HO IS THE L3C ENTREPRENEUR?
WHO IS THE L3C ENTREPRENEUR?
Who We Are
We are interSector Partners, L3C, the first low-profit limited liability company doing business in Colorado. We—partners Caryn Capriccioso and Rick Zwetsch—organized our business in Vermont in early 2009 and are proud to be advocates of the L3C. We provide a wide range of services for nonprofits, socially responsible businesses and social enterprises, including: strategic, business and funding/financing planning; marketing and business development consulting; executive search; technical assistance; trainings and workshops; facilitation and L3C education and training.
Why We Did This
The notion of this white paper was hatched in late 2009. As consultants, it’s the nature of our business to spend a fair amount of time talking with people about their businesses and organizations and the concepts and challenges they face. Early on we noticed we were spending a lot of our time talking about this new business structure we had adopted, the L3C. When we calculated our time, it was nearly 200 hours in the second half of 2009 that we spent discussing, answering questions, and brainstorming ideas on the subject. People contacted us from far and wide; not just from our home state of Colorado, but also from New York, Texas, California, Missouri, New Mexico, Virginia, Michigan and beyond. There was a very genuine and real interest brewing and we could feel it.
What This Paper Is
We surveyed, interviewed and chatted with dozens of L3C entrepreneurs to put together this paper. All in total, we garnered feedback from over 50 individuals from over a dozen states, including detailed phone interviews with nearly 20 entrepreneurs. While the L3C inherently is a simple concept, there seems to be much confusion and misinformation among people we encounter in person and online. By shedding light on the wealth of stories, ideas and business concepts—and the entrepreneurs behind them—we hope to help elucidate the true meaning behind the L3C movement, told not from one or two points of view, but from dozens of entrepreneurs who are going forward with their business ideas all over the United States.
What This Paper Is Not
This paper is not a scientifically valid survey of L3Cs. It is based on qualitative, anecdotal research only. It is not a quantitative analysis and should not substitute for such data. This paper is also not a technical paper or persuasive paper advocating for the L3C. Several individuals who have been entrenched in this movement for many years have articulated the technical merits and flaws very clearly. (For suggestions on detailed legal and technical analysis of the L3C, see Appendix B.) This paper also focuses mostly on L3C entrepreneurs, not its detractors. While several flaws, challenges, issues and concerns over the L3C are raised in this paper, we did not speak to those who have spoken out against the L3C. You may notice that interSector is not included in the body of the paper. Although we have plenty to say about the L3C, our goal here is to share other’s stories.
This paper would not have been possible without the generosity of the entrepreneurs and advisors who gave of their valuable time to share their stories. They saw this paper as an opportunity to contribute to a body of knowledge around the movement toward socially responsible business and openly, honestly shared their stories with us so that we could share them with you. Please take a moment to read more about these entrepreneurs and their businesses in Appendix A. We also thank Erin Shaver, a colleague and friend of interSector, who spent countless hours conducting interviews, compiling stories and crafting much of what you read in this white paper.
Thanks to all of you who contributed!