BDC: Helping grow an exciting entrepreneurial global movement via BCorp certification

Stemming from its dedication to help entrepreneurs succeed and become instruments for greater economy, strengthens local communities and preserver of the environment, the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) is promoting an exciting entrepreneurial global movement towards becoming a Certified Beneficial Corporations (B Corps).

B Corps are businesses that act in ways that benefit society as a whole rather than focusing solely on making profits. Compared to traditional companies, B Corps are recognized for creating greater economic opportunity, strengthening local communities and preserving the environment. At present, there are only 1,600 B Corps in forty-plus countries, including Asia and the Americas, with 160 in Canada. Growth is strong at 55% since 2014.

As part of its strong advocacy in promoting B Corp certification, BDC is the only bank in Canada to obtain such certification. It did a massive internal education campaign with 1,000 plus employees benefited; formed an internal, national network of bankers to build relationships with people and organizations in the market and attract clients; started to support – money and expertise – six grassroots organizations across Canada that serve these entrepreneurs; began hosting monthly meetings in the two Canadian Cities – Toronto and Vancouver – with the largest number of B Corps; and began supporting capital market mechanisms designed for these entrepreneurs and used B Corps standard in two of Canada’s ten provinces (with a third planned for 2016).

The certification is granted by a non-profit organization called B Lab similar to the Fair Trade certification for coffee and the ‘Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design’ (LEED) certification for buildings meeting high environmental standards. During certification process, entrepreneurs must pass a bi-annual performance assessment and modify the company legal charter that states that the firm’s purpose is to create value that is social and environmental as well as financial.

The advantages of the certification includes the attraction of more customers, potential employees and investors, and high marketing and social media value. It also puts entrepreneurs into a network of like-minded people who seek to do business with each other.

BDC’s “Helping Grow an Exciting Entrepreneurial Movement:  Certified Beneficial Corporations” won the 2016 ADFIAP’s Outstanding Development Project Awards under the Corporate Social Responsibility Category.

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