Business law assumes profit as a company’s singular motivation, making it hard, and sometimes illegal, for social enterprises to keep a social mission at the core of their operations. Kyle Westaway has dedicated his legal practice to counseling social entrepreneurs on the risks and complications involved in their business models. Westaway Law advises clients like Frontline SMS, Wello Water, All Day Buffet, Praxis Labs, and the Adventure Project. Westaway is also a founder of Biographe, a fashion startup that seeks to create sustainable jobs for survivors of sex trafficking in Thailand. Here he gives Dowser some thoughts on the emergence of Benefit Corporation legislation and the power of social enterprise. Check out more of Westaway’s advice on the SocEntLaw blog.
RS: What led you to become an advocate for social enterprise?
Westaway: I think that title, advocate, is the best description of what I do for this new form of capitalism with a purpose. I grew up with a great family that always knew it was very important to give back, to lift others up, that getting ahead didn’t mean you had to put others down. Also, when I was getting my master’s degree in public policy by thesis was around economic development in sub-Saharan Africa. So I got really interested in economics, in how can you leverage the market to alleviate poverty. Read more