Skip to content

Published: November 11, 2014

UT Social Entrepreneur Spreads Conscious Capitalism

Vincent Tafuro Jr. ’16 says that if you explain conscious capitalism to a Baby Boomer, they typically ask, “What is the return on investment?” But if you ask a college student, they typically say, “Why would you do business any other way?”

Tafuro is the president of Conscious Capitalism Florida, a state chapter of a national nonprofit promoting the foundations of capitalism married with trust, compassion, collaboration and value creation, and subscribing to the notion that every business has a higher purpose that includes, but is more than, making money.

“I believe that the long-term sustainable growth of Florida's economy is the responsibility of conscious private sector innovation and that after witnessing this years' embarrassing campaign season, it should be undeniably obvious to anyone that the solution to improving Florida's economy is not political," Tafuro said.

Tafuro came to UT after having run his own Internet marketing and website design firm, Tafuro Communications, for 15 years. In addition, for about five years, he wrote a blog on politics, business and the community. Two years ago, the blog lead him to publish his first book, Corporate Empathy, which focuses on how empathy should drive entrepreneurship and social change. It was through that experience he found himself connected with Conscious Capitalism.

“After publishing the book, I wanted to figure out how to drive action to this way of thinking,” said Tafuro, who found Conscious Capitalism in a Web search, connected with the organization and started the Florida chapter.

The organization advocated for and recently helped pass in Tallahassee the legal status of Benefit Corporations — for-profit ventures established to serve a public purpose. In Tampa, Tafuro, partnering with UT Entrepreneurs, Florida Next, the U.S. Green Chamber, the Florida Bar Association and B Lab, recently held an educational seminar on campus on the Benefit Corporation status. Members of an environmental consulting firm and one of Florida’s first Benefit Corporations presented, as well as Gary Teblum of Trenam Kemker, who helped draft Florida’s legislation on the designation.

“We can reverse the trend of crony capitalism using business and government influence as an exploitative instrument for the extraction of profit and instead provide a sustainable economy for future generations," said Tafuro, a communication major.

Tafuro is working to have similar events at college campuses around the state, where he hopes to engage students in a better philosophy of business.

"By participating in Conscious Capitalism or just by understanding this economic mind-shift ensures that graduates of The University of Tampa will be part of the solution to our economic and societal challenges."