23 March 2009

Good Company Ventures: A Virtual Incubator for Social Sector Companies Launches in Philly

Social enterprise needs access to the same sort of support as the for profit sector. Organizations like Ashoka, Skoll, Echoing Green, Acumen Fund, and Endeavor provide a kind of venture capital infrastructure for emerging and growing social entrepreneurs. L3C and B Corp are beginning to build a framework for a new kind of corporate structure, one that blends social good with profit. And conferences like this week's Skoll World Forum and the Global Philanthropy Forum provide a platform for both recognition and exchanging ideas.

Now, with GoodCompany Ventures, there is a business incubator targeting entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to unmet social needs.

A "virtual incubator," along the lines of TechStars and DreamIt Ventures, GoodCompany Ventures will provide facilities, mentoring, and access to a network of capital sources to qualified entrepreneurs whose business models offer investors an attractive mix of financial return and social impact.

"The program is the first of its kind in the social sector, repurposing a proven venture strategy in this emerging sector", said Jacob Gray, partner with Murex Investments in a press release today. "Unlike conventional venture incubators, GoodCompany Ventures doesn't extract an equity commitment from entrepreneurs, but expects a commitment of time and creativity toward building a community of social entrepreneurship."

Garret Melby, founder of Iolite Social Capital, and a partner in GoodCompany Ventures, suggested that "just as Xerox Parc, Idea Lab and other technology incubators helped create the foundation of the information economy, GoodCompany Ventures will support entrepreneurs seeking to build a socially and environmentally sustainable economy."

Applicants will be recruited nationally via venture capital, social finance, and academic networks. A pool of 8 – 12 candidates will be selected to participate in the 2009 incubator program starting this June.

The program has been developed jointly by Resources for Human Development, Inc. (RHD), an innovator in social finance with a successful track record in social enterprises, and Murex Investments, a "double bottom line" equity fund backed by leading financial institutions.

Applications to the Program are now being accepted online at GoodCompanyVentures.org. The deadline for applying is April 20, 2009.

More information is available at GoodCompanyVentures.org or via email at info@GoodCompanyVentures.com.

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