Make + Matter one year in. Making sustainable fashion matter in Pittsburgh and beyond.

A little over one year ago, Pittsburgh-based designers Rebekah Joy, Kelly Simpson-Scupelli and Rona Chang planted a flag for sustainable fashion at 3711 Butler Street.

Supported by Kiva and Bridgeway Capital’s Craft Business Accelerator, the trio launched Make + Matter, a studio storefront dedicated to ethically produced crafts and fashion, in August of 2018.

“We really wanted to highlight all the incredible design that’s happening in Pittsburgh,” says Joy. “We wanted to present it together as a cohesive collection.”

Federal commission awards $8 million to boost economic development in coal regions of Pennsylvania

Sixty-five new businesses and 200 new jobs are expected to be created through a $1.22 million grant to Bridgeway Capital that will create the Western Pennsylvania Entrepreneur Diversification Fund. The grant and $5.6 million from private investments will fund counseling, business development workshops, a regional business incubator and provide grants to entrepreneurs.

$3 million in federal funds targeted for business initiatives and broadband in former coal regions

More than $3 million in federal funds have been awarded in Western Pennsylvania to boost entrepreneurship, economic development and broadband connections in areas severely impacted by the decline of the coal industry.

The funds are part of $44.4 million the Appalachian Regional Commission awarded through its POWER (Partnerships for Opportunity and Workforce and Economic Revitalization) grants program for projects that aim to create jobs and help redevelop communities.

Grants and recipients include:

Bridgeway Capital, a Pittsburgh nonprofit lender, $1.2 million for initiatives to help startups including business development workshops, counseling, a business incubator and small grants;...

New business resource center named for Homewood’s Sarah B. Campbell

They don’t name community centers just for anyone.

To have your name entrenched forever in history, you must have been a force in the community for decades. You must have been a visionary, a person people looked up to, a person people went to for advice, leadership, and life lessons. You must have sparked positive change for the community, whether it was in economic development or educational growth.
Sarah B. Campbell was all of the above

New business resource center in Homewood named for neighborhood activist

A new business resource center in Homewood will be named for a longtime social activist in the neighborhood who died last year.

Bridgeway Capital’s Sarah B. Campbell Enterprise Center will open in October at 7800 Susquehanna Street, a small business incubator and training facility.

The 2,100-square-foot enterprise center on the first floor of 7800 Susquehanna will provide educational services for startups, including information on funding. It will be open by appointment and also can be reserved for business meetings.

Bridgeway, a certified Community Development Financial Institution, provides investment funds and technical assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Western Pennsylvania.

‘Limbo’ land a fertile community resource for Somali Bantu farmers in Perry South

Bare Bule was the only farmer at the Mwanakuche Community Garden in Perry South one recent afternoon when an SUV pulled up, a woman got out and approached him. Residents sat on stoops of nearby townhouses.

“We want to help you sell your stuff,” Melodye Martin told Mr. Bule, speaking for her church congregation. “We want to volunteer to help you.” The garden has received support from the Buhl Foundation, Grow Pittsburgh and Bridgeway Capital. The soil tested safe for use, but the farmers amended it with compost.

Nisha Blackwell’s Knotzland store opens in Wilkinsburg

Knotzland, the fashion startup that makes hand-sewn bow ties from recycled fabrics, moved into its first stand-alone space over the weekend. Knotzland Bowties Studio & Showroom opened on Saturday on S. Trenton Ave. in Wilkinsburg, not far from its birthplace in Homewood.

The name Knotzland came to founder Nisha Blackwell in early 2016, while she was admiring the view of Homewood from her grandmother’s backyard. The company, launched in 2014, was originally called “Have Knotz” — a playful description of the startup’s neatly knotted bow ties that also served as a tribute to the neighborhood’s grit and resilience.

Rankin church winds back to life as Mary’s Vine wine lounge

The former Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary Catholic Church in Rankin — the big orange brick church on the hillside above that end of the blue Rankin Bridge — gets new life Friday when it opens as Mary’s Vine, a wine lounge.

They tried to raise a lot of money for the business from crowdfunding efforts, but that didn’t work, so the family financed everything themselves, only recently securing loans from Bridgeway Capital, the Enterprise Zone Corp. and Allegheny County Economic Development for what’s a nearly $2 million project. Mom, who is 58, and dad, who is 57, maxed out their credit cards and cashed out their retirement accounts.

How the thriving local restaurant scene feeds Pittsburgh’s maker movement

Irwin-Scott credits Bridgeway Capital and their MONMADE exhibitions for creating a network and laying the foundation for a vibrant maker economy.

In her view, the opening of the TRYP Hotel in Lawrenceville was a watershed moment for the Pittsburgh crafter economy. “It’s the first time in my memory of any of the restaurants and hotels that we’ve done where there’s been such a huge commitment to showcasing local work,” she says.

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