Kanndoo was founded as a Community Interest Company. This decision was one of expediency – a CIC is quick to set up – but we have since encountered some confusion over precisely what a CIC is. So we thought we’d write a short introduction to this class of business that can stand as an explanation to which we can point any hesitant potential partners.
Not-for-Profit Limited Business
A CIC is a class of private limited business where profits are not distributed between shareholders, instead they are invested in pursuing a social purpose. In the case of Kanndoo, our profits go to helping end the twin scourges of poverty and homelessness – whether that be by providing housing for homeless people in the form of our micro-shelters, or giving cash directly to charities that homeless users of our apps identify as having helped them.
Not a Charity
Kanndoo is not a registered charity. We have come to understand that this makes some potential partners a bit wary. Perhaps understandably, they are used to working with charities, and have not heard of a Community Interest Company: a class of business introduced by the government 15 years ago. We want to reassure potential partners that a CIC is a legitimate and fully regulated alternative to a charity. Unlike other businesses that give a percentage of profits to charity, our whole existence is dedicated to generating money from our products and giving it directly to solving homelessness through our products.
Community Interest vs Public Interest
A charity must be run in the public interest by an unpaid (broadly speaking – there are some exceptions) board of trustees. A Community Interest Company like Kanndoo works for the more broadly defined ‘community interest’ and is free to use business solutions to achieve a public good without handing over control for the direction of the company to volunteers. We are overseen by the CIC Regulator and have to prove that our funds are used for the stated purpose in order to retain this classification. We bring commercial philosophies, a business approach and skills to social care. We do not beg and we are not looking for charity. We make products that we sell or give away, to generate revenue in order to pay for solutions to homelessness.
There are some disadvantages to being a CIC. Google recently turned down our application for an advertising grant because they do not recognise CICs as a valid form of non-profit. On the flipside, we get turned down for investment funding because we are a non-profit and there is no ROI on non-existent profits!
If you think that we are on to something and would like to get involved then we want to hear from you!