ENTREPRENEURSHIP

Consider the ‘B Corp’: For many, innovation isn’t about the money

 

About 120 turned out for Momentum International’s event on social entrepreneurship in South Florida.

ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com

S Corp, LLC, nonprofit ... or B Corp?

Businesses with a social entrepreneurial mission often struggle with selecting the right corporate form to reflect their commitment to being profitable and doing social good. Well, struggle no more.

Starting Tuesday, Florida joins 26 other states and the District of Columbia in offering a new, voluntary corporate form known as a benefit corporation, or “B Corp,” that allows businesses to consider profit as well as society and the environment when they select a corporate form, said Irene Revelas, a B Corp evangelist for South Florida. She introduced the new designation at the Momentum for Social Innovation event Thursday night in Wynwood. She’ll also be doing introduction meetups in Broward and Palm Beach this summer.

B Corps have been championed by Pennsylvania-based nonprofit B Lab, which works with states to draft and pass benefit corporation legislation, such as the bills Florida passed this spring, said Revelas, founder of Startup Delray. Revelas also presented a community challenge: Make South Florida the B Corp capital of the U.S. by forming 100 new Florida B Corps in 100 days. The campaign kicks off Tuesday and ends Oct. 8, when B Lab will hold community sessions in South Florida. To find out more, contact her at startupdelray@gmail.com.

Thursday’s Momentum event brought out about 120 people, including high school and college students. The event series is designed to bring Miami’s social entrepreneurs together, with the mission of scaling social innovation, said organizer Jorge Andres Cortes Restrepo, founder of Momentum International. About 10 social entrepreneurs participated in panel discussions about education and sustainability, including Blair Butterfield, director of the Art of Cultural Evolution, who shared details about her organization’s Colony1 project, a sustainability hub being developed in Wynwood. All-solar powered housing from recycled shipping containers, ongoing research and on-site demonstrations on local farming are just part of the plans for this project, said Butterfield.

And just who’s a social entrepreneur? Maria Escorcia, the new director of Ashoka South Florida, said at the event that a social media campaign Ashoka is running in July could help you find and connect with South Florida’s “changemakers.” Follow hashtag #30daysofchangemiami on twitter beginning Tuesday. Join in and highlight those who are making a difference.

Meanwhile, there’s been no summer slowdown for technology and entrepreneurship news. Here’s a taste from the past week:

An exit: Choose Digital, a Miami-based digital marketplace platform that lets companies incorporate music, e-books, TV and movies into existing rewards and loyalty programs, was bought by Viggle, a New York-based public company. Its team of 11 will continue to be based in Miami. Choose Digital, an active sponsor of Miami tech events, recently moved from Coral Gables into new offices in Wynwood, said Mario Cruz, co-founder and CTO. “We love Miami, we love the growing tech scene, we are staying.”

The company is part of a wave of acquisitions this year. This is at least the fifth early- or growth-stage company in South Florida acquired by public companies in the past few months: .CO Internet was acquired by Neustar; Nutri-Force was bought by Vitamin Shoppe; BlueKite was purchased by Xoom Corp.; and New Wave Surgical was acquired by Covidien. And in a private-company transaction, Simplikate was acquired by Phunware.

An expansion: Miami mobile tech company GetMyRx’s services are now available to New Yorkers. The GetMyRx app allows patients to order prescriptions or refills in seconds, confirm the copay upfront and get their medications delivered the same day at no extra charge. GetMyRx has teamed with Health Mart, a nationwide pharmacy franchise, owned by McKesson, with a strong presence in New York City. CEO Luis Angel says GetMyRx will be expanding to more U.S. cities soon.

An infusion: CareCloud, the Miami-based healthcare-tech company, received a $25.5 million debt financing commitment from Hercules Technology Growth Capital, a specialty finance company that provides senior secured loans to venture capital-backed tech companies. CareCloud, now with about 270 employees, provides cloud-based practice management, electronic health records and medical billing software and services to about 1,200 clients in 48 states. CareCloud has also raised $55 million in venture capital funding.

And some arrivals: In another sign of widening interest in South Florida’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, Keiretsu Forum, a large worldwide angel network, is launching a chapter in Miami next month. And an entrepreneurial support system is continuing to build: Miami Dade College is opening an entrepreneurship center and incubator for its 165,000 students. The Idea Center @ MDC will open in September on the Wolfson campus.

Read more about all these developments and more on Starting Gate on MiamiHerald.com/business. Have news? Email ndahlberg@MiamiHerald.com; follow on Twitter @ndahlberg.

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