Last week, reSET helped move Connecticut one step closer to becoming the next state in the nation to adopt benefit corporation legislation. We headed to into the Legislative Office Building in Hartford on Thursday to testify before the Commerce Committee in support of H.B. 6356 – An Act Concerning Benefit Corporations and Encouraging Social Enterprise. From the get-go, it was clear that we were in a good position. We received an incredible amount of support for H.B. 6356 from our members– so much so, that five additional Commerce Committee staffers were brought in to sort the written testimony out into packages for legislators prior to the hearing. We even overheard them saying they’d “never seen this much testimony in favor of a bill before!”
Testimony began with Commissioner Catherine Smith of the Department of Economic and Community development who voiced her support for H.B. 6356, followed by Claire Leonardi, CEO of Connecticut Innovations, the State’s investment bank, which provides capital to startup businesses in the State.
Walker Group and reSET CEO Kate Emery spoke passionately about the difficulties social entrepreneurs face without a specific business designation for social enterprises, and how benefit corporation legislation would make starting a social enterprise in Connecticut much simpler and cost-effective. Executive Director Michelle Cote was up next, describing how reSET promotes social entrepreneurship, and how benefit corporation help social entrepreneurs distinguish themselves within the business community and help unite diverse sets of stakeholders to address some of our State’s most deeply entrenched social challenges.
After Michelle, it was my turn to speak – I used my time before the Committee to discuss the taxation of benefit corporations, and the support that benefit corporations can offer to non-profit organizations. Christopher Brechlin and Leslie Krumholz followed. They both touched upon their experiences as social entrepreneurs and as members of reSET’s first Accelerator class, as well as need for a new legal designation to help their social enterprises thrive. We also received support from the Connecticut Bar Association, who endorsed the bill.
All in all, we had a very successful day at the Capitol. Supporters of H.B. 6356 engaged with members of the Commerce Committee from both parties, and we left with a feeling that the consensus among all assembled was strongly in favor of passing benefit corporation legislation in Connecticut.
Special thanks goes out to everyone who helped provide the record-setting amount of written testimony:
[one_half]Charles Bogoian – Kenai Sports
Tj Clynch – Civic Mind
Charlotte Creech – Combat 2 Careers
Rachel Decavage – Sugarplum
Maureen Farmer – The Farmer’s Garden
Dr. David Fearon – Central Connecticut State University
Phyllis Fryzel- GG2G
Rosie Gallant – reSET
Judy Greiman – CCIC[/one_half]
[one_half_last]Abigail Jewett – AT&T
Jackie Johnson – Choice Business and Personal Coaching
John Murphy – Human Arts Media
Donna Palomba – Jane Doe No More
Rebecca Paolino – Gerace & Associates
Dorie Perugini – BeLoved
Cary Wheaton – Billings Forge
Lisa Wilde – CK Imports
Ira Yellen – HomeCareMatchKiosk.com
Anne Yurasek – Fio Partners[/one_half_last]
Thanks again to everyone who took the time to write up testimony or speak in person in support of H.B. 6356. Connecticut is on its way to becoming a hub of social enterprise, and we couldn’t have gotten this far without you!