The launch of the Green Village Philadelphia sustainable business incubator was practically a surprise party — without any of the awkward entrances.
In truth, the surprise wasn’t a complete shock since more than a few people seemed to know that Green Village, which Technically Philly first visited in January, and GoodCompany Ventures, the three-year-old bootcamp-style accelerator for social enterprises, were planning to announce their partnership at the event.
Green Village board co-chair Joe Guagliardo, executive director Zoe Selzer and Garrett Melby, CEO and cofounder of GoodCompany Ventures, told a group of about 50 people, including Deputy Mayor Alan Greenberger, that the new, combined company would be called the GoodCompany Group.
“We believe that we’re creating what will be one of the most comprehensive programs for sustainable businesses and responsible entrepreneurs in the country and we hope in the world,” said Guagliardo. “We want Philadelphia to be the center of all this.”
Below, watch Guagliardo make the announcement.
Although Selzer and Melby had been discussing a partnership between their social enterprise-oriented companies, which both described as “perfect,” the decision to make the announcement during the launch party wasn’t settled until the previous weekend, Melby told Technically Philly.
“This came together fairly quickly,” Melby said. “Because they had this event on the calendar and we have to get moving on our summer program, Zoe and I said ‘screw it, we’re close enough. Let’s just go.”
Under the GoodCompany Group, both Green Village and GoodCompany Ventures will continue to operate much the same as they would have as individuals. Selzer overseeing the incubator and the eight companies who are currently members there, and Melby organizing the Philadelphia-based “all-star” summer social enterprise bootcamp, Melby told Technically Philly.
“We’re going to keep the GoodCompany brand that’s very welcoming to the investment community. Like you don’t have to put on the love beads,” Melby said. “There’s kind of two different camps and if you take the best from both and leave behind the baggage from both, and create a new space. It works perfectly.”
The advantage of the partnership is network sharing. Melby can help the startups being incubated at Green Village meet investors interested in socially responsible enterprise. Green Village can give GoodCompany a year-round residence at the 1650 Arch St. location, adjacent to Seed Philly, another, broader accelerator, and offer support to promising startups from the GoodCompany bootcamp, which will run in the industrial design lab at the Corzo Center this summer, Selzer says.
“We realized we both had holes in our models. We had pieces missing and by partnering and merging the organization, we became a really complete organization,” Selzer said. “It’s one of those opportunities where normally when you’re trying to partner with someone it’s hard to figure out exactly how you want to partner. With Garrett and I it was instant.”
After the ribbon cutting and the partnership announcement, Deputy Mayor Greenberger offered a few words, praising the newly minted GoodCompany Group for nurturing social enterprise in Philadelphia.
“We’ve gotta invent things like crazy. And the thing we have to invent like crazy is new ideas and new businesses,” said Deputy Mayor Greenberger. “And it’s places like this that are going to enable that to happen and enable that to happen in this city.”
Below you can check out clips of Selzer and Melby talking to Technically Philly about what they each bring GoodCompany Group. If you missed the event, you can also catch a glimpse of the ribbon-cutting.
Zoe Selzer, cofounder of GoodCompany Group:
Garrett Melby, cofounder of GoodCompany Group:
The ribbon-cutting for the official launch of Green Village:
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