Image via Eric May Under CC by 2.0

Feeling inspired after #BInspiredPDX

Last week, Hootsuite was in Portland, Oregon to be part of #BInspiredPDX, a celebration of people using business as a force for good, hosted by the people behind B Corporation certification. B Corporations are a new kind of company seeking a better way to do business. It’s like a LEED or Fair Trade certification, but for an entire business, rather than a building or a bag of coffee.

The day kicked off with a series of TED-style talks at the historic Crystal Ballroom, which was built in 1914 and is rumored to be where Jimi Hendrix was fired by Little Richard in the middle of a performance. Speakers at the event included a number of inspiring leaders from fellow B Corps such as Kickstarter founder Perry Chen, New Season Market CEO Wendy Collie and David Griswold, founder of Sustainable Harvest.

Perry’s interview was particularly prescient given their recent announcement around becoming a Public Benefit Corporation, which are for-profit companies that are obligated to consider the impact of their decisions on society, not only shareholders. He spoke about rewarding employees and investors with dividends versus an IPO or sale and how Kickstarter’s status as a B Corp acts as a way for the company to codify their mission-aligned values.

#BInspiredPDX was the culmination of an annual week-long gathering where over 200 B Corps—including Etsy, Seventh Generation, and Ben & Jerry’s—came together to learn from each other and advance the goals that will help B Corps achieve our collective vision. This year’s theme was building bridges. The idea was to help us connect with others who want to join the B Corp movement and with others whom we need to join in order to build a more inclusive and durable prosperity for all.

Hootsuite had the opportunity to Periscope live from the event with some fellow B Corps including Charmian Love, cofounder of Volans and B Lab UK, the nonprofit behind the certification. Charmian spoke about being inspired by the beautiful living root bridges in India.

New Seasons Market is building a bridge with small local farmers and the communities they operate in throughout the Pacific Northwest. Giving back to the community is a core value and part of New Seasons Market’s culture; they give 10 percent of their profits to hundreds of nonprofit organizations that work to end hunger, educate youth, and protect the environment. New Seasons Market’s CEO Wendy discussed how they’re pressuring the government to raise minimum wage.

We also had the chance to speak with Rhys Powell, founder of Red Rabbit, who is building bridges with local schools in New York City by providing healthy lunches to over 10,000 kids everyday.

Hootsuite’s bridge-building is focused on helping our 10 million customers transform messages into meaningful relationships, whether it’s helping WWF increase awareness around endangered species or the NYC Government connect with all New Yorkers and become the world’s premier digital city.

Today there are just over 1,400 B Corps in 130 different industries in more than 40 countries. It was announced during the week that next year’s event will be held in Durham, North Carolina. We can’t wait to see how many more bridges are built one year from now! #BtheChange