By embedding young technology and socially innovative entrepreneurs in underserved neighborhoods — a social consciousness emerges — one that might remain untapped inside an insulated tech environment , industrial park, or behind a university lab door.
Located in the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone, right smack dab in the middle, between Oakland and downtown, the building sits at 1936 Fifth Avenue. An energizing walk or bike ride to the Cultural District, or the Cathedral of Learning at the University of Pittsburgh, or across the Birmingham Bridge to the South Side Works, makes Uptown an ideal attraction for youthful business entrepreneurs and residents. Access to public transportation and major highways — north, south, east or west — and proximity to Carnegie Mellon and Duquesne Universities, University of Pittsburgh, and river trails for hiking and biking along the Second Avenue technology strip — makes StartUptown very user-friendly.
PCKIZ startup entrepreneurs want to contribute.
By working and living in Uptown, they add not only vitality — like jogging at the end of a long day; spur growth — like a new coffee shop; or participate like Janet Stout as co-president of the Board of Uptown Partners. [ Janet is director of Special Pathogens Lab ] They are engaging us in conversations about how they can help make change through social innovation.
CONNECTS entrepreneurial spirits with links to community participation and revitalization.; and the benefits of the Pittsburgh Keystone Innovation Zone.
BUILDS architectural environments that are open and creative; adapted from existing community resources when possible; and integrated into the vision and development plans of the Hill/Uptown community.
COLLABORATES with other Uptown developers and organizations to provide living and working environments at below market rates — to encourage the success of their projects and to help scale our mission. We encourage and promote green practices and community energy independence.
ENVISIONS an urban campus where businesses can grow and commit to remaining in Pittsburgh for a longer term, where corporate and community cultures thrive side-by-side, and where the benefits produced by this cluster of businesses create economic prosperity for the companies in the cluster, the underserved communities surrounding the cluster, and the residents of those communities.
PROMOTES neighborhood well-being alongside business work environments large enough to support and retain business growth beyond an incubation period. StartUptown residents foster community growth as adjacent business activity and amenities like coffee shops, grocery, restaurants and other service amenities spring up to support the increased community populations.
AIDS in the relocation of interested businesses and residents to the Hill/Uptown community, and directs them to local agencies that can provide benefits and other incentives; to help facilitate and promote the advantages of their relocation.
StartUptown was born out of this energizing range of criteria and the understanding that:
1.) a “place to work” should inspire both the entrepreneur and his/her clients
2.) it should provide workplace essentials and a “coolness” factor at very little cost and financial commitment to the entrepreneur — like a month-month-only lease commitment that includes “everything”
3.) architectural layout that provides extreme flexibility and room for growth. It was a nurturing niche that was largely unfilled for very early stage startups in urban Pittsburgh during this critical early stage of their business development.
It was StartUptown’s immersion in this challenging activity along with the development challenges of Uptown itself that prompted the vision of a much larger campus of activity. And the insight that in a larger world that was beset with economic challenges at all levels — both startup business and community development might be served at the same time.
Why it’s important for young entrepreneurs to understand economic development…
Entrepreneurial youth has simply “grown up” with Internet access and digital versions of tools once only in the domain of the trades. They are able — as all of us — to participate in the “creative” experience — but they are decidedly out there, online, in this brave new world, sharing their idea of themselves — altering the ways we connect with each other, to risk the path of self-employment or create meaningful employment for others — redefining research, politics, business, and ethics — the movement of money; the democratization of manufacturing; sorting and configuring data in more and more meaningful ways. These new knowledge entrepreneurs will jump-start sustainable economies that engage both sides of the brain. The industriousness of right livelihood can drive the marketplace as we shop for self-discovery in a decidedly cooperative rather than competitive environment.
However, an enlightened process or outcome doesn’t fully occur inside an insulated tech environment, industrial park, or behind a university lab door — maturation of understanding, the building of a whole, sophisticated, problem-solving entrepreneur alongside his business plan, requires daily coupling with real-world environmental conditions. Those might include appreciation of our region’s industrial past and the benefits that accrued; or awareness for the plight of thousands of communities in vivid states of deterioration and main-street abandonment, alongside infrastructure and job opportunity deterioration over the past thirty-plus years.
Innovation matters when its connected with community well-being.