That’s where Maria Allison and her business partner Nicole Koedyker come in with their company Forsei, a for-profit company dedicated to preparing businesses to improve their social and environmental impact.
Forsei is “the idea of foreseeing a future with responsible business and social and environmental responsibility executed by all business,” Allison said.
The Drexel University entrepreneurship major and her co-founder consult startup companies and small businesses through workshops and meetings that encourage B Corp Certification standards such as efforts to reduce carbon footprints and increase benefits for workers and the community.
After being a part of the City Year Greater Philadelphia program, Allison said she “became very obsessed with this idea of getting the best return on a philanthropic investment.”
The avid volunteer and youth mentor was later approached by Koedyker about starting a firm that measures a business's social and environmental impact and helps them to progress.
"The way we run things, we go through an assessment with a company and go through their business operations and we basically improve that number however best complements the way the company is operated," Allison told BET.com.
Allison and Koedyker base their evaluations on B-Corp certification.
“[B-Corp Certification] evaluates a company’s environmental and social responsibility. It evaluates how it's governed; the board of director composition, to its workers and how much paid time off you're offering your employees, or if employees have ownership rights,” explained Allison.
Allison said her gender seems to be the biggest obstacle for her in the business world.
“While I may not feel limited by my race and sometimes age, I do feel limited by the female factor. [Nicole and I] represent a very small percentage of women in [the Baiada institute for Entreprenuership at Drexel University],” Allison said. “Diversity is something we encourage all of our clients to invest time in."
Allison wants to encourage all companies to “create the best possible impact that they possibly can and be the best citizen that they can in their communities.”
“Business has potential to do a lot. It has the power to employ people and give people a livelihood," she said. "It has the ability to influence a culture. It has the ability to change the way that we think and what we do.”
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(Photo: Courtesy Maria Allison)