As the Founder and CEO of both The Walker Group, an IT & Web Services firm, and reSET – Social Enterprise Trust, I am excited to announce the introduction of H.B. 6356, An Act Concerning Benefit Corporations and Encouraging Social Enterprise, in the Connecticut General Assembly. It is an exciting time to be a social entrepreneur in Connecticut, and I would like to take the time to discuss social enterprise, and the positive effect that H.B. 6356 will have on the State’s burgeoning social enterprise ecosystem.   

Social enterprises are organizations that use business to help solve community problems. Profits become a means to a greater end, not the end in itself.  Think Newman’s Own which gives all its profits to charitable causes, or the Firebox Restaurant in Hartford, which uses its operations to help train community residents for jobs in the restaurant industry.  Think Tom’s Shoes, with its One-for-One program, or The Walker Group, which provides funding to reSET. It’s a new but growing and very exciting way of doing business that allows entrepreneurs to generate profits and create new jobs, while at the same time solving community problems without burdening tax payers.  What’s not to love?

We are very excited about H.B. 6356, which was drafted by reSET in conjunction with the Connecticut Bar Association and B-Lab (a Pennsylvania-based non-profit that supports social enterprise), and is now part of the Governor’s legislative package this year. The legislation not only legitimizes the concept of social enterprise, but also provides a legal framework for social entrepreneurs to do business in a transparent manner. In addition, it allows social entrepreneurs to protect their company’s legacy long into the future, ensuring a vibrant and robust social enterprise ecosystem for years to come. I hope that you will support H.B. 6356, and help us pass it into law this legislative session.

Our state’s legislators and policymakers are eager to hear from social entrepreneurs and their advocates, who can help testify to the need for this legislation and their support of our efforts.  There are many ways in which to show your support:

  1. Write to your State Representative or Senator and letting them know you support bringing benefit corporations to Connecticut;
  2. Testify before the General Assembly. Public hearings before the Judiciary and Commerce committees regarding H.B. 6356 will be held in March. Specific dates have yet to be determined. But please let us know if you would be willing to deliver in-person testimony, and we will let you know as soon as the hearings have been scheduled.

Detailed instructions for contacting your State Representative or Senator are housed on our legislative page: http://www.socialenterprisetrust.org/social-enterprise-legislation. However, if you have questions, or would like to speak to someone at reSET about other ways of supporting our legislative efforts, please contact James Woulfe at jwoulfe@www.socialenterprisetrust.org.

reSET COVID-19 Update: reSET is open for Coworking, but our staff is working remotely, accessible via email or phone. All events have been cancelled through April 30. Impact Accelerator, Food Incubator, and Student Incubators have moved to a virtual learning environment. More detailed information on reSET’s COVID-19 policies and resources for small businesses here.