can offer another arrow in the economic quiver for business growth in Michigan.”
The bills would:
· Create a legal status for B-corps — House Bill 5710 from Rep. Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills)
· Require annual benefit reports from B-corps — HB 5711 from Rep. Hank Vaupel (R-Fowlerville)
· Update the Business Corporation Act to include B-corps — HB 5712 from Rep. David LaGrand (D-Grand Rapids)
· Update the Business Corporation Act to require annual benefit reports —HB 5713 from Rep. Joseph Graves (R-Argentine Township)
There are currently 15 certified B-corps in Michigan, including the most recently created Higher Grounds Trading Company in Traverse City. While companies in Michigan can go through a certification process to become a B-corp, the status isn’t legally recognized, and businesses could still be found at fault for engaging in philanthropy rather than existing solely to make a profit.
“Thirty two other states have already adopted B-corp legislation, and I’m hopeful that the Legislature will take quick action on these bills,” said Nicole Mangis, founder of Launch Exchange Detroit, who serves on the board of the Detroit Chapter of the Social Enterprise Alliance in Michigan.