PITTSBURGH, PA (September 24, 2019) The Catapult: Start-Up to Storefront Program launched its second cohort earlier this month. Directed by Circles Greater Pittsburgh, and supported by a $150,000 grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh, Catapult is a 12-month business incubation program for entrepreneurs who want to start a business, or existing businesses looking to grow.
“Catapult is a great program that shows the City of Pittsburgh’s commitments to inclusive growth and the revitalization of neighborhood main streets and business districts,” Mayor William Peduto said.
Of the nearly 70 entrepreneurs that applied to participate in this year’s cohort, 15 minority-owned startup and early-stage businesses were chosen to complete the program:
• I.T’s 4 Me: information technology systems
• Zuri Beads: jewelry design and creation
• Gentleman Brand: leather crafting
• The Art of Natiq: artist
• Minnie and Me, LLC.: personalized design
• Flowers Designs: wedding stationary and design
• Elated Culture: men's streetwear
• Lavish Lamb: hair accessories
• Clean and Classy Candle Co.: artisan candle making
• Happysac412: medical marijuana accessories
• The Covering: clothing designer
• RoyallyFit LLC: fitness apparel and lifestyle products
• Soil Sisters Plant Nursery: urban gardening and education
• It’s Amore by Amari: women's apparel
• Mele’s Party Planning: specialty party favors and gifts
The businesses will be given the opportunity to locate within the Gallery on Penn, Catapult’s dedicated retail incubation space on Penn Avenue in East Liberty. The Gallery on Penn is a partnership between East Liberty Development Inc. (ELDI) and Circles Greater Pittsburgh to provide a cost-effective space for the entrepreneurs to learn and develop their businesses.
Paramount Co-op, an incubator and coworking space, will be working with the businesses over the next 12 months through one-on-one mentoring and programming focused on marketing, finance, and business structure.
In January 2019, 12 businesses graduated from the first Catapult cohort.
“After the first cohort showed interest in preparing for retail business, Catapult deepened its commitment to the participants by extending the program from nine to 12 months,” said Tammy Thompson, executive director of Circles Greater Pittsburgh and director of the Catapult program. “This program is designed to set entrepreneurs up for success.”
The Catapult team is also working on expanding the program to additional neighborhoods in 2020 and 2021, as well as potentially developing a food-industry focused cohort.
“We’re excited to welcome the second cohort to the program. Working with our partners, our hope is to scale the retailer-in-residence model across the City to ensure diverse entrepreneurs have catalytic support in both emerging and strong markets," URA Deputy Director Diamonte Walker said.