A business model that fits the valley?

I think there may have been a glimmer of intelligent life coming from the Legislature last week

Far be it from me to offer praise towards the provincial government, regardless of which party is in power, but I think there may have been a glimmer of intelligent life coming from the Legislature last week. An order-in-council made on Wednesday, February 27th brought into effect a new corporate structure for B.C., something called a community contribution corporation, it was quietly announced in a Saturday press release. It’s about generating private investment in the social enterprise sector, through companies that borrow traits from both regular, for-profit companies and the not-for-profit sector. It sounds like a great recipe for thriving small and medium-sized businesses that care about giving back to their community. The model allows a company to be propped up by private equity and to issue shares, but with a limited ability to pay dividends and an obligation to put a portion of the company’s profits towards social good deeds. It’s clear to me that many businesses in the Columbia Valley take seriously their commitments to support the community. Rather than doing this at the expense of profit margins, maybe they could assume this interesting new structure — and whatever tax benefits it would hopefully entail — once it comes into effect at the end of July. Having community contribution corporations in the valley would almost definitely add to the economic incentives to buy local, while helping businesses avoid the dreaded “chump factor” that sometimes accompanies charitable acts. The idea was picked up by the BC Social Innovation Council , who noticed this model working well in the United Kingdom. It’s the first legislation of its kind in Canada — why not show the rest of the country how beneficial it could be right here in the Upper Columbia Valley?

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