Hoping that the second time is the charm, AARP is once again supporting legislation introduced by Governor Malloy (Senate Bill 23) that would allow businesses to legally incorporate as benefit corporations in Connecticut. According to an article last year by CT by the Numbers, "The bill aims to help social entrepreneurs protect their organization’s social mission, and provide a transparent, accessible, and simple mechanism for defining their business’s social goals". According to supporters of the bill, the legislation also would help drive job creation and increase the number of community-based partners committed to solving some of Connecticut’s most pressing social issues without requiring additional state funding. Whether it is about starting a new career or volunteering to help others achieve their goals, AARP CT views social enterprise as a valuable opportunity for age 50+ entrepreneurs, also known as “Encore Entrepreneurs,” and active retirees with sharp business and entrepreneurial acumen. This legislation would help both connect their skills and passions with a simple, standardized way to formalize their commitment to simultaneously creating public good and profit.
AARP supports encore entrepreneurs by providing access to information and resources that can help those age 50-plus who are thinking about starting their own business, or seeking to grow an existing business. AARP has a national partnership with the Small Business Administration and works with them and community partners in Connecticut, such as the Social Enterprise Trust (reSET), the Women’s Business Development Center, SCORE, and others to link encore entrepreneurs to local resources, networking and mentoring opportunities. Our support of S. B. 23 builds upon this work, and additionally may help address a variety of social concerns that are core to AARP’s mission, through business rather than public funds or philanthropy, including hunger, economic insecurity, housing and isolation.
S. B. 23 will help attract and keep social entrepreneurs and social enterprise investors in Connecticut and provides a heightened level of transparency and protection. Connecticut cannot afford to lose such entrepreneurs and capital to other states with similar laws on the books (including California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Vermont, and Virginia). This bill will benefit encore entrepreneurs seeking purpose beyond simple profit, community based organizations seeking to partner for social benefits, age 50+ workers seeking employment opportunities in a bad economy and the State of Connecticut by creating a new source of revenue for the state through the payment of up-front incorporation filing fees and annual taxes.
We look forward to working with the Governor, members of the Legislature and other bill supporters to secure passage of this important legislation in 2014.