Missouri Business Headlines

Enabling benefit corporations to form in Missouri

Posted on

Today, 34 states allow businesses to structure themselves as benefit corporations. This arrangement allows companies to be categorized somewhere between a strictly for-profit business and a non-profit, community-minded organization.

House Bill 555, which would allow benefit corporations to be established in Missouri, was heard in House committee on Feb. 11. The Senate version of the bill, Senate Bill 105, was heard by the Senate General Laws Committee on Feb. 12.

The bill gives company leaders more flexibility and legal protection when considering how to balance profit interests with the company’s social concerns. It also provides transparency to investors who need to know whether a business is focused on seeking profits or has a broader mission that includes pursuing community betterment.

Rolla-based Brewer Science is one of the Missouri companies eager to see the statute change. They say it will help attract young workers who are more likely to seek out an employer with a community-minded mission.

“One of the largest numbers of Missouri employees are going to be millennials. By 2030, they’re going to represent 75 percent of the workforce in this state and 2030 is little more than 10 years away,” said Alan Gerson, the chief legal officer for Brewer Science. “Many of the millennials from surveys believe that companies should have a purpose beyond profit.”

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft also supports the change.

“If a company wants to, they can create that structure so that it can provide a greater amount of funds and company resources to a charity, to some sort of beneficial purpose,” Ashcroft said.

The Missouri Chamber testified in support of the legislation. Attracting and retaining young professionals is a key recommendation in the Missouri Chamber Foundation’s Workforce2030 Report, published last year.

“This directly aligns with the governor’s priorities on workforce development by allowing companies to build that social identity and culture into their mission and into the corporate structure,” said Ross Lien, Missouri Chamber Director of Legislative Affairs. “It allows Missouri companies to stay competitive and be even more competitive — not only recruiting talent but retaining talent in the state of Missouri, especially in a workforce that is constantly changing, getting younger and more socially aware.”

« Back to News