How a Safeguard investor jumpstarted the social impact movement in Philly - Philly


Feb. 1, 2016 12:44 pm

How a Safeguard investor jumpstarted the social impact movement in Philly

An oral history of the social entrepreneurship scene in Philadelphia — as per our sister site, Generocity.

Safeguard Scientifics' former HQ.

(Courtesy photo)

Before Philadelphia got its own social entrepreneurship accelerator and a local investment arm to match, the local social impact scene was a small group kicking around an idea, a question: How do we create companies that prioritize profit and social good?

Our sister site Generocity featured an oral history on the impact investing scene featuring, among others, former Safeguard Scientifics investor and GoodCompany Ventures founder Garrett Melby, former Investors’ Circle president John Moore and former Resources for Human Development CEO Bob Fishman. She’s not mentioned in the oral history but we’d be remiss not to shout out Zoe Selzer, who founded the sustainable business incubator GreenVillage that later merged with Melby’s GoodCompany in 2012. Selzer left GoodCompany in 2013 and now runs Philadelphia University’s Blackstone Launchpad student entrepreneurship program.

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Juliana Reyes

Juliana Reyes became's associate editor after reporting on the Philadelphia tech scene for four years. She's co-president of the Asian American Journalists Association Philadelphia chapter and a two-time Philadelphia News Award winner for "Community Reporting of the Year." The Bryn Mawr College grad lives in West Philly, likes her food spicy and wears jumpsuits often.

  • Hey Juliana — You’re absolutely right to call out Zoe. Her embrace of GoodCompany as part of the Green Village project was a critical part of our organizational development and her leadership of the combined organization opened up new opportunities for us, especially with respect to public sector partnerships like the FastFWD Project. The story itself, however, stemmed from a discussion among the current leadership at GoodCompany, Investors’ Circle and Wharton Social Impact about how those dots came together back in 2009- 2010. The list of individuals who played critical roles in the development of GoodCompany and the other organizations that make up our social enterprise ecosystem (and whose omission from my narrower narrative caused me some regret) is long enough that I won’t make things worse by trying to list all those who have earned my gratitude and respect.


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