Civic Training: Legal Structures for Social Enterprises

On Thursday, March 12th,  CCI hosted a class on existing benefit corporation laws across the US. One of the most common questions we get from social entrepreneurs is, "What legal structure should I have for my business?"  We understand the confusion: there is no one form for these types of companies in the US, and that has led to some major variation from state to state. It's important to know your facts:

  • There are now three primary legal structures for social enterprises across the US: the benefit corporation, the social purpose corporation and the L3C. Some states have one, some states have another, and some states don't have any of the three.

  • To date, Georgia does not have a legal structure for benefit corporations

  • Any for-profit company, no matter their legal form, can become B Corp Certified, which makes it an appealing option for companies started in states without a specific legal structure for social enterprises.

For anyone who missed the event or wants to review the slides, you can view them here.

In general, the entrepreneurs who attended had deep questions regarding the structures available and the impact they could or should have on their businesses. The group also explored the uses and possibilities of fiscal sponsorship as a means to access capital, build capacity and take time in deciding the appropriate structure for their venture.

For more information on social enterprise legal structures, check out these resources: