LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Canopy, a new Kentucky-based nonprofit membership organization dedicated to promoting for-profit social enterprise, is raising $1 million to fund its startup phase. It plans to be operational and working across the state by early 2019.
At a ribbon cutting ceremony with Greater Louisville Inc. Oct. 18, the following partnerships/commitments were announced:
• $100,000 3-year partnership through the Kentucky Cabinet for Economic Development’s RISE (Regional Innovation for Startups and Entrepreneurs) initiative
• $25,000 grant from Louisville Forward
• $50,000 in startup funding from Stoll Keenon Ogden PLLC
• $25,000 in startup funding from FMS, pbc
• $30,000 in branding work from Bullhorn Creative
• $50,000 3-year partnership with DMLO CPAs
“We understand that entrepreneurs are a key component of our economic ecosystem,” said Cabinet for Economic Development Executive Secretary Scott Brinkman.” We want to attract entrepreneurs – particularly those who are socially responsible.”
The KCED commitment of $100,000 represents unprecedented support from a state and puts Kentucky on the leading edge of the national movement.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer spoke about the importance of businesses when it comes to solving the social challenges we face today. He announced a $25,000 grant from the City of Louisville, and issued a proclamation congratulating co-founders Scott Koloms and Colleen Reilly on this “significant milestone in advancing Canopy’s mission to make Kentucky first in good business.”
Canopy has also received pledges of almost $20,000 in a crowdfunding campaign, which will only be paid if the $50,000 ‘Tipping Point’ goal is met by Nov. 5: http://startsomegood.com/canopyky.
Kentucky passed Public Benefit Corporation legislation in 2017, and that same year, the idea of Canopy was formalized by a group of inspired leaders who share a vision of a Kentucky on the leading edge of the global social enterprise movement. In the process of making our state the best place in the country for socially conscious, impact driven businesses, Canopy will promote new ways to think about solving our most pressing social challenges and will collaborate with and provide resources and promotion for member companies that are using their for-profit businesses as a force for good. Canopy’s efforts will help create jobs, attract and retain talent, and improve lives – through education, recruitment, certification, and advocacy.
Canopy’s plans include creating and administering the Canopy-Certified Assessment—a Kentucky specific, third-party certification designed to verify that companies are operating openly and honestly, and are considering their employees, vendors, investors, communities, and the planet as they pursue a fair profit.
Canopy will also develop a “Traveling Roadshow” that will tour the state sharing new business models that integrate social impact, accountability, and transparency with profitability. The Canopy team will help businesses along the path to certification; collect data and success stories of Canopy-Certified companies; and build demand for the Canopy Certification.
Canopy co-founder Scott Koloms said, “We are excited about partnering with our state, cities, and with companies that share our vision of making Kentucky the best place for social entrepreneurs and for good business. I look forward to the collective impact we will have on economic development, community improvement, workplace culture, business profitability, and global perception.”
Doug Barr, managing director of Stoll Keenon Ogden, said, “Lawyers are competitive by nature. We love winning. Canopy offers us a way to ensure we keep our focus on winning but never losing sight of our roots deep in the communities we serve. This region has challenges and we’re fortunate to be at a firm that wants to not only be good at our business but be good in our business.”
Delene Taylor, marketing director at DMLO CPAs, noted the alignment with the firm’s well-established ‘More than the Numbers’ brand and reputation for investing in the community, both financially and with volunteer service. “Partnering with Canopy and its member companies will open doors for us to collaborate with like-minded leaders and entrepreneurs, and expand our impact across Kentucky.”