Artvoice examines how Pittsburgh has been revitalized through efforts to develop homegrown businesses, recruit tech talent and transform the downtown area, and what civic leaders in Buffalo, N.Y., can take away from this success.
But it’s the long, labor-intensive process of changing the culture there that seems to be paying off. Since 1999, a Pittsburgh shop called Innovation Works has invested Pennsylvania taxpayer funds as seed capital, funds that have helped more than 150 Pittsburgh-area startup companies raise over $1 billion in follow-on private capital. There are well-publicized entrepreneurship programs at the universities, but there’s more, including business-plan competitions with tangible rewards.
One “accelerator” program called Alphalabs offers $25,000 cash in seed funds, plus office space and ongoing mentoring by retired CEOs, Silicon Valley veterans, and academics. A quick survey of the portfolios of these programs indicates that most of them are IT-centered, but some are healthcare-related, some manufacturing-related. The existence of multiple entities that are engaged in the same enterprise -- namely, helping new enterprises -- has helped create a new business ecology. Venture capital funding, government grants, initial public stock offerings, and publicity in national business media are all growing.
Read the full story here