Black entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh can find it tough to navigate this challenging landscape. I’ve been a mompreneur in Pittsburgh for over a decade and still find it challenging in a city that often ignores the needs of African-American people. As a first-time, first generation entrepreneur, I’ve had to lean on many of the resources listed below to find my way and build bridges to funding, other professionals and the skills and knowledge I needed to grow Brown Mamas.
Here is a list of programs, professional networks and funding opportunities that cater to Black entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh.
Funding & Grants
- Black Girl Ventures – Provide Black/Brown woman-identifying founders with access to community, capital, and capacity building.
- Hello Alice – Hello Alice is a free online platform that helps small businesses launch and grow. It provides knowledge, funding, networks, and peer-to-peer connections.
- The Progress Fund’s Business Lending Program – Provides financial support to entrepreneurs in underserved areas.
- Bridgeway Capital’s African American Business Fund – Specifically aims to fund Black business owners in Pittsburgh.
- Neighborhood Community Development Funds – The Neighborhood Community Development Fund is a neighborhood-focused community loan fund that helps underserved populations by providing capital to spur business and job growth, the creation of affordable housing, and the redevelopment of Allegheny County neighborhoods.
- IFundWomen – A debt-free, low risk way for Black women founders to raise capital.
Mentorship & Networking
- Greenwood Week – A touring networking event designed for Black female entrepreneurs.
- African American Chamber of Commerce – Their mission is to promote access and business opportunities for African American business owners and professionals throughout the region.
- Professional Women’s Network – Focuses on the professional development and networking of women in Pittsburgh.
- Entrepreneurs Forever: I joined an Entrepreneurs Forever group in 2023 and it provided some deeper connection with other small business owners as well as an outlet for the day-to-day struggles of entrepreneurship.
- PA Women Work – Pennsylvania Women Work is a nonprofit workforce development organization dedicated to helping individuals find financial stability.
- Beauty Shoppe – Offers special rates and an inclusive environment for minority women entrepreneurs.
- The Salon – A space to learn, grow and connect with brilliant women in Pittsburgh
- Coterie Company – Women-focused co-working space with an array of mentorship programs.
- Emerald City Co-Working Space – Serves as a community hub for Black professionals and creatives in Pittsburgh.
- Chatham’s Women’s Business Center – Provides resources and mentorship for women looking to start or grow their businesses.
- Ascender Pittsburgh – Incubation space offering tailored programs and investment opportunities.
- Catapult Pittsburgh – Aimed at equipping minority entrepreneurs with the skills for long-term business sustainability.
- Innovation Works – One of the active seed-stage investors in the region offering both funds and mentorship.
- Riverside Center for Innovation – Provides a comprehensive entrepreneurial support system, focusing on minorities and women.
- University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Entrepreneurial Excellence – Offers a range of business courses, networking opportunities, and funding resources.
Training & Workshops
- Ureeka Community – An online platform offering courses and mentorship for minority women entrepreneurs.
- CWE Women-Owned Business Certification – Helps women entrepreneurs get certified as a women-owned business.
- Greenwood Week in Pittsburgh – A week-long event that includes workshops, networking, and panels for Black entrepreneurs.