Unique for our collaborative, institutional foundation

Rhiza is co-owned by Community Futures Sunshine Coast, Sunshine Coast Credit Union and Powell River Community Investment Corporation.
Rhiza Capital is a financial intermediary acting in direct response to the challenge of financing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
We build Positive Impact financial products, programs and partnerships that localize the SDGs and connect community to opportunity.
Canadians can now use their capital for a positive contribution to society, environment, and economy. The Positive Impact Initiative works with banks, investors, corporations and the public sector to foster a new set of private-sector, impact-based solutions to the SDGs.

Team

CEO

Brian Smith

CIO

Sean Melrose

Director of (Impact) Investor Relations

Elyse Crowston

CEO

Brian Smith

Brian is an accomplished entrepreneur, investor and creative organizer for sustainable business and impactful economic development. He has led and helped deploy private equity placements and institutional investments that have derived impressive returns and demonstrable impact. Having founded and led successful non-profits, for-profits, and co-ops, Brian is uniquely skillful in a variety of models that have a positive impact.

Brian co-founded and is the Chair of the Board of Persephone Brewing Company – “The Beer Farm”. Persephone is renowned for both award winning beer, the early adoption of ecologically positive systems and community impact and is the only Certified B Corp brewery in Western Canada. Brian holds a BA in Economics from Simon Fraser University, an MA in Planning from the University of British Columbia (UBC), and a Professional Certificate from the UBC Sauder School of Business. Brian and his social ventures have received a number of awards including: Top 100 Impact Companies in North America (2019), Canadian Social Enterprise of the Year (2017), Widening our World Award (2016), Land Award (2016), Celebration of Excellence Award (2014), and Top 40 Under 40 Business People in Vancouver (2009).

CIO

Sean Melrose

Sean is a meticulous asset manager and experienced financial professional. Sean leads Rhiza’s investment strategy and portfolio management. He has a robust and multi-disciplinary knowledge base, with a proven track record in angel and institutional investing, scaling ventures and delivering strong returns for shareholders.Sean has over 20 years’ experience in private equity and venture capital, governance and administrative law, financial engineering and portfolio management. He was an early proponent of values-based investing, working with HNW families to integrate purpose into their portfolios in his early career. He later founded BC’s first Community Investment Corporation, engineering an innovative and risk-managed approach to place-based investment in the process. This set the stage for the formation of Rhiza Capital, where Sean has curated and managed Rhiza’s fund family since inception, active as a board member and advisor for several Rhiza portfolio companies.

In the community, Sean has held governance leadership roles with the United Way, Rotary International, Better Business Bureau, Edmonton’s Assessment Review Board and Inclusion Powell River (where he led this $10MM/annum organization in its first series of for-profit enterprise and investment acquisitions). Sean holds a BA in Mathematics and Philosophy from the University of Winnipeg.

Director of (Impact) Investor Relations

Elyse Crowston

Elyse is an enthusiastic convenor, connector and passionate advocate for solutions for a sustainable future. As Director of (Impact) Investor Relations, Elyse ensures that the Rhiza community of investors is growing, informed, and impactful. Elyse safeguards the critical relationship between fund and partner, and cultivates a culture of trust that is critical to our success.

Prior to joining Rhiza, Elyse worked with Renewal Funds, Canada’s largest and pioneer mission venture capital firm. As is the case for many in the impact space, Elyse wore many hats at Renewal – and was largely responsible for keeping a diverse and engaged group of investors connected to the fund mission, and amplifying their success in service of growing the impact investment sector. Before Renewal Funds, Elyse led the Donor Relations department of Ecojustice, Canada’s largest, non-profit environmental law firm. Elyse holds a BA in Environmental Geography and Policy from the University of British Columbia, with a minor in Mandarin. Elyse serves on the Board of Vancouver B Corps (B Local) as communications and events Chair, and is the Chair of Western Canada B Corp Leadership Development (BLD) conference; and is an elected Board Director for the Vancouver Farmer’s Market Society. Elyse was also named a 2020 Clean50 Emerging Leader.

Board of Directors

Vickie Morris, Chair
Understanding that capital funding for purpose-built spaces supports economic and social development, Vickie continues her work as a volunteer and consultant in Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast.
Shelley McDade
As CEO of Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Shelley is an avid supporter of leadership growth, local economic development and the co-operative business model.
Dawn Bezaire
As a CPA, Dawn is skilled in strategic planning, financial forecasting and sustainability. In her role as CFO of Sunshine Coast Credit Union, Dawn also has extensive experience with Boards in the financial service
Janice Iverson
Janice Iverson loves helping people and teams bring new ideas to life. Her career in both business and social sectors has mostly focused on advancing social and environmental responsibility, collaborative approaches, and innovation.

Advisors

Gerry Zipursky
Donovan Woollard
David Van Seters
Shannon Rohan
Louise Schneider-Moretto
Andy Broderick
Joel Solomon

Partners