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Welcome to the Successful Entrepreneurs Blog Series. In this monthly blog series, Harvard Business Services, Inc. will interview a variety of successful entrepreneurs whose company’s range from large to small and from local to international.
Disclaimer: Some of the featured companies will be clients of Harvard Business Services, Inc., and we will always disclose this information. If you have a suggestion for a Successful Entrepreneur Blog or would like your company to be featured in this series, send us an email.
Jamu Juice At-A-Glance
|Incorporation Date:||December 2, 2014|
|Type of Business Entity:||Public Benefit Corporation|
|Delaware Company?||Yes, via Harvard Business Services, Inc.|
|Products/Services Offered:||A variety of instant turmeric and ginger chai teas inspired by Indonesian traditions and Ayervedic medicine.|
A Public Benefit Corporation has a dual purpose—to profit shareholders and to benefit the public. In fact, every Public Benefit Corporation includes a proclamation that it will attempt to maximize shareholder value as well as provide a social benefit. It is an excellent option for entrepreneurs who want to form companies with clearly defined social contributions. Recently, we spoke with Jessica Filkins, founder of Jamu Juice, and her business advisor and brother, Walter Filkins, to find out why Jessica decided to form a Public Benefit Corporation, how it is working for her and what is ahead for Jamu Juice.
What inspired you to start Jamu Juice?
I spent four years learning about health and healing. After several rounds of antibiotics, I had developed stomach problems and I wanted to heal myself. I traveled and I also went to the Institute for Integrative Nutrition. While traveling in Indonesia, I learned how to make a tea with significant anti-inflammatory properties. From it, I saw a positive healing response in my body. I wanted to share the anti-inflammatory tea that helped me with the rest of the world.
At the same time, I noticed that people in that area of Indonesia sold turtle eggs as a source of protein and I found it rather sad. One day, when I was swimming in the ocean, a small turtle swam with me and I got the idea for a business venture that would have a dual purpose— to bring a healing product to the rest of the world as well as make an impact on important social issues, particularly conservation or food security.
There is another part of the public benefit of Jamu Juice, too—the purpose of this tea is not just to taste good but also to maintain the medicinal qualities of the spices in the tea by using the highest quality and often the most expensive ingredients available. Being a PBC allows us to write this purpose into our mandate, and protect this purpose, even if down the road, we decide to sell the company.
Why did you choose the Public Benefit Corporation over a General Corporation or a Non-Profit Corporation?
The primary reason we incorporated as a Public Benefit Corporation was so that, in the future, if we do take on shareholders, our mission will continue to come first.
You operate out of Rhode Island; why did you choose to incorporate in Delaware?
We incorporated in Delaware because Delaware corporations simply have more clout. In my research, I found out that being a Delaware corporation will make it easier for another company to fund, or acquire a piece of, Jamu Juice.
Has owning a PBC helped you to raise mission-aligned capital? Has it helped you to attract the attention of venture capitalists or social investors?
We started a year ago, and until recently we have been focused on the beginning stages of the business. We have not sought out investors yet. We choose the PBC with the long-term in mind. However, being a business with a higher purpose did help us raise $5,000 through a crowdfunding campaign this past winter. The money we raised paid the first two month’s rent in our new space, which includes our own certified kitchen and dedicated office.
Do you have any resources or tools that you have relied upon that you would recommend to other entrepreneurs?
A lot of people have asked me, “How did you start this company with no business experience?” I can say that I relied on the fact that I do a lot of research and I am willing to talk to people and ask questions.
One of the biggest challenges I had when I first started was becoming certified in the state of Rhode Island to work with food products. In the beginning, it was like a scavenger hunt. It seems easier now, looking back, but there was no book or resource I could turn to at that time. Now, I do my best to help others who are just starting this process.
What I would say to entrepreneurs is to find others in your area who have done something similar to what you are doing and ask them questions.
How did the people at Harvard Business Services, Inc. help you get your start? They were extremely helpful and did a great job explaining the whole process of incorporating. It went very smoothly. They were easy to talk to and that was a big help to me, especially since I really did not have a lot of knowledge about this part of being a business owner.
What is next for Jamu Juice?
Right now, we are in over 30 different stores, including several co-ops, cafes, health food stores and yoga studios. Our products are available in anywhere from two to six farmer’s markets (depending on the time of year) and our online orders continue to increase each week.
We are looking into bottling our products; it is at that point at which we will start seeking investors. We are currently talking with Whole Foods. In the next month or so, Jamu Juice will be available in their barista bar in Rhode Island and, with some changes to our packaging, it may soon be on the shelves at Whole Foods as well. We are currently moving into our own office and production facility; in fact, we brought everything there today.
Harvard Business Services, Inc. would like to thank Jessica and Walter for taking the time to let us interview them. If you are interested in learning more about the Public Benefit Corporation or you are ready to form your company today, our friendly and experienced customer support staff is ready to assist via phone (1-800-345-2677), email (email@example.com), live chat from our website or Skype (Delawareinc).
*Disclaimer*: Harvard Business Services, Inc. is neither a law firm nor an accounting firm and, even in cases where the author is an attorney, or a tax professional, nothing in this article constitutes legal or tax advice. This article provides general commentary on, and analysis of, the subject addressed. We strongly advise that you consult an attorney or tax professional to receive legal or tax guidance tailored to your specific circumstances. Any action taken or not taken based on this article is at your own risk. If an article cites or provides a link to third-party sources or websites, Harvard Business Services, Inc. is not responsible for and makes no representations regarding such source’s content or accuracy. Opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Harvard Business Services, Inc.