AlphaLab (Software Accelerator) & AlphaLab Gear (Hardware Accelerator)
AlphaLab and AlphaLab Gear, both programs of Innovation Works, help early-stage tech companies quickly figure out the best way to build and grow by offering crucial resources including funding, networking, and expertise.Applications for both their software and hardware program are accepted on a rolling basis.
Bridgeway Capital’s Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator Program
The Creative Entrepreneur Accelerator (CEA) Grant Program is an initiative of the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts designed to increase opportunity and provide recovery assistance to entrepreneurs ready to grow or start their creative businesses. The CEA program provides creative entrepreneurs with grants up to $2,000. Bridgeway Capital’s Creative Business Accelerator serves as a referral partner for applications through the Greater Pittsburgh Arts Council and Erie Arts and Culture, ensuring the best access to this grant opportunity for creative entrepreneurs across the region.
Pittsburgh Innovation District’s coworking platform, Avenu Workspaces, has expanded its largest location as a hub for entrepreneurs, recent graduates, and anyone pursuing innovation and technology work.
Clubs (for Pitt Students)
CoLab is building the community for the next generation of founders, engineers, and designers at the University of Pittsburgh. The club runs high-impact events that accelerate student potential and ambition. CoLab believes spontaneity creates ideas so it is connecting the best minds on campus to work on the next generation of technology. If you’re interested in startups, technology, and 10X’ing your potential — CoLab is the community on campus to accelerate your interests. 🚀
Enactus is an international community of student, academic and business leaders committed to using the power of social entrepreneurship to enable human progress. Members apply business concepts to develop community outreach projects that transform lives and shape a better, more sustainable world.
Enactus@Pitt is a student-run social entrepreneurship organization that aims to develop its members leadership, problem-solving, collaboration, and innovation skills. We work with a variety of partners, majors, and organizations to complete consulting projects that yield positive benefits to local and broader communities.
Pitt Student Ventures Club
Pittsburgh Student Ventures, formerly known as the Pitt Private Equity and Venture Capital Club, was founded in 2018. As one of the few clubs on campus dedicated to bridging the gap between the classroom and professional world for students of all majors, Pittsburgh Student Ventures offers the educational resources and networking opportunities to grow your professional brand and increase employment opportunities. Pittsburgh Student Ventures is more than a business club, it is about understanding the entrepreneurial process and applying analytical thinking techniques to succeed. With networking events, competitive case competitions, and an intimate learning environment, members of all backgrounds and experiences can expand their knowledge and propel their career.
Commercialization Online Resource Library
Pitt’s Office of Innovation & Entrepreneurship has produced an online collection of resource materials that supports asynchronous, online learning covering idea development and technology commercialization!
The initial set of topics include: business model canvas, pitch decks, value proposition, market sizing, competitive analysis, and customer discovery. Each topic has 3 videos – short (<5 mins), medium (<10 mins), and a more in-depth review (usually 30-45 mins).
- “Customer Discovery: How Do I Know if My Idea is a Good One?” – Slide Deck Courtesy of Kit Needham
Customer discovery is key to knowing if your idea is a good one. In this slide deck, you’ll learn about the do’s and don’ts of customer discovery, the steps in the customer discovery process, and tips and tricks for getting the most valuable insights from your target audience.
Innovation Works’ Startup Recipes
Startup Recipes is an online resource created by Innovation Works dedicated to those who have the time and desire to form a startup but not necessarily the financial means and know-how to get started.
In each “recipe”, you’ll find a walkthrough of the critical factors to consider in a specific step of the startup formation process, complete with instructions on how to use a DIY tool to accomplish the task with minimal funding. The tools are not meant to take the place of other professional advice or expertise, which is often the next step in scaling up the company. They are intended to make entrepreneurship easier and more accessible to more people.
Even if you are a repeat founder, already have your startup launched, are bootstrapping, developing a side-hustle, or just exploring your options– there is still a valuable “recipe” for you.
- HubSpot Academy
- HubSpot Academy is the worldwide leader in free online training for inbound marketing, sales, and customer service. They specialize in comprehensive certifications, singular topic courses, and bite-sized lessons for professionals looking to grow their career and business.
- Microdose Marketing Blog
- 3 links and 240 characters of commentary. Marketing recommendations and resources for startup founders, delivered in a micro-newsletter twice a week. Written by Lynsie Campbell,2x tech founder, pre-seed venture capitalist, and author of This Better Work.
- The HubSpot Marketing Blog
- HubSpot’s Marketing Blog – attracting over 4.5 million monthly readers – covers everything you need to know to master inbound marketing.
- Ballard Academy for Student Entrepreneurs (BASE) Program
BASE offers participants practical legal advice for developing a new venture, a value-added team of experienced and accessible lawyers, and an education on how to avoid mistakes and how to solve problems when they arise. With the resources of the firm’s 15 offices across the United States, BASE can provide competent, personalized, and effective long-term representation from startup to maturity.
- Penn State Legal Clinics
- Penn State’s Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic:
The Entrepreneur Assistance Clinic (the “Eship Clinic”) provides services to PA-based start-ups and early-stage companies. The services vary with the development stage of the particular client. The most common services are the following:
- Business/entity formation
- Founder agreements
- Employee agreements and management
- Investor term sheets
- Regulatory compliance
- Penn State’s Intellectual Property Clinic:
- Trellis Template Library™ by Pitt Alumni Startup Trellis Legal
The Trellis Template Library™ is designed to empower you to tackle your basic business legal needs until you can afford an attorney. A Trellis Template is legal without the “legalese” and contains detailed comment boxes breaking down each paragraph so you not only know how to fill out your template, but understand it, and use it to better your business. Check out their FAQs for more info. Don’t see your need yet? Don’t worry, Trellis Legal is continually updating and releasing new templates as they grow!
Pitt Innovation Institute’s Inventor’s Guide
The Inventor’s Guide is a new resource that has been developed for Pitt inventors interested in learning more about how to navigate the commercialization process and provides information on:
- Protecting your invention
- Determining if it is ready for commercialization
- Choosing the best path to market
- Marketing your invention
- Creating a startup
- Partnering with an existing company
- … and more!
Pitt Library System’s Entrepreneurship Resources
Looking to dig into some research for your big idea? Check out Pitt Libraries’ entrepreneurship resources! They have tools to help you uncover trends and insights about various industries, companies, and consumers as well as provide helpful business planning templates! Not to mention, Pitt has their own Entrepreneurship Librarian who is a great resource to help students with their startup research activities!
Available to all Pitt students, faculty, and staff, the Pitt Makerspace is an invaluable resource for design and fabrication. They offer trainings, workshops, and seminars to foster a collaborative and creative environment. If interested in joining Pitt Makerspace, visit their website for more information on training and the onboarding process.
Pittsburgh Startup Resource List by Founder Institute Pittsburgh
The Steel City Startup Guide by Barry Rabkin
Wondering what all that the Pittsburgh startup community has to offer? Well look no further! Check out the Steel City Startup Guide created by Pittsburgh entrepreneur Barry Rabkin for one-stop shopping on all things startup-related within the city of Pittsburgh!
This guide includes:
- various startup job opportunities
- startup news
- startup networking events
- startup competitions
- startup services & supports (ex. legal, HR, marketing, etc.)
- startup funding resources
- and MUCH more!
Verizon’s “Starting a Home-Based Small Business: Tips, Ideas, and Resources” Digital Handbook
Verizon has created a supportive digital handbook, Starting a home-based small business: tips, ideas and resources, for new entrepreneurs who are interested in starting a business from the comfort of their own home.
- There are extensive benefits to owning your own business and working from home.
- Verizon’s digital handbook helps people turn their idea into a business by mapping out how to navigate the legalities of naming, registering, and licensing.
- It concludes with an extensive list of programs and resources aimed at supporting entrepreneurs and small business owners.
Venture for America
Venture For America (VFA) is creating economic opportunity in American cities by mobilizing the next generation of entrepreneurs and equipping them with the skills and resources they need to create jobs. Accepted Fellows will go through VFA’s 4-step process: finding a startup job, attend training camp, work at a startup or company, and start/lead at a company. VFA accepts rolling applications.
Sustainability Student Prototyping Grant Through Pitt Mascaro’s Center for Sustainable Innovation
SoGal Black Founder Startup Grant
SoGal Foundation provides several $10K and $5K cash grants to Black women or nonbinary entrepreneurs.
A free yearlong incubator program within the Pittsburgh region that equips entrepreneurs with the tools to launch, build, and grow a sustainable business.
Dorm Room Fund
Dorm Room Fund invests in student-run companies incorporated in the US. They do not require you to be raising a round. Dorm Room Fund companies range from having an initial idea to existing customer traction. Their standard investment is a $40,000 SAFE. Beyond a $40,000 check, all Dorm Room Fund community companies get access to a suite of resources, their founder community and investor network, and support services from their investment partners and HQ team members. Learn more about the application process here.
Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh Ventures Social Impact Investments
URA Ventures is an early stage, diversity-focused fund seeking to invest in companies within the City of Pittsburgh.
Their mission is to change the face of entrepreneurship and venture capital by making strategic investments and by accelerating access and availability to risk capital to historically disadvantaged small businesses, while spurring economic growth in the City of Pittsburgh.
URA Ventures has three investment opportunities available for these underserved small businesses to join:
- Main Street Ventures
- Main Street Businesses will revolve around a Revenue Base Financing, where capital will be deployed using URA Ventures’ model, betting on YoY / MoM growth. By taking a percentage of their POS/revenue URA Ventures is promoting long term strategic growth versus exit. This type of investment will be for true economic development and job creation, locally. URA Ventures will be investing on a character versus credit basis. (1x)
- Pittsburgh Entrepreneur Fund 2.0
- URA Ventures’ startup investments will be a revamp of their PEF FUND with the objective to invest in startups within the region or those looking to relocate have a satellite location in PGH. Their goal here is to invest in startups that cannot access typical institutional investments, or don’t have the collateral for a loan i.e angel investment, pre- seed, seed round (2-3x)
- Venture Capital Co-Investment
- URA Ventures’ Co-Investment thesis will allow them to invest with other Venture Capital firms or Funds, not only to be part of deal flow and offer Pittsburgh as a place to build these firms, but to have have higher returns during a 5 year period + diversify. (3-5x)
Foundr’s Free Training Series
Free training classes to help you start or grow your business. Learn useful and meaningful entrepreneurial content from world-renowned entrepreneurs!
Morning Brew’s “The Crazy Ones!” Podcast: A Podcast for Entrepreneurs by an Entrepreneur
The Crazy Ones! Hosts Alex Lieberman, Sophia Amoruso, and Jesse Pujji, will be delivering the sharpest insights and unfiltered opinions about the issues affecting founders today, and the information you need to know to build a better business. Episodes release every Tuesday.
“The World’s Most Interesting People” by Pitt Alum/Apex Health CEO Kunal Gandhi ’21
Kunal’s podcast features friends who have built amazing things. Many come from all walks of life. Many are entrepreneurs, creators, or closely related. His hope for the podcast is that it provides valuable information, stories, and inspiration for you to chase your dreams.