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GoodStreets Earn Benefit Corp. Status

Published Oct. 29, 2014 • Last Updated 03:46 p.m., Oct. 29, 2014

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GoodStreets, a Guilford-based enterprise that seeks to bring local businesses and customers together online, became a benefit corporation on Oct. 1, the day that the Connecticut Benefit Corporation Act took effect.
Benefit corporations incorporate under the Connecticut Business Corporation Act, but with the broadened purpose to create societal good. Officers and directors of benefit corporations owe as much fiduciary responsibility to shareholders as they do to their mission and are legally required to prepare an annual benefit report detailing their activities and their progress in creating a general public benefit.
Leslie Krumholz, co-founder and CEO of GoodStreets, was active in lobbying for the bill's passage during the 2014 legislative session, testifying alongside advocates from the Social Enterprise Trust from Hartford and other social entrepreneurs from around the state. She believes that "giving legal status to corporations that want to operate both on purpose and profit is very validating for founders.
"If founders truly believe their business should have a social impact, then they should also hold themselves to the requirements of a legitimate legal structure, otherwise it's too easy to lose site of its mission," said Krumholz.
Krumolz co-founded GoodStreets with Peter Olausson.
"We launched GoodStreets to consumers at the beginning of September and at that time we had about 70 business members from Guilford," said Krumholz. "Since then, we have seen a lot of interest on the site and a steady rise of traffic over the month. Our business membership has increased to over 80 members. We have two online takeout restaurants and will be adding a third next week.
"Others have expressed interest to participate. We have also been approached by some other shoreline communities to bring GoodStreets to them, which we are planning to do over the next few months," said Krumholz.
Krumholz described the GoodStreets work model: "There is no charge for consumers to join the site. Business membership is free through 2014. Beginning in 2015 we will begin to charge a nominal membership fee to businesses to be part of the business listing and have the benefit of our unique review system.
"Because our goal is to help grow local businesses by helping them retain their local customers and find new customers outside of the area through their online presence, we have a shared revenue model if they choose to transact in the marketplace. We do not believe we should charge a business just to be part of the marketplace unless we are successful at driving them business."
Olausson chimed in: "GoodStreets develops technology solutions for the buy-local movement that can be used online or in stores.
"Our goal is to promote strong relationships between businesses and their customers and to provide an easy and convenient way to buy local to help our businesses and communities prosper.
GoodStreets had the pro bono assistance and guidance of Attorney Frank J. Marco, chair of the Emerging Companies Group at Wiggin and Dana, preparing and ensuring the appropriate legal filings. Connecticut is the 25th state in the nation to pass benefit corporation legislation.
For more information, email Leslie Krumholz at leslie@goodstreets.org or visit
www.goodstreets.org.

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