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How and Why One Company Chose to Organize As a 'B Corp'

A B corporation designation can help back up a nonprofit's 'doing good' rep. Is it right for your social venture?

This story appears in the August 2011 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Getting a B is usually considered only slightly better than average. For Better World Books CEO and co-founder David Murphy, a B is about as good as it gets. The Atlanta-based bookseller was one of the first to earn the B-corporation designation, which recognizes companies that use "the power of business to solve social and environmental problems."

Better World Books, a for-profit company that raises funds to support literacy programs, launched in South Bend, Ind., in 2002. The company was started after two University of Notre Dame grads raised $20,000--with $10,000 going to a community nonprofit--through a book drive. Their post-drive business plan went on to win Best Social Venture in a Notre Dame-sponsored competition. The judge? Murphy. He was so taken with the company idea and mission that he signed on to work with co-founders Chris "Kreece" Fuchs, Xavier Helgesen and newcomer Jeff Kurtzman. (Fuchs and Helgesen remain with the company; Kurtzman left in 2007.)

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