social impact business

The Better Business Bureau of Southern Colorado is developing what it calls the first-ever database of social impact organizations.

The information will help analyze the viability of creating a BBB Trustmark for social enterprise organizations, a BBBSC news release said.

The BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust and the Council of Better Business Bureaus awarded the contract to BBBSC for the project.

The Colorado Institute for Social Impact and the Quad Innovation Partnership will partner with BBBSC on the project, the release said.

“We have been at the forefront of the social impact movement, so we are excited to receive this contract and begin to map out the sector, starting with Colorado,” said Jonathan Liebert, CEO and executive director of BBBSC, in the release. “The policies and framework we develop through this project could guide development of this sector across the country.”

The project will begin with the partners creating the database of social impact businesses and organizations.

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“Partnering with CI4SI and the Quad Innovation Partnership was a critical part of our proposal,” Liebert said. “Our partnership with CI4SI has already involved discussions around this issue and the students participating in the Quad Innovation Partnership will provide the day-to-day work on the project.”

Businesses interested in working with social impact organizations will be able to use the database as a reference, the release said. The information also will help quantify the industry’s size.

“Clearly there are a lot of companies and organizations committed to social impact,” said Stacey Burns, VP of business innovation for the Colorado Institute for Social Impact, in the release. “I think we’ll all be surprised when we see just how big this sector is and how rapidly it is expected to grow over the next few years.”

The second part of the project is determining if developing a BBB Trustmark is viable for social impact organizations, the release said. The recognition would be similar to BBB’s program for trusted businesses.

“Unfortunately, fraud is already showing up in this area,” Liebert said. “Businesses telling consumers they’re supporting a particular cause or organization with a percentage of their profits, but not following through on the support. The BBB is the perfect organization to help build trust in this sector by developing a process and code for organizations to become verified, social impact organizations. Consumers will know they can trust an organization if they have the BBB looking into these businesses and vetting them.”

The database will first focus on Colorado before expanding to between five to 10 cities throughout the country.

“The BBB of Southern Colorado was one of the first local BBB’s in the country to recognize the importance and potential of social impact businesses,” said Melanie Trumpower, executive director of the BBB Institute for Marketplace Trust, in the release. “That depth of knowledge and leadership, along with creating CI4SI, made it easy for us to select them for this award. We expect this to become a big part of the BBB mission going forward.”

The first phase of the project started in October and will run through the end of the year.

Once finalized, it’s expected the project will be released nationwide.

Go to bbb.org/local-bbb/bbb-of-southern-colorado for more information.