PG&H: How a major maker movement got started in Pittsburgh

"It also provided the spark that initiated the Craft Business Accelerator, started by Bridgeway Capital to create and nurture relationships between real estate developers and local craft businesses and makers. The goal was to help boost the local economy while raising awareness of local makers, from woodworkers and ceramicists to glass artists and candle makers, and plenty more."

Our view: Bridgeway loans fuel inclusion

"As Rink reported, since 2012, Pittsburgh-based Bridgeway has made 76 loans totaling $12 million to Erie County entrepreneurs like Heidelberg. He used a $15,000 loan from Bridgeway’s Urban Enterprise Fund to open his Dapper Don’s Styling Lounge in a vacant storefront at West 26th and Peach streets and Bridgeway provided him technical support from experts who helped ensure his success. "

Community Kitchen Pittsburgh gives those who have been down a path up

Shamaya Davis aspires to own a restaurant. Her nine-year-old daughter just wants to see mommy compete on the TV series “MasterChef.” Davis is on her way to making both of those dreams a reality as she prepares to graduate from Community Kitchen Pittsburgh (CKP), a nonprofit organization that gives disenfranchised people culinary arts training while helping them find stable employment in the food service industry.

“Literally everything in my life has fallen into place since I walked in the door,” a teary-eyed Davis says of the program. “Something new happens every day.”

Students attend classes on weekdays for 12 weeks at the Hazelwood facility. From 8 a.m. to 3 p.m., they learn everything from basic knife skills and recipes for “mother sauces” to high-volume cooking and sanitation. Using those skills, they prepare up to 2,000 contracted meals per day for local charities, schools and businesses. About 70 percent of CKP participants have previously been incarcerated.

Pittsburgh fashion game-changers and trends to watch in 2019

Mentorship: National media have sometimes turned up their noses at Pittsburgh fashion (We’re looking at you GQ circa 2011). But that hasn’t stopped the city’s style savvy from proudly promoting the ’Burgh’s burgeoning fashion scene...The trade group MONMADE, which helps Pittsburgh-bred brands grow strategically and effectively, also has helped make the city’s maker scene bigger and better. Watch for even more initiatives like these in 2019.

$5 million fund will help minority business owners in Erie

Perry Wood, executive director of the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority, sees a couple problems when he looks at a minority-owned business like Learning Ladder Early Childhood Education, located in the 2500 block of Peach Street. The first problem is there aren’t enough businesses like it. He said statistics show that minorities in Erie County own businesses at less than half the national rate. The other problem, he said, is that Learning Ladder’s owners, like so many other small businesses, face challenges finding money to finance their ventures.

In a joint announcement made Monday with Bridgeway Capital, ECGRA announced a plan to address both concerns by launching the Erie Inclusive Fund, a $5 million fund to encourage minority entrepreneurship.Wood said ECGRA is contributing $2.5 million to establish the low-interest loan fund that will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Pittsburgh-based Bridgeway Capital.

ECGRA and Bridgeway Capital invests $5 million in minority entrepreneurs

YOUR ERIE - It's a groundbreaking investment that will help minority businesses in Erie county shatter glass ceilings. Officials from ECGRA and Bridgeway Capital announced the Erie Inclusive Fund, a $5 million program that wants to elevate minority businesses in our area. This investment will support the expansion of the successful Erie Urban Entrepreneur Program.

Erie Inclusive Fund Launched

After a successful pilot program, the Erie County Gaming Revenue Authority and Bridgeway Capital unveiled a $5 million investment fund to spark minority entrepreneurship in Erie County. Surrounded by local and state officials, they launched the Erie Inclusive Fund Monday at Learning Ladder Early Childhood Education Center. It's a growing, minority-owned business started by Kenya and Sean Johnson in the former Forward Hall building on Peach Street. Learning Ladder, which benefited from a loan, is the kind of business ECGRA and Bridgeway hope to grow. They are investing half of the loan fund in minority-owned businesses over the next three years.

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