B Corp Spotlight: Raleigh Founded

A certified B Corp since 2016, Raleigh Founded is a coworking and office space built for entrepreneurs to start and grow their businesses. They have an extensive network of angel investors, industry experts, and a collaborative community where members can grow their personal and professional connections.

We had the privilege to connect with Lauren Romer, Director at Raleigh Founded, to learn more about their story!

Tell us a little about your company! What do you do, and what is your mission?

At Raleigh Founded, our mission is to foster inclusive communities of entrepreneurs who create lasting economic and social impact. One of our core values is to leave the world better than you found it. This is one of my favorite things about working at Raleigh Founded. We are always striving to do better than we did yesterday and to have a lasting, positive impact on the world around us.

Why did your company decide to become a B Corp?

We decided to become a B Corp because the B Corp values are aligned with our company’s values. As I mentioned, one is to leave the world better than you found it. Another is embrace diversity and inclusion. When we learned about B Corps we felt that we were already doing many of the things that are required of B Corps. As we went through the process though we were inspired to implement additional policies and re-think current operations to help us live out our mission and values further.

Any advice to other impact-driven businesses thinking about becoming certified?

Our advice would be to write everything down, especially if you are a startup. As I mentioned, we already had similar thinking to B Corps before we became certified but we did not have every policy nailed down and written in stone (Google Doc). While becoming certified, we had to do some extra hours that we could have saved if we were more proactive about writing down policies.

As B Corporations, our work is ever-evolving and we’re constantly working on improving our sustainability efforts. What are some social and/or environmental goals that your company is hoping to achieve by the time recertification comes around?

One goal we have is to help raise community funds to build a home in the Dominican Republic. One of our members is a talented photographer and visited DR a few years ago for a job. While he was there, he was inspired to use his voice to help a family he met while he was there. In 2011, he helped build a house and created an art installation to tell the story of that area. We recently installed this art piece in one of our locations and we are hoping to leverage our Raleigh Founded community to help another family in need.

How does being a B Corp influence the way your company does business?

As a B Corp, we think about where we are getting supplies, what vendors we use, the type of people we hire, and the companies that we support at Raleigh Founded.

In your opinion, what role does consumer education play in supporting the B Corp movement?

Consumer education is huge. I think the biggest thing we can promote is voting with your dollar. Many people don’t think about where their money is going when they are choosing a vitamin brand, or what store to grab a snack for their kid’s soccer practice. Just small acts like this can have a great impact on our local economy and help support brands that we want to see succeed.

Has your company collaborated with other B Corps in the Triangle? What was that experience like?

Yes, we have hosted a few collaborative events. For example, back in 2018, we hosted a B Corp panel where different B Corps from across the Triangle discussed why it was important to them, the benefits of being a B Corp, and ways to improve your business using B Corp standards. It was a great event.

We would love to have more B Corps attending our Free Community Coworking Days and utilizing our space for events! We are happy to donate space to B Corps!

How would you describe the culture at your company?

Welcoming, encouraging, growth opportunities, understanding, flexible.

What is something unique about your team?

We seek growth opportunities for new hires from day one. We want people to feel fulfilled, so we encourage them to seek opportunities internally and externally to grow their skills and find work where their passions lie.

What is your company’s approach to team building?

We host quarterly retreats and a monthly team meeting. We use these to grow closer as an organization, celebrate successes, and get the team excited for the future.

How does your company typically celebrate success and achievements?

We give personalized gifts and public praise!