At Venture Connectors' August lunch, two leading social entrepreneurs shared the ins and outs of B Corporations and the benefits of legally recognizing them in Kentucky. B Corps are for-profit businesses that include a social component to their mission, and becoming a B Corp requires a rigorous certification process coordinated through the nonprofit B Lab. Speakers Scott Koloms, president and CEO of Facilities Management Services Inc. (FMS) and Ben Reno Weber, chief storyteller for MobileServe, talked about how and why both their companies decided to become B Corps.
Born and raised in Louisville, Koloms earned his bachelor’s degree in English and master’s degree in literature from the University of Louisville, then went on to attend Kent State University to pursue a Ph.D. in literacy and rhetoric. He intended to become writer and teach at the college level, but his plans changed when he returned to Louisville in 2001 after his father’s death to take over FMS, the janitorial services company his dad had purchased just 18 months prior.
Koloms maintained his desire to teach and make a positive impact on communities in his role at FMS. Over the course of the next 15 years, he worked to align the company’s values with his own. What began as an intuitive approach to running a business, grounded in kindness and compassion, evolved into a sophisticated business model that incorporated FMS’ social mission into the fabric of its daily operations and vision for the future.
In November 2016, after years of hard work, this business model allowed FMS to become Louisville’s first certified B Corporation, and only the second in Kentucky. Koloms is currently working to pass legislation in Kentucky to recognize B Corps as legal entities and advising other business owners on obtaining B Corps certification.
Reno-Weber is a social entrepreneur whose career has been dedicated to creating opportunities for all people to reach their full potential. He is the co-founder of MobileServe, a tech startup focused on increasing volunteerism and community involvement. In 2016, MobileServe raised $1 million in seed funding and currently works with schools, Greek organizations, nonprofits and businesses across the country to use technology that creates vibrant, engaged communities.
Previously, Reno-Weber worked for the World Bank, International Finance Corp., Boston Consulting Group, the YMCA and the Greater Louisville Project. A significant part of his work has been focused on creating economic and civic opportunities for traditionally marginalized people and groups. He is passionate about creating data-driven and human-centric organizations, which include businesses, nonprofits and public-private partnerships.
Reno-Weber earned his bachelor’s degree in international affairs from George Washington University, an MBA from Harvard Business School, and a master’s in public administration from the Harvard Kennedy School.