Last week I had the opportunity to join together with a group of Marylanders who share a belief that being in business can be about much more than just a bottom line. And that there are some challenges so large that we can only tackle them by working together. Creating and saving jobs is one of those challenges. Building stronger, more sustainable communities for future generations is another.
That’s why we partnered with Sen. Jamie Raskin, Del. Sheila Hixson and other partners to make Maryland the first state in the nation to launch an innovative new type of corporation called a Benefit Corporation. Since then, four more states have followed Maryland’s lead to pass their own Benefit Corporation laws, and we expect many more will do the same in the coming years.
Benefit Corporations and the leaders behind them, like Tebabu Assefa in Takoma Park, stand at the intersection of profit and social responsibility. Assefa’s company, Blessed Coffee, is creating jobs in Takoma Park today and offering hope by dedicating a share of its profits to help his neighbors in Montgomery County by supporting local food pantries, homeless shelters and more.
The impact of Maryland’s Benefit Corporations will be felt globally as well. Blessed Coffee was founded with the belief that we can enjoy our morning cup of coffee while treating the men and women who farm the beans with the dignity that comes from a fair wage. Mr. Tadesse Meskela, the manager of an Ethiopian coffee cooperative, flew all the way from Ethiopia to Maryland to speak about the positive impact these new types of businesses can have (you can read his remarks here.)
Maryland is proud to be the home of our nation’s first Benefit Corporations, but this is just the beginning. And as we continue to spread the word, I look forward to working together with more entrepreneurs to create jobs for our families and help build sustainable and socially responsible businesses that make our State a better place for our future generations.