Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Hill District entrepreneurs receive boost from Urban Innovation21; CMU awards seven startupsTwenty businesses and entrepreneurs in the Hill District are among the first recipients of funding to be officially announced by Urban Innovation21 on Thursday night.
The grants are the first of three Urban Innovation21 competitions underway that will assist entrepreneurs in the Hill District, Homewood and the Pittsburgh Central Innovation Zone (PCKIZ). The overall goal is to provide support for community-based, resident-owned businesses while connecting them to the region’s innovation communities.
“We were really overwhelmed by the response and are excited about the work to connect our region’s success to some of its poorest communities in a way that will ultimately provide wealth opportunities for minorities, women and resident-owned businesses,” says Bill Generett, CEO of Urban Innovation21.
The Hill District Grant Competition attracted 62 initial applicants, 60 of whom were African Americans. Applicants participated in workshops and received assistance from Urban Innovation21. The finalists submitted a business plan and gave an elevator pitch as well.
Twenty applicants will receive grants. Artistry Greenscapes won the $10,000 top prize; the winners of the $5,000 grants include: Cameron Professional Services, EnjoYourself, Grace Security, Silq Concrete, Something Borrowed Boutique and The Pittsburgh Spot.
Three companies will receive technical assistant awards to launch crowdfunding efforts and another 10 will receive $1000 each toward a Kiva Zip zero-interest loan of up to $5,000.
In other startup funding news, CMU’s Open Field Entrepreneurs Fund (OFEF) has awarded $300,000 to six startup companies to assist them in growing their business ventures.
The fund, established by CMU alumnus and Flip Video Camera creator Jonathan Kaplan and his wife, Marci Glazer, provides early-stage business financing and support to alumni who have graduated from CMU in the last five years.
Since June 2012, the OFEF has provided support to 16 startup companies from across the country and a variety of industries. The fund is part of CMU’s Greenlighting Startups initiative, which facilitates bringing faculty and student innovations from the research lab to the marketplace...Read more»
By: Deb Smit