California Capitol Building ceilingIn reviewing the last batch of the nearly 600 bills that he had to process, California Governor Jerry Brown signed into law both social innovation bills—just in time for the midnight deadline on October 10th, 2011.Both AB 361 (benefit corporations) and SB 201 (flexible purpose corporations) which create new legal structures for social enterprise are now officially California law.You can read the key points of each bill here.Read the official legislative update from the Governor’s office here.

California is #6

The passage of the benefit corporation legislation makes California the 6th state to recognize a new form of corporation that is for-profit and committed to creating a positive impact on society and the environment. California joins Maryland, Vermont, Hawaii, Virginia, and New Jersey in the benefit corporation club.

A Look Back

If you have been following the benefit corporation legislation movement on the B Corporation public policy page, here on Innov8Social, or on any number of sites following the developments, you may have been awaiting the midnight decision.

You can catch up on the progress of AB 361 in California:

A Look Ahead
Non-urgent bills such AB 361 and SB 201 signed into law will become effective January 1st, 2012. Until then, social entrepreneurs interested in becoming among the first benefit corporations in California, can use the time to decide which legal structure is the best fit, and become prepared to meet the various requirements.
Attorney Donald Simon shares some tips on how a company can get ready for benefit corporation certification or re-certification as a benefit corporation in these two videos:

Attorney Donald Simon Defines 3 Terms Related to AB 361 (Benefit Corporations) [VIDEO]

Attorney Donald Simon’s Q & A on California Benefit Corporation Legislation [VIDEO]


Meet Attorney Donald Simon

Attorney Donald Simon explains a few terms related to California’s benefit corporation legislation (AB 361) in the interview below. Simon is a Partner at Wendel Rosen Black & Dean LLP and co-author of AB 361–legislation that would create a new for-profit corporate form in the state for companies wishing to earn a profit while also creating a positive impact on the environment and community.

Watch the Interview

(quick tip, turn the sound all the way up.)

Terms to Know

You can see Innov8Social’s previous interview with Donald Simon–to learn the general features of AB 361 and why social entrepreneurs may choose it as a business structure.  In this interview, he addresses constituency statutes and how they relate to the benefit corporation legislation.
He also explains what the third-party standard is, and the role it will play in assessing a company’s impact on the community and environment. Finally, Simon lays out the supermajority shareholder requirement of AB 361.Simon also offers a few tips and suggestions to social entrepreneurs who are considering incorporating or reincorporating as a benefit corporation.

Shift in Business As UsualWhether you think of the move towards a greener economy as quick turn to consider more than a singular bottom line, or you view it as part of the gradual evolution of the way business is done–you will have noted a shift in business as usual.Former President Bill Clinton recently discussed the changing economy, and interconnected role of private and public sectors in an interview about jobs and the green economy.

And notably, California is not first on the scene of the benefit corporation party. In fact the first state to pass benefit corporation legislation was Maryland, followed by Vermont, Virginia, New Jersey, and Hawaii. Similar bills are proceeding through the legislative process in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Colorado, and of course, California.

The Update on AB 361

Despite the interview’s consideration of terms that will come into effect ‘once’ the bill is passed, in reality, there is no guarantee that AB 361 will become new law. It is currently awaiting Governor Jerry Brown’s review. You can read a full update on AB 361 here, and also learn how to support these efforts to enact legislation supporting social entrepreneurship.Related Posts:

This blog promises to explore social innovation. And at SOCAP 2011, there was a unique opportunity to do so by talking with individuals coming from diverse sectors of the field.

If you have been following recent posts and interviews on Innov8Social, you will have seen a few of these perspectives represented.  The interviews (or perhaps more aptly, interview-ettes) are 1-2 minute introductions that provide simple insight into the missions, goals, and structure of the various organizations represented. Enough to give a you a feel, with info on where to go to find out more.
Waiting for the punchline
And, just as no human is an island–social innovation does work in a vacuum. More often than not, you need the dialogue, the critical ‘buy-in’ from different sectors, to make an idea take off or continue.
So, in case you missed the individual posts, here they are compiled in one place. Four unique individuals representing four fascinating ventures. You can click the link associated with each video to read the full article where you will learn more about the organization and find related resources.
4 Perspectives at SOCAP 11, in Video

Impact Investing at SOCAP11: An Interview with Absolute Impact Partners

One World Youth Project’s Executive Director at SOCAP11

Namaste Solar’s Co-Founder Talks About Being a B Corp at SOCAP11

DayOne Response Waterbags Deliver Clean Water After a Crisis, SOCAP11

More on SOCAP11 from Innov8Social

You can follow our coverage of this year’s conference by clicking on the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social. You can also catch up on tweets from SOCAP11 (Sept 7-9 2011) @innov8social on Twitter and can search #SOCAP11 on Twitter for related tweets.

An Increasing Need for Clean Water, Demands Solutions

Sometimes a need can be so necessary and apparent, that a innovation is a welcome sight, rather than a big surprise. Access to clean water after a disaster is one such need that has affected global superpowers as well as countries deep in their development stages. Whether the need for clean water comes after natural disasters such as hurricanes, tsunamis, earthquakes or from man-made scenarios such as war, explosion, or delayed government response—it is essential, and often unmet.

Meet DayOne Response

DayOne Response is a social venture aiming to answer the call for clean water. DayOne Response’s V.P. of Business Development, Amy Cagle, was on hand at the SOCAP11 Innovation Showcase on the second day of SOCAP11.Below she shows us the DayOne Waterbag that can sanitize any water and make it potable by utilizing the technology of PUR purifier packets (that purify using chlorination-flocculation technology) along with a specially-designed waterbag for easy water collection, filtration, and delivery.

Watch the Interview

How can a waterbag do that? 

DayOne Response demonstrates in this short training video taken in Haiti. Water filtered using DayOne Waterbags and PUR packets meet the World Health Organization guidelines for drinking water.

The DayOne Waterbags may be a scaleable solution, since they take up little space when empty, can turn almost any water into clean drinking water, and can be distributed quickly after a disaster, which can free up resources, and can give affected individuals quicker access to safe water.

B Corporations In Different Forms

SOCAP11 (Social Capital Markets 2011) brought together a confluence of people, ideas, and dialogues from around the social innovation sphere. It was especially interesting to hear about various corporate forms that social ventures had decided on.I had a chance to talk with Blake Jones towards the end of Day 2 of SOCAP11. We had both attended the same breakout session on benefit corporations earlier in the day.

His company, a b corporation, is also a cooperative.

Meet Blake

Blake co-founded, Namaste Solar, a B corporation based in Colorado. (Reminder: B corporation is a voluntary certification, benefit corporation is a new corporate form for social innovation that has passed/is being introduced in various states. You can read more about the differences between B corporation and benefit corporation)

Here is a quick interview with Blake explaining what Namaste Solar does and why and how they decided to pursue the B corporation certification.

Watch the Interview


More About Namaste Solar

Namaste Solar is an employee-owned cooperative that installs solar systems in homes and businesses.

Namaste Solar is proud to be a B corporation and exists to benefit all of its stakeholders, including community and environment.

They may be looking for impact investors in the future.

Follow SOCAP11 Coverage

You can read posts about this year’s conference by clicking on the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social. Following up on tweets from from SOCAP11 is also possible by following @innov8social on Twitter and searching #SOCAP11 for all related tweets.

SOCAP11 (Social Capital Markets Conference 2011) featured a number of social businesses and non-profits. Representing the

photo: LinkedIn

photo: LinkedIn

non-profit organization, One World Youth Project (OWYP), was the organization’s Executive Director, Jess Rimington.We had a chance to catch up with Jess, who was in town from the OWYP’s headquarters in Washington D.C.Below is a quick interview, where she explains what OWYP is, its current locations, and how and why the organization decided to incorporate as a non-profit.

One World Youth Project (OWYP) is an initiative to raise global awareness by offering a 3-semester leadership program for university students who prepare and lead global competence curriculum to secondary school students.

It is structured as a non-profit. Executive Director Jess Rimington calls it a “social profit” because the organization could have been incorporated as a for-profit entity since universities pay for the training course.

It has recently expanded to multiple locations worldwide.

Additional SOCAP11 Coverage

You can read posts about this year’s conference by checking out the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social. You can also catch up on tweets from SOCAP11 @innov8social on Twitter and can search #SOCAP11 on Twitter for related tweets.

Impact Investing Lens on Social Entrepreneurship

SOCAP11 (Social Capital Markets Conference 2011) may have ended last Friday, but its concepts and topics are coming to life as they are retweeted, blogged about, and discussed in articles, message boards, and through various social and professional networks.

One topic that I was eager to learn about through attending SOCAP11 was impact investing. As a concept it is a source of intrigue and fascination, but in practice I wanted to chat with investors dedicated to impact investing to learn about this niche, its need, and what criteria impact investors base their investments upon. And, I was equally curious about how impact investing works abroad.

Meet Absolute Impact Partners, Impact Investment Firm

So it was serendipitous to run into the Director of a new impact investing firm based in Singapore, called Absolute Impact Partners. In the video below, Lynna Chandra explains the concept behind their entry into the impact investment field, what they hope to achieve, and she outlines the criteria they use before making an impact investment or assisting a local social entrepreneur with mentorship resources.

Watch the Interview

Key Points

Absolute Impact Partners was started alleviate poverty through a multi-level approach, with a focus on addressing the lack of access to global markets faced by many local social entrepreneurs.

Lynna spoke about connecting local manufacturers to international markets, through creating distribution streams for products so that entrepreneurs have multiple distributors for their products.

She mentioned that her firm looks to identify businesses or projects seeking impact investment are socially aware, environmentally conscious, generate profit, and create change in the community.

Follow SOCAP11 Coverage

You can read posts about this year’s conference by clicking on the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social. You can also catch tweets from SOCAP11 @innov8social on Twitter and can search #SOCAP11 on Twitter for related tweets.

Human rights activist, leader in green energy reform, and Yale law school graduate Van Jones, spoke to Jeff Leifer of Circadian Media Lab on Day 1 of SOCAP11.Van Jones at SOCAP11Who is Van Jones?

On paper, Van Jones is paradigm of success in social innovation.

A well-educated professional, he has leveraged his Yale law degree to causes such as human rights and environmental reform, and has founded 3 non-profit organizations. A celebrated thinker,  he has been recognized as a creative mind and environmental hero by TIME magazine, Fast Company and others, and was appointed to serve as Special Advisor for Green Jobs in the Obama Administration in 2008.

In person, he is dynamic.

His conversational rapport and ability to be honest about his coursing journey in politics, policy, and life make him instantly accessible to an audience of strangers. His passion for social innovation, environmental policy, and social movement is inspiring. He is a generous interviewee, with a compelling story to tell.

In the media, he is debated.

Depending on whether you are left of center or right, you will find different platforms of media informing you of different elements of his life, his allegiances, his beliefs, and his loyalties. The controversy surrounds a petition he signed in 2004 regarding the 9/11 attacks. The cloud of question was fanned until he ultimately resigned from the Obama White House. He has since founded a grass roots movement called Rebuild the Dream supporting job creation, affordable higher education, benefits for retirees.

Memorable Van Jones’ Quotations from SOCAP11

Van Jones had much to share in his hour-long arm-chair conversation with Circadian Media Labs CEO Jeff Leifer as part of the “Leveraging New Media Currency” Track of SOCAP11. Here are a few memorable quotes. You can see the full interview online through LiveStream.

“You can build a super movement just based on super good ideas.”

“The American Dream has to be reinvented. You have to have an American Dream 2.0.” 

“We have to have some platforms for disruptive innovation in both politics and economics….people-powered, economy-smart innovation.”

“Democracies work well when we do what we do well. What we do well is innovate.”

“If anyone ever gets an opportunity to work in the White House. And if it’s written into the contract that you’re going have exactly the same kind of experience that I had…six months, and then two weeks of all that, take the job. Take the job. It’s that mind-blowing, it’s that important.”

“This movement has to figure out who we are, now…it’s when you have a big dream and it gets smashed, you have to make a decision. Do you just lay down, or do you stand back up with a bigger dream.”

“It’s become just as fashionable now to be cynical as it is to be hopeful. I don’t trust either one of them. I trust work and innovation, and values and commitments.”

How do you synthesize 3 full days of social innovation topics, events, interviews, meetings, and experiences at SOCAP11? One blog post at a time.And what better way to kick off the synthesis than with an essay of photos. Here are images taken over the course of the 3-day conference, that together, begin to tell the story of a conference featuring thought-provoking topics by social innovation thought-leaders. To learn about what we gleaned from the conference, you can follow posts with the SOCAP11 tag on Innov8Social.You can click on the photos for more information.

Innov8Social at SOCAP11: The Photo Essay

SOCAP11 light projection logo

Social innovation incubator & accelerator programs (SOCAP11)

Senda Athletics at SOCAP11

Filling the Gaps, SOCAP11

Keeping Meaning in the Market

Craig Newmark and Kevin Jones at SOCAP11

Art at SOCAP11

Nokero Solar Lights at SOCAP11

Market Dynamics of New Media Landscape

Van Jones at SOCAP11

Socap11 tweet up

Off the Grid at Fort Mason (SOCAP11)

How do you get from idea to state law?

In following the journey of California’s AB 361 and the number of other bills across various states that would create (or have created) a new corporate form called a benefit corporation—learning the impetus for the legislation is often as interesting as



understanding the process.

And the story of California’s AB 361 is particularly interesting. You can watch California State Assemblymember for the 6th Assembly District Jared Huffman talk about the crowdsourcing origin of AB 361 and other key points of the bill below.

Assemblymember Huffman is the sponsor for AB 361, which was recently voted through the California State Senate Committee on Banking and Financial Institutions and also successfully passed through the State Judiciary Committee.