Carla Heim works with social entrepreneurs in BC to provide the tools and funding to grow their businesses. She knows that entrepreneurs can hit the limits of their skills and capacity, and her passion lies in helping them push through those challenges.
Carla is a Senior Account Manager at the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC). Along with her colleagues, she supports social entrepreneurs not only with capital, but also with planning, certification, operational systems and more.
Her biggest focus right now is helping to grow the B Corp movement in Canada. “I love the B Lab and what they’re doing for businesses—and then what those businesses can do for the community. This feels like a very important contribution to society.”
B Lab is a non-profit organization that serves a global movement of people using ‘business as a force for good.’ Its vision is that one day, all companies compete not only to be the best in the world, but the best for the world and as a result society will enjoy a more shared and durable prosperity.
In Search of the Greater Good
Carla and BDC seek out entrepreneurs that are thinking about the greater good within whatever product or service they’re providing. Effects on the local and global community and the environment make them social entrepreneurs, but many don’t self-identify that way. They just do things that way.
If Carla had her way, “We’d see the majority of businesses become certified B-Corp companies through B Lab, and with the support of BDC, the momentum behind these types of businesses would directly reflect back on our communities and on our quality of life.”
Each year, B Lab produces the ‘B Corp Best for the World’ list, which honours businesses that earn an overall score in the top 10% of all Certified B Corps on the B Impact Assessment, a rigorous and comprehensive assessment of a company’s impact on its workers, community, and the environment. A company must score over an 80 on the BIA to become a Certified B Corp; the Best for the World lists honours the best of the best.
“Living consciously affects everyone around us.”
It is Carla’s goal to increase the number of Canadian companies on that list so that “we can really shine globally and set a good example.” The benefits of this would directly impact employees, communities, society, and the environment. “It’s really all about living consciously and being aware of how that affects everyone around us.”
Despite her passion and enthusiasm, Carla’s greatest challenge is time and capacity. She’s hoping for a shift this year to be able to dedicate more resources towards achieving her goal of building this movement.
“That’s why it’s so awesome to be involved with Social Venture Institute, because it’s an established group of thought leaders who have been in this space for a long time. It’s a great ecosystem. You can have instant impact on so many people.” But that’s not the case all over Canada. Carla’s job is to expand this kind of ecosystem to every community across Canada.
It’s neither easy work, nor is it work that’s likely to happen quickly. So it’s important to Carla—and to all social entrepreneurs—to keep some perspective.
“It’s important to see the world beyond our enterprises.” A sentiment that surely contributed to Carla’s nomination for the inaugural ‘B Keeper Award.’
On ‘Busyness’ and “Tunnel Vision”
“We have so much coming at us all the time, constantly in a state of ‘busyness,’ charging through life without being aware of a lot of things around us. Did we notice the flowers are blooming? Or that someone close to us needs help? We get so busy, we get tunnel-vision. It’s important to look up and see the world beyond our enterprises.”
When she’s not focussing on business, Carla is passionate about music. “Just don’t ask me to sing! I’m pretty tone deaf!” When asked what her message would be for the next generation, Carla’s answer is simple: “Live consciously. Be humble. Stay open to all opinions and information. We need to be aware of all our actions and the people around us—to stay connected to it all.”
Carla’s role at BDC has recently been expanded to include working directly with B Lab Canada to grow the B Corp movement. At the recent B Corp Leadership Development Conference (BLD) she also received the ‘B Keeper Award.’ In accepting this acknowledgement, Carla responded, “I adore this movement, the space and mostly the people. I am honoured to facilitate and it is so much fun to spread doing business for good!”
Carla’s direct engagement with dozens of social entrepreneurs, her commitment to raising awareness and increasing certification of B Corps, and BDC’s support of social entrepreneurship across the country are all adding up to a significant contribution go the social venture space.
Carla was a ‘One-on-One Expert’ at SVI Vancouver—one of about a dozen peers in the community that was available for one-on-one consulting session throughout the conference. Click here to learn more about the next Social Venture Institute, this September 14 – 18 at Hollyhock.