In 2020, HAYVN Coworking Community submitted an application for B Corp Certification. Becoming a B Corporation demonstrates HAYVN’s formal dedication to being a truly mission-driven company. It means HAYVN is committed to balancing profit and purpose in order to build a community for the full benefit of all stakeholders.
According toHAYVN members, Silvina Skverer and Soledad Matteozzi of Thinking Beyond Business:
“B-Corp certification is a very rigorous certification administered by a nonprofit organization called B-Lab that verifies that the business applying for the certification meets standards in four key areas”:
To achieve B Corp certification, HAYVN Coworking’s community has to meet the highest standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability. In addition, HAYVN is also creating network and business support systems with their own community of social impact members. Some of their members include Smile Coffee Werks, GoPure, Thinking Beyond Business and Impact Growth Partners to name a few. “We submitted our B Corporation application a few months ago, and are awaiting the scoring to learn where we can improve,” said HAYVN Founder and CEO, Felicia Rubinstein. “We encourage people from our local community, as well as our coworking members, to join us in this journey and share their insights.”
What is a B Corp? Is it a Public Benefit Corporation?
There is a difference between a B Corp and a Public Benefit Corporation.
A Public Benefit Corporation is a legal structure memorialized in an organization’s articles of incorporation.
According to Soledad, “Companies organized under this structure aim to create value for all their stakeholders, and they are legally required to consider the impact of their business on stakeholders while also fulfilling a fiduciary duty to shareholders.”
There are little or no rules of governance beyond that.
Certified B Corps are companies that seek to build a more inclusive and sustainable economy while they create a sustainable company that supports employees and meets investor criteria. Certification for B Corp status is an organizational means to a greater end. For example, HAYVN seeks to build a thriving community of entrepreneurs in a way that addresses women’s needs.
Where Public Benefit Corporations might be considered table stakes if you want to commit your company to a dual path of profit and mission, certified B Corporations are verified by a governing body and measured over time. These two structures can actually co-exist.
According to Felicia, HAYVN’s core mission is to help anybody grow their business, though services are designed around well documented women’s career needs. Many services are developed on the suggestion of members.
“Our services are really helpful for everybody, not just women” Felicia added, as she gets asked this question often. “We just want to help entrepreneurs and business owners grow their business in our community,” she added.
Why is B Corp Certification Important?
“B certification and/or incorporation gives us the common tools we need to assess the positive and negative impacts of our practices, make and measure improvements, and share what we learn” says Vincent Stanley, Director of Philosophy at Patagonia.
Certified B Corporations represent a new kind of business designed to balance profit and purpose. Through a globally accepted certification process, B Corps enter an amazing community of leaders invested in a global movement to use business as a force for good.
Mission-driven companies need to create opportunities to thrive. A rich and vibrant community opens doors to people who understand that businesses can (and should) learn from each other. The goal is to make communities better so that businesses can excel.
According to Newsweek’s 2021 America’s Most Responsible Companies report, “They care about being good citizens and give back to the communities they operate in”.
“We’ve seen a cultural shift of businesses redefining success as more than just profit-producing metrics. Social impact is super important,” says Felicia.
B Corp Certification Now and Who is Eligible?
Gandhi once said, “Be the change you wish to see in the world.”
That’s what a certified B Corp does. Based on ownership vision, B Corps are a guiding light and a resource to the community and businesses around them.
According to Jenifer, Over 3,600 certified B corps from 74 countries in over 150 industries work together toward one unifying goal: redefining success in business. “It’s an amazing group to be a part of. B Corps are also a way for businesses to connect to their community, and deepen their relationships with buyers,” Gorin said.
It’s all about commitment. “Any company, regardless of its legal structure, can pursue B Corp certification,” adds Thinking Beyond Business’s Matteozzi.
Why The Business Community Is So Important
The core of HAYVN’s mission is to provide a working environment and services to its members — a community of entrepreneurs, small business owners, and professionals. Everyone needs a community that cares about the work they do and grows collectively while they grow their own businesses.
Creating a community is about the development of valuable relationships with customers that extends beyond products and services. The community extends beyond to offer meaningful and relevant customer experiences even for those members who choose to work from home. For those who are onsite, the experience includes social and environmental impact measures, including air filters, lighting, and solar.
According to Social Media Week, “Strong communities can amplify the value of your brand, they can provide valuable insight to product development, marketing and company culture. By putting customers at the center of your business, community engagement becomes a vital step in a multi-layered process that helps businesses achieve successful growth.”
The common themes for HAYVN members’ success in 2021 are content and community. HAYVN offers many opportunities to support work and lifestyles. HAYVN’s flexible office space was created as a business hub for people to congregate. Through the facilities and programming, members are building their own community that nurtures each other.
“Community extends to how we treat employees, hire focusing on diversity and inclusion, and work with vendors that are women-owned and minority businesses,” said Felicia.
The HAYVN team is passionate about providing attentive service within a safe and welcoming environment – with thoughtful amenities, advanced technology, and a responsible operation. An example is our MoleKule air purifier.
— Eco-designed space
— Natural lighting
— Solar powered building
— Zero Waste Policy
— HEPA air filtration
B Corps are also a way to stand out from the crowd. As a B Corp, HAYVN can expand its network of business leaders in the community, and help many more businesses in Fairfield County — or around the world. The B Corp designation essentially enables the HAYVN Coworking community to lead a movement as they so choose.
Adopting Mission-Driven Business Improvement
“B Corp certifications are ultimately for businesses that seek to be socially responsible and improve their economic impact,” notes Jenifer.
A critical component of the B Corp certification process is identifying who your stakeholders are and the various ways your company relates to each one.
According to B Corporation, “any for-profit company with at least a year of operations may pursue B Corp Certification.” There are no requirements for minimum or maximum size. Additional requirements and considerations may apply to some companies, such as those under a year old, or those with related entities, or large multinational and public companies.
The B Corp journey begins with a visit to bimpactassessment.net. The free online platform evaluates how your company interacts with your workers, customers, community, and environment. Once the assessment is complete, it’s sent over to B Impact Assessment for the performance requirement for certification.
“In today’s world, this sentiment of togetherness while being apart during a pandemic has made many businesses rethink the way they operate,” Felicia explained. “At the end of the day, a B Corp is about community and being a driving force for good. We hope to continue being a driving force for everyone in the HAYVN community so they can achieve great success.”
Founded in 2018, HAYVN is a flexible workspace for enterprising women (and men) to connect, create and grow. Along with a vibrant & engaged coworking community of entrepreneurs, HAYVN is a business HUB, offering short- and long-term office space leases, meeting rooms rentals, and events to support local businesses. Visit our beautiful safe ‘HAYVN’ at 320 Boston Post Road, Darien, CT, 06820.