This guest blog post is provided by the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). BDC is the only bank devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. It promotes Canadian entrepreneurship with a focus on small and medium-sized businesses. With its 110+ business centres from coast to coast, BDC provides businesses in all industries with financing and advisory services. Its investment arm, BDC Capital, offers equity, venture capital and flexible growth and transition capital solutions.

For entrepreneurs who are proud that their companies are a beneficial presence in the lives of their employees and communities, BDC is promoting a new business tool called Measure What Matters. The free, online confidential questionnaire assesses how your company is run and its impact on employees, community and the environment.

Craig Ryan is Director of Social Entrepreneurship at BDC, the only bank in Canada devoted exclusively to entrepreneurs. He explained the Measure What Matters tool.

What is it?

What is the Measure What Matters tool?

It's a questionnaire that quickly assesses — and gives you — the overall health of your business from five different perspectives: purpose, social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. This is broader and so more comprehensive than typical financial assessments.

How does it work?
You go to Measure What Matters. There, you give some basic information about your company and answer some questions. Once completed, your answers are compared to 40,000 other businesses worldwide. You then receive a summary report which shows where you are above and below average. It takes about 20 minutes.

What are the benefits?
There are two big ones. One, you'll learn how you can measure everything that matters to you as a business person: how well you're running your company and its impact on society around you. Two, you'll see how your company compares with its peers.

Do I have to pass?
No. Whatever your score, you get the benefits!

How big is the movement?
More than 40,000 companies in 50+ countries have used the assessment.

Is this a new kind of entrepreneur?
No. Most are simply people who are proud their company is a beneficial presence in the lives of their employees and communities. We also see people who innovatively use business to solve social and environmental problems. All are impressive!

It's a sociocultural movement — a new mindset about company purpose.

Why is this so exciting?
It's exciting because it's powerfully transformative: a movement that's better for workers, the community, the environment and company performance.

What's next?

If I want to go further, what might I do?
You can seek certification as a Beneficial corporation (B Corp). Its assessment is the basis of the Measure What Matters tool.

B Corp is is to business what Fair Trade is to coffee or LEED is to green buildings. These are for-profit companies that meet rigorous standards of purpose, social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency.

Should I successfully certify as a B Corp, what are the benefits?
There are plenty. B Corps attract people who want to buy from, work at or invest in companies that work to improve society. It's marketing and social media gold. Finally, you enter a group of like-minded people who seek to do business with each other.

Is BDC a B Corp?
Yes, we are! And very proud of it.

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