We help startups start up. Lawyers with commitment to the greater social good, we will help you find the legal framework that is right for you and establish the foundational legal documents and agreements that enable you to start working.
We are inspired and guided by the ethos of social enterprise.
Purpose-driven social enterprise is based on three principes: people, planet and profit.
To have a sense of purpose is to have a sense of meaning in one’s life. Acting with purpose, or intention, reflects a philosophy that personal satisfaction and contentment are fundamentally tied to caring about others: our personal situation gets better and more rewarding the more we seek to make the lives of others better.
Mission-driven ventures are also more sensitive to the needs of the people who work for them. Good conscience and care for others begins at home with respect, good working conditions and paying a living wage. Every startup is going to take a lot of focus and effort. Social entrepreneurs find creative ways to acieve work/life balance for themselves and those they work with.
Social enterprises also respect everyone they deal with. Fair and firm partnerships and contracting means always being respectful, acting with transparency and honesty without sacrificing the advantages of your position, knowledge and experience.
But our understanding of economic costs and savings is becoming more sophisticated. When true costs are figured in, it often becomes evident that providing a needed service will be cheaper in the long run. A good example is Guaranteed Annual Income: providing a reasonable minimum living standard reduces crime and improves health. Savings in policing, hospital visits and other health and social services more than make up for the added cost, even without calculating intangible benefits like increased civic spirit and improved social relations generally.
It is difficult to channel social benefits back to the producer in the form of money unless you are a government, and even then. Taxpayers can be impatient, hesitating to back plans that will result in cost savings they won’t see for many years or savings to services they don’t themselves use. Social enterprises often have to innovate in finding resources to support their work. Partnerships are often the key.
Sometimes, consumers are willing to pay a little more for a product that is better for the environment, is creating needed employment or where a portion of the proceeds from sales are directed back into other socially constructive projects.
Three P Legal Structures
Whatever their project, social enterprises generally adopt conventional legal structures as either for profit businesses or not for profit organizations. They may operate differently based on ethics and objectives but these standard formal structures are servicable, well understood, tried and true. That said, there are new structures being developed to help purpose-driven organizations achieve their goals: