B Corp Clinic Toolkit

Prepared by: NC State Undergrad and Graduate Net Impact Chapters

Overview

B Corporation Clinic Toolkit at NC State University

NC State’s Business Sustainability Collaborative and NC State’s Net Impact graduate and undergraduate chapters created the B Corp Clinic as a way to engage students in the local B Corp community and help local B Corps navigate the B Impact Assessment with student support.

The NC State University B Corp Clinic offers students hands-on consulting experience with the local business community and the chance to learn about the B Corporation certification process, social and environmental impact assessments, and sustainable business models.

The inaugural B Corp Clinic pilot was held in Spring of 2015. 

NC State Net Impact’s main roles in the B Corp Clinic have been to:

  • pilot the B Corp Clinic program
  • staff subsequent iterations of the clinic with Net Impact students
  • recruit other students and local business to participate in the clinic through outreach
  • promote, organize and manage events.

Why should others run this program?

Other Net Impact Chapters seeking to create meaningful, career-building experiences for their members and other students could benefit from implementing similar programs.

  • The growing B Corp movement is closely aligned with the Net Impact mission to empower a new generation to drive social and environmental change.
  • The B Impact Assessment framework teaches companies and students alike ways to measure social and environmental impact.
  • By partnering students with local businesses, students become engaged in the local business community and companies build relationships with the University and Net Impact.
  • B Corp Clinic students report that this consulting experience directly translates to growing their careers by providing hands-on experience and exposing them to impact business models and best practices in sustainable business. So far, several students have been offered internship opportunities and one student has secured a full-time job to continue work with client companies.
  • Business clients receive assistance with the B Impact Assessment and gain points toward B Corp certification. Clients leave the clinic much closer to certification, either ready to submit their B Impact Assessment to B Lab or with a roadmap for how to get the rest of the way there. 

One B Corp Clinic participant reported, “having this student team by our side as we navigated the rigorous B Corp application made a world of difference. The students challenged us to reflect on the type of company we want to build in the long run and helped us to better understand policies that we can put in place now to set up for thoughtful, sustainable growth. Thanks to the B Corp Clinic, our application process was greatly accelerated and we have already put many of our reflections and goals into action”.

Preparation

Timeline: ~1-3 months, or longer depending on availability of resources and existing relationships

Activities:B Corp Clinic with Net Impact

  • Engage with the local B Corp community. Find leaders in existing B Corps that can serve as mentors for the program and help you identify local businesses who may be considering the B Impact Assessment or seeking B Corp certification. 
  • Engage with B Lab. Let B Lab know that you are developing a clinic program, and identify a contact at B Lab that can be a resource for the clinic.
  • Engage with faculty that can serve as mentors and help you identify students, businesses and resources.
  • Identify target student groups. Consider whether this program will include other schools or only the host school. The NC State B Corp Clinic includes students from other local Universities such as UNC-Chapel Hill and Duke, and their participation has enriched our program and expanded our network and reach.
  • Consider where you will host the program. Consider a central host location/partner such as a local start-up incubator, local B Corp champion with meeting space, or hosting on campus.
  • Develop criteria for companies and students (See Tips for Success).

Team member roles and tasks

Identify a core team for the (optional) pilot of the program
Identify team members (including faculty advisors/mentors) for the following roles:

B Corporation assessment experience at NC State University

  • Recruiting and screening companies
  • Recruiting and screening students
  • Matching businesses with student teams
  • Setting up file-sharing platform
  • Organizing and leading events (e.g. launch, interim and final presentations)
  • Sending out reminders
  • General marketing/promotion on social media

Tips for success

  • Establish clear criteria and deadlines for students and business clients
  • Provide student groups with B Lab resources and encourage them to be familiar with the resources prior to being matched with client.
  • Encourage companies to share their B Impact assessment with students teams (companies may want to consider having students sign NDAs); or encourage students to create a team B Impact Assessment log in and perform their own assessment so they can be intimately familiar with the scoring system.
  • Create a file sharing platform (e.g., Google Drive) for open sharing of resources between teams. Many teams will be working on similar topics and will benefit from sharing best practices.

Marketing language ideas to spread the word

Sample student invitation language (Spring 2016)
Sample business interest form/application (Spring 2016)
Sample student interest form/application (Spring 2016)
Social media: #bcorpclinic #bthechange

Execution

Prior to Launch: Recruit desired number of companies (suggest starting with 2-4) and promote the clinic to students
Launch event early in the semester
Student application process (open for ~1 week)
Student-client matching process (~1 week)
Run clinic ~6-8 weeks

Week 1: Teams establish Project Agreement, start work
Halfway: Interim presentations to present progress / get feedback
End: Final presentations / Celebration

Follow Up

Collect feedback from students and companies (Spring 2016 feedback form)
Collect data on outcomes, e.g.:

  • # of student and business participants
  • # of student hours logged
  • Points earned by businesses as a result of the clinic
  • New programs implemented by companies as a result of the clinic
  • B Corp Certifications earned
  • Resulting internship/job offers for students

Articles about the B Corp Clinic

About the B Corp Clinic
B Corp Clinic article by NC State Sustainability Office
B Corp Clinic article by student participant
B Corp Clinic mention in “B Corps Rising in North Carolina” article by Exit Event
B Corp Clinic mention in “HQ Raleigh Announces Benefit Corporation Certification” article by HQ Raleigh  

Business Sustainability Collaborative Library: