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Following SVB, Now is the Time for Companies to be a Force for Good in Society

By Leah Battin, Senior Associate, Company Advisor, CECP

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank (SVB) has left many entrepreneurs and startups panicked and scrambling to address concerns they thought were behind them.  This includes making employees’ payroll, but also other resources that SVB lent them, such as discounted tech tools, valuable introductions, and research funding.

At CECP, we believe in the potential and capacity for large corporations to be a force for good in society; co-founder Paul Newman’s demand to “do more” is a common call to action among CECP staff and coalition members. Because corporate responsibility and purpose extend beyond philanthropy, we offer considerations and opportunities for CECP-affiliated companies to support entrepreneurs and startups in their communities and supply chains:

  • Go back to the garage. Remember your origin story. No multibillion-dollar company started out that large. Whether a garage prototype or a family recipe, every product and service started small. What hurdles did your company face in its early days, and who helped the company succeed?
  • Share the wealth… or just loosen the purse strings. CECP-affiliated companies ranging from Apple and AT&T to Verizon and Walmart are members of the Billion Dollar Roundtable (BDR), comprised of corporations spending at least $1 billion with diverse-owned suppliers. Large corporations often hold the power in their supplier relationships. What financial flexibility can your company offer diverse and/or smaller suppliers today, like shifting from net-180 to net-30 payment terms?
  • Widen the lens. It takes a village. SVB’s collapse will affect a whole generation of startups, not just those in your company’s supply chain and customer base. What future innovation and revenue opportunities might you miss out on if the entrepreneurial ecosystem cannot recover from this setback? It truly is an ecosystem, including academic offices of technology commercialization, community banks and credit unions, and public sector economic development initiatives. Can your broader CSR efforts and community investments aid capacity building or general operating support for any nonprofit organizations in your local community’s entrepreneurial ecosystem?

During this trying time companies should follow their north star and double down on corporate purpose. It’s good for the world and good for business. In fact, high-purpose companies and brands outperform low-purpose ones on common measures of financial performance, valuation, and value creation; double their market value over four times faster than low-purpose brands; and demonstrate a nearly 20 percentage point advantage in annualized total shareholder returns.

 CECP is here to help on your corporate purpose journey. Reach out to have a conversation with us today.