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Girard's Phenomenal Success

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Girard's phenomenal success stemmed from his refusal to imitate conservative businessmen who demonstrated a "prudence that will risk nothing." He and his fellow entrepreneurs helped propel Phila delphia into the industrial age. They provided two essential elements that would transform the city's econ omy-capital amassed from for eign trade, and a readiness to take chances by investing in business ventures unrelated to commerce. Merchants had founded the city's banking system in 1781; later mer chants would pool funds to estab lish competing banks. Among these was one started by Girard in 1812 that remained in operation until the 1970s. These banks were critical in providing venture capital for the building of factories. Many mer chants also
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