Entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh
The city of Pittsburgh has a history of entrepreneurship. Pittsburgh is the city where Andrew Carnegie created a steel empire and George Westinghouse revolutionized the power industry. While once a center of innovation, Pittsburgh became increasingly known as an industrial center. The local economy was built on the manufacturing industry and large companies. Over time, the entrepreneurial sprit and risk-taking attitude that had once been the hallmark of the city began to change.
In recent years, efforts have been made to reinvigorate entrepreneurship in the city. The collapse of the steel industry in the 1970s and 1980s forced the city to diversify its economy and to start reinventing itself. Pittsburgh has a number of advantages that make it an ideal hub for entrepreneurs. The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon provide a stream of eager local talent. The universities are also centers of research that facilitate technological transfer and advancement.
Despite the history of entrepreneurship and the presence of high quality research institutions, the city of Pittsburgh and Pittsburgh entrepreneurs face some impediments. First, finding the capital to fund projects can be a huge challenge for aspiring business owners. Second, the city often has to compete with other entrepreneurship hubs for talent. Third, Pittsburgh has not always had a culture and climate favorable towards entrepreneurs.
A New Resource for Local Entrepreneurs: LaunchPGH
The new LaunchPGH website is an attempt to respond to some of the problems that plague Pittsburgh entrepreneurs. LaunchPHG is the brainchild of the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh. The website is meant to serve as a gateway for people in Pittsburgh who are trying to become entrepreneurs, people from outside the area who are looking to move to Pittsburgh and start a business, and for investors who are looking to fund new ventures.
The website consists of three main sections: Biz, Buzz and Burgh. The Biz circle provides resources for entrepreneurs looking for funding, including information on different types of funding and what companies in the Pittsburgh area provide that type of funding. The section also includes information on local resources, including information on coworking spaces, office space and job boards.
The Buzz section provides information on the entrepreneur scene in Pittsburgh. Current events and news are highlighted in this section. The Burgh circle includes facts and data on the city of Pittsburgh.
The Benefit for Entrepreneurs
LaunchPGH aims to connect entrepreneurs, investors and job seekers so that they can network and help build up a stronger local economy. The website allows data to be shared across social networks, which will further deepen the connection between different actors in the Pittsburgh entrepreneur scene. Overall, the website is a positive step towards developing an ecosystem of entrepreneurship in the city.
Jonathan runs Visibility Initiatives at the Pittsburgh Technology Council. The Council is the nation’s largest IT trade association with 1,350 members. One of our platforms is to provide visibility to Pittsburgh tech companies and the industry in general.