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Social Entrepreneurship and Public Benefit Corporations

Approximately 18 months ago, Etsy Inc., the online retailer describing itself as “a marketplace where people around the world connect, both online and offline, to make, sell and buy unique goods” launched its initial public offering on the NASDAQ. What made Etsy’s debut on the stock exchange a cause célèbre was the company’s unique status as a social enterprise entity. Social enterprise entities can be defined as a corporate entity that uses “commercial activity to drive revenue with the common good as its primary purpose.”1 Etsy’s IPO and the development of social enterprise entities are part of a wider trend. Most of the nation’s most prestigious business schools, including Harvard, Columbia, Cornell, UNC, BU and Yale, now offer multiple courses that integrate social impact into their curriculum. Wharton now has a Director of Social Impact and the Berkeley Haas School of Management has a Center for Public and Non-Profit Leadership, many others have similar programs or centers.   Click here to read the full article.

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