With a mission to connect impact companies and funds with values-aligned investors, Big Path Capital has social and environmental impact improvement as its core. That mission made Big Path a natural fit to become one of the first Certified B Corporations when the movement to use business as a force for good began more than 15 years ago. 

“Big Path’s mission from the start was about how to change the way capitalism is done and to help positive-impact companies and funds to find the right capital partners so they could scale to show that this isn’t just a different way to do business but a better, smarter way,” says Michael Whelchel, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Big Path Capital. “Our mission has always been to find companies and funds that would prove this out and become shining examples of this new standard.”

While that mission and message were new and unusual in 2007, they have since been embraced by thousands of other businesses that are creating a profit and positive impact to address the world’s most pressing problems as B Corps. “Early on in our communication we were focused on busting this myth that you couldn’t have both purpose and profit,” Whelchel says. “One way we did this was to turn it on its head. We said that investors who intentionally seek financial, environmental, and social returns are actually smart money. It’s the investors who are only focused on financial returns who are actually leaving returns on the table. “We can both make money and realize positive impact.”  

Leading the Charge with B Corp Values and Impact Innovation

Through its work with investors, funds, and business leaders, Big Path lives its B Corp values and builds awareness of the B Corp community as a source of collaboration and innovation at a crucial time. “We feel the urgency and scope of the issues at hand and the challenges we face to achieving what is needed,” Whelchel says. “There is incredible opportunity within the community to support one another both in our impact but also in our growth as leaders and businesses.”

Being a B Corp also means being accountable as a business seeking continual impact improvement and proving its progress. Every three years, B Corps must recertify by completing the B Impact Assessment, a third-party tool that measures their impact on people and the planet and helps them identify areas for improvement. “Having been a certified B Corp since 2007, we’ve gone through several recertifications,” Whelchel says. “Each recertification has helped us move from commitment to action across different parts of our business — like moving to a mission-aligned bank, choosing suppliers based on their commitment to sustainability, and working with diverse fund managers.”

By learning from and partnering with other impact-minded companies, Big Path and other B Corps create ripples of positive change. They also demonstrate how businesses can create profit and make progress on global challenges — a balancing act that requires focus and commitment. “The day-to-day challenge for us as businesses is that we must remain competitive in our respective industries to have the resources to contribute to the better future we know is needed,” Whelchel says. “We must choose our priorities thoughtfully so we can both grow our businesses and effect change. Ensuring we have the personal and business resources to contribute to the community is essential.”

To build on its B Corp values and amplify its mission, Big Path established the MO 100 Impact CEO Ranking to honor 100 top executives building positive social and environmental impact at high-growth companies. Awardees on the MO 100 are ranked according to a “force for good” score, which is calculated based on a formula accounting for the company’s scale via its total revenue, growth via its revenue growth rate, and positive impact on people and planet via the B Impact Assessment or other impact certifications. 

As a member of the B Corp community, Big Path knows the B Impact Assessment provides a rigorous and holistic evaluation of a company’s operations and impact. “Just like businesses need good financial metrics, they also need impact metrics as well,” Whelchel says. “The B Impact Assessment provides that across numerous industries and, beyond measuring current impact, offers suggestions for improvement.”

Nurturing Bonds and Building Bridges in the Expanding B Corp Community

During its 15-plus years as a B Corp, Big Path has seen the power of connecting with other business leaders who want to build their impact and their bottom lines. “The biggest lesson is the bond that our shared mission creates. Our clients who are B Corps did not experience that level of connection when they had conversations with traditional investment banks,” Whelchel says. “Big Path is all about championing their impact and understands the central role of their impact in the long-term success of their company. We didn’t realize how strongly this understanding would be to help attract the right capital partners for our clients.”

Now more than 8,000 companies strong around the world, the B Corp community has grown in size as well as in diversity on a variety of levels. “What is so inspiring is the transformation that is happening across industries. This provides a richer community for everyone and brings more perspectives, ideas, and learning for all of us,” Whelchel says. “There is this groundswell of talented entrepreneurs using business to effect change, and all of them, in their own way, are taking their own bold paths to help create this bigger future for us all. 

“What inspired me initially and continues to inspire me is being part of this collective mission of transforming capitalism, which is at the heartbeat of the B Corp mission.” 

Learn more about Big Path’s B Corp journey in this video featuring Michael Whelchel: