Guest Commentator: Hardik Savalia, Program Director, B Lab @bcorporation

What is the impact economy and why is it important to our region’s business community?

What is the impact economy?

The impact economy is an opportunity — in the current environment of rising insecurity, fear, and in the absence of trust in our economic system, all business leaders have an unprecedented opportunity to help address our society’s most pressing challenges through the power of business.

This opportunity also happens to be a ticket to building a more successful business for the long term according to Harvard Business Review and the Economist.

Technically, the impact economy is made of up thousands of organizations that are explicitly addressing social and environmental issues through their operations, products and services, or all of the above.

For example, Home Care Associates, based in Center City, provides in-home care to seniors and the sick — a service that requires a delicate balance of business and care. They strike this balance by investing in their workers first, because workers in the industry don’t always have the best of working conditions or compensation, which often lead to poor care for the patient. HCA goes above and beyond their industry to provide better compensation, benefits, training, career opportunities and even ownership opportunities. Watch the latest on HCA on Channel 6 News.

Why it’s important to our region?

If we want Philadelphia to win the war for talent — to attract and retain the brightest individuals to study, live, work, and prosper here, then our region needs to pay attention to this.

Helping our businesses to become a force for good is as important to the competitiveness of our region as reforming education, politics, and infrastructure.

Talented individuals want jobs with a higher purpose — jobs that help them make a difference in someone’s life or a dent in our society’s greatest challenges. For many, this aspect is more important than earning top range salaries.

Why is Philly suited to be a Hub for the Impact Economy?

Our region couldn’t be more well-positioned. This ethos is practically in our blood, and has been for a long time.

Ben Franklin’s companies were clear examples of businesses designed for the common good. Today, companies like Home Care Associates, Dansko, Azavea and dozens of others are exhibiting business practices that others can follow.

On top of that, institutions like the Chamber, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, B Lab, and SBN Philadelphia have banded together to create a region-wide program that can help every company on this path — this new program is called Best for PHL.