3 Things You Should Know About Small Business: Jan. 19

NEW YORK ( MainStreet) -- What's happening in small business today?

1. The B Corp gains traction. There's a new level of business incorporation called benefit corporations, or the B Corp, gaining traction in a handful of states and appealing to small businesses such as Greyston Bakery of Yonkers, N.Y., and Comet Skateboards of Ithaca, N.Y., as well as some more well-known companies such as Patagonia. According to The Wall Street Journal, these companies plan to take advantage of a new -- and untested -- charter that allows a company's board to consider social or environmental objectives ahead of profits.

Two more states are being added to the list of seven with the designation -- California as of Jan. 1 and, starting Feb. 10, New York.

The new legal structure doesn't make the company tax exempt or a nonprofit and could be a nightmare for a shareholder looking for a company to maximize returns, but it does allow companies to contribute to the greater good of society without being penalized by shareholders.

2. More reasons SOPA and PIPA would be bad for small business. Legislators are backing away from supporting two bills that sought to curb online piracy after individual Internet activists and multiple Web sites, including Wikipedia and Google ( GOOG), protested the bills Wednesday.

The further these bills get from actually becoming law is good news for small businesses, according to PC World, as they would likely be most hurt by what's called overly broad and "draconian" legislation.

3. Staples launches advertising contest. Staples ( SPLS) launched the Staples "Give Your Small Business the Push It Needs" contest Thursday to award five businesses up to $50,000 each in free TV advertising in their home markets.

Small business owners can enter to win the contest by submitting a 15-second video about their company on the Staples Facebook page. Winners have a choice of either $50,000 in advertising or $40,000 in advertising plus $10,000 in cash.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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