Pioneers Post
social investment

In defence of non-profits

14 May 2012
Jamie Hartzell

Jamie Hartzell interviewed at Hackney's Corner Cafe, east London.

Non-profits have become unfashionable but that's partly due to a fundamental misunderstanding of what it is to be a non-profit.


Start a discussion about business legal structures in the pub and you'll be met with, at best, bemused stares. Keep returning to the subject and your friends will stop inviting you out. Not so in the world of social enterprise. Instead the issue generates a lot of hot air.

The strange habit of individuals, organisations and lobbies organising themselves around particular legal structures (reserving a special obsession for profit distribution) can be perplexing, concerning and ultimately pretty irratating.

Despite this, constitution matters – each legal structure is different and has a profound effect on the development of a business.

In the three-minute video below, Jamie Hartzell, founder of ethical investment platform Ethex, explains why he chose to make Ethex a non-profit, makes a common sensical defence of non-profit legal structures and – just for the heck of it – gives some pragmatic advice on how to go about securing investment.

To watch more from Jamie click the links to find out how Ethex works and the challenges of managing a consortia of investors.

If you enjoyed this video, get more like it by signing up for our weekly news bulletin LIVEWIRE here.