Level program logo against blue background

We don't all start from the same place.

Businesses that address the needs of their community and of our shared planet deserve a fair shot. We must acknowledge the imbalances in entrepreneurship and actively level the field in order to build a more inclusive and just economy.

That is why B Lab U.S. & Canada strives to support businesses facing systemic challenges to economic empowerment through our Level program.

We are now accepting applications for Level 2023!

2023 Level Application

Why Level?

Businesses led by Black, Indigenous or People of Color who also identify as women work alongside B Corp Certification consulting firms through the B Corp Certification process. Level provides participating businesses with resources needed to: measure and improve their impact, tell their story, adopt legal stakeholder governance, and certify as a B Corp. And we all co-create and learn along the way.

Level Logo

Testimonial

“We love what the B Corp movement and community is all about! Having gone through this process, we are impressed with the thoughtfulness and comprehensiveness that has gone into the Certification process. Many Native companies, in particular, could benefit from this form of incorporation and Certification — however, I can imagine few would be able to navigate this process without the assistance of something like the Level program.”

They Are The Future: The Numbers

17% of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color women-identifying entrepreneurs are in the process of starting or running a business, compared to 10% of white women and 15% of white men. Source

36.1% of all Black-owned businesses are owned by women — higher than any other racial group. Source

2x higher rate of First Nations and Inuit women-identifying led businesses in Canada compared to non-identifying Indigenous women-identifying peers. Source

18% of young (under 35) Indigenous Americans are business owners — 4% higher than the average. Source

Yet the current system unfairly demands that Black, Indigenous, and People of Color women-identifying led businesses be more qualified than their white peers to access the same resources.

Level Logo

Testimonial

“I appreciated the character of my interactions in the Level program.”

Inequitable Access to Profit & Capital: The Numbers

$24k: average revenue of Black women-identifying founders.

$143k: average revenue of all women-identifying founders. Source

61%: Black women-identifying founders self-fund their start-up capital.

29%: Black women-identifying founders live in households with income over $75k compared to 52% of white men. Source

2% of venture capital goes to women-identifying founders. Source

1.86% of venture capital goes to First Nations and Inuit founders in Canada. Source

1% of Black-owned businesses in their first year obtained loans they applied for compared to 7% of white-owned businesses. Source

And we at B Lab U.S. & Canada, along with the B Corp community, have work to do. 

12% of Certified B Corporations in the U.S. & Canada are owned by individuals from racially/ethnically marginalized communities compared to approximately 19% representation across the U.S. & Canada.

2021 Pilot

100% of participants would recommend this program to a peer as a valuable use of their time. 

100% of participants felt a sense of inclusion and belonging in the program. 

80% of participants can point to specific transformational practices at their business due to the program.

Testimonial

“It helped me dig deeper on how my personal values aligned with our brand’s values which is important.”

How to Apply

We are now accepting applications for Level 2023. Click here to learn more and apply!

  • Business must be led and/or owned by Black, Indigenous or People of Color who also identify as women
  • Have a basic familiarity of — better yet, some progress through — the B Impact Assessment
  • Familiar with and willing to adopt the legal requirement as part of B Corp Certification
  • Business is based in the U.S. or Canada and has been in operation for at least 12 months
  • What is behind the name? Level is a palindrome and has visual significance. Backward or forwards it has the same definition and comes from the Greek root: again. And so the name has two implications:
  1. Equity is a recognition that we do not all start from the same place and we must acknowledge that in our work and make adjustments to imbalances, by leveling the field and
  2. The continuation of this program will not always be linear. Along with our partners, we will go backward and forwards with this program, at times we fail forward, but we keep our sights on the shared vision of leveling access to our tools, programs, and B Corp Certification.
  • What’s a B Corp? Glad you asked. Certified B Corporations are for-profit companies that use their business as a force for good. They meet the highest standards of social & environmental performance, have higher levels of transparency, and are legally accountable to their mission. They stand for a more inclusive, equitable and regenerative economic system for all people and planet. We’d like to think they’re the future of how businesses should operate.
  • How many companies are accepted into the program? In 2021 we accepted five and in 2022 we accepted 10. We plan on having space for more in 2023 while preserving the depth and intimacy of the group.
  • Is the B Corp Certification then free? No, it is not. However, we offer an honorarium for all companies who participate in the program which likely covers more than a year of B Corp Certification. Additionally, we are exempting the companies from any increases in Certification fees that may occur as well as offering an equity discount.
  • What is the time commitment of these companies to participate in the program? We ask companies to dedicate about 12 hours over the course of the four-month program. The founder/CEO does not need to be the individual representing the business participating in the program.
  • I’m already a Pending B. Can I participate? Yes!
  • What if a company doesn’t end up certifying as a B Corp at the end of the program? Is there a penalty? Absolutely not. We just hope you gained personal and business value from participating.
  • I’d like to support Level! Who can I speak to? We’d love to hear from you! Please reach out to us at: certify@bcorporation.net 

Thank You to Our Level Participating Companies

  • Headshot of founder of Hanahana Beauty

    Abena Boamah-Acheampong

    Founder, Hanahana Beauty | Bringing Humanity to Skincare. (2022)

    Website
  • Sachai Headshot

    Rebecca Denson

    Founder, Sachai Tea Co. | Truth & Transparency through Tea & Community. (2022)

    Website
  • Gayle Jennings-O'Byrne

    General Partner, WOCstar | Championing, Investing in, and Telling the Stories of Black Women. (2022)

    Website
  • Stacy Cumberbatch

    Stacy Cumberbatch,

    Managing Director, Blended Impact | Reimagining Capital Access for Job Creation in Middle Income Cities. (2022)

    Website
  • Egalite Headshot

    Annie Korver

    Founder & Principal, Rise Consulting | Achieving Economic Reconciliation through Trust, Courage, and Community. (2022)

    Website
  • Aria Lisbeth Headshot

    Lisbeth Carolina Arias

    Founder, Descalza | Unique Pieces Made with Purpose & Intention. (2022)

    Website
  • Aurora Archer

    CEO & Founder, The Opt-In | Humanity-Centered Conversations with Love & without Judgment. (2022)

    Website
  • Greenwood Hayden Headshot

    Lorna M. Hayden

    CEO & Founder, Greenwood Hayden | Disrupting the Investment Industry to Reimagine Black Legacies. (2022)

    Website
  • Native Advisory Headshot

    Lacey Horn

    CEO, Native Advisory | Increasing Tribal Sovereignty through Financial Sovereignty. (2022)

    Website
  • Anne Headshot

    Andréanne Mulaire Dandeneau

    Founder & CEO, Anne Mulaire | Inclusive Fashion for a Less Busy Lifestyle and a Better Tomorrow. (2022)

    Website
  • August Marie Ball

    Founder, Cream City Conversation | A Two-Prong Social Enterprise, Changing the Face and Culture of Conservation. (2021)

    Website
  • Noni Session

    Executive Director, East Bay Permanent Real Estate Cooperative | A People of Color Led Land and Housing Investment Cooperative. (2021)

    Website
  • Cee Stanley

    CEO & President, Green Heffa Farms | A Farm, a Tea Company, a Natural Health Brand, and an Educational Resource. (2021)

    Website
  • Alicia Maria Kidd

    Founder, The Wine Noire | Offering an Integrated Model for Women, BIPOC, and POC Wine Companies. (2021)

    Website
  • Lesley Kabotie

    Founder, Indigenous Collaboration | Offering Facilitation Services Reliant on Group Wisdom to Build Consensus Toward Action. (2021)

    Website

Program Offerings

  • Hand holding a single daisy

    Peer Connection

    Opportunity to connect with one another through the program as well as Certified B Corporations from the BIPOC Leaders Network.

  • Hand stacking shapes to build and abstract structure

    Capacity Building

    Capture, benchmark, and improve social & environmental impact with the assistance from world-leading women-led Certified B Corporation consulting firms.

  • Speech bubble illustration on a blue background

    Exposure

    Tell your story, in your words, to the audience you want to reach.

  • Illustration of colorful falling confetti and hearts on a black background

    Joy

    If there’s no dancing in your revolution, we want no part in it. This program is built on important work full of joyful participation.

  • Illustration of dollar sign on green background

    Compensation

    All companies that participate are paid an unrestricted honorarium.

Testimonial

Many of the small businesses I know of in ‘Indian Country’ are built with intentions of benefit to a larger community. Every now and then, one of those businesses will expand and grow — with investors and other stakeholders. When that happens, there is a risk of mission-drift, catering to the demands of stakeholders versus community — putting intent and personal values against profit and growth. So the idea of protecting mission is important.”

Thank You to Our Program Partners

  • Cee Stanley

    Deep gratitude for co-creating this program. CEO | Farmer | Environmentalist

    Green Heffa Farms Website
  • Shola Gbemi

    With support from Shola Gbemi, Program Design Specialist.

In Partnership With

With Funding Support From
Prudential Financial Logo

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