Resources for Black Entrepreneurs

Healthy Soul 5-3-1

Here at the Big Idea Center, we believe that entrepreneurship is for everyone. In support and observance of Black History Month, we're providing this helpful list of resources for Black entrepreneurs as a way to help connect them to organizations and programs that are known to support minority-owned businesses throughout the region! Please view our non-exhaustive directory below:

1. Cocoapreneur Pgh




"Founded by Khamil Scantling in February 2018, the mission of Cocoapreneur is to foster an environment of economic prosperity in order to ensure more sustainable neighborhoods for the historically African American communities and neighborhoods around Pittsburgh, PA. Through support to businesses via advertising, marketing and consulting, Cocoapreneur aims to normalize the idea of entrepreneurship. We want to make becoming a business owner a more feasible and attainable goal for African Americans in the greater Pittsburgh area."

Learn More About Cocoapreneur Pgh



2. Black Girls CODE

Black Girls CODE

"Black Girls CODE is devoted to showing the world that black girls can code, and do so much more. By reaching out to the community through workshops and after school programs, Black Girls CODE introduces computer coding lessons to young girls from underrepresented communities in programming languages such as Scratch or Ruby on Rails. Black Girls CODE has set out to prove to the world that girls of every color have the skills to become the programmers of tomorrow. By promoting classes and programs, we hope to grow the number of women of color working in technology and give underprivileged girls a chance to become the masters of their technological worlds. Black Girls CODE's ultimate goal is to provide African-American youth with the skills to occupy some of the 1.4 million computing job openings expected to be available in the U.S. by 2020, and to train 1 million girls by 2040."

Learn More About Black Girls CODE



3. Black Tech Nation

Black Tech Nation

"Black Tech Nation (//BTN) is a multi-faceted tech organization building a #DigitalWakanda through education, digital media, recruitment, and funding for Black technologists and entrepreneurs. Headquartered in Pittsburgh, PA, //BTN serves as a dedicated space for Black technologists across America and beyond. Together, we are 650+ “Black Tech Unicorns” – tech professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, innovators, and enthusiasts – and over 600 allies, partners, and tech equity supporters. Our main work consists of uplifting Black technologists, educating and supporting our members, creating employment and funding opportunities, providing access to the “right people” in the industry, producing digital events and workshops, and advocating for tech equity across our industry. Through our motto “Gather. Connect. Affect.”, we aim to work with company partners and //BTN members to create and grow a thriving ‘Black Tech Nation’ that focuses on the advancement of the Black community throughout our global innovation economy."

Learn More About Black Tech Nation




4. National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE)


"The National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) is one of the largest student governed organizations in the world. We have birthed hundreds of businesses, trained thousands or corporate leaders, graduated tens of thousands of engineers, and engaged hundreds of thousands of K-12 students in STEM education over our 47 year history, both nationally and abroad. In short, NSBE members, chapters, and supporters are dedicated to increasing the number of culturally responsible Black Engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community."

Learn More About NSBE

Contact Sossena Wood, Previous NSBE National Chairperson



5. SYLA Pgh


"SYLA Pgh curates opportunities and platforms where underrepresented artists and entrepreneurs can thrive through consulting and content curation. SYLA's goal is to tackle socio-economic issues through local arts and culture promotions."

Learn More About SYLA Pgh

Contact Samantha Black, CEO of SYLA Pgh




6. Community Forge


"Our mission is to build an equitable economy for Wilkinsburg and the Greater Pittsburgh region by creating opportunities that promote professional development, financial wellbeing, and entrepreneurial growth. We believe in participatory programming that gives voice to those we serve, breaking down silos between communities, and developing equitable pathways to economic success.

Our four main pillars include:

    1. Youth EmpowermentBringing together organizations and programs to create spaces for youth to explore, define, and pursue their own interests.
    2. Community CollaborationDeveloping networks and breaking down silos between Wilkinsburg residents and surrounding communities to build new projects and opportunities.
    3. Organizational Incubation - Supporting individuals and small organizations with dreams in arts, youth programming, and technology to find sustainability in their initiatives.
    4. Neighborhood Wellbeing - Working together with Wilkinsburg residents to strengthen the growth and prosperity of local families, entrepreneurs, artists, and makers."

Learn More about Community Forge




7. Honeycomb Credit


honeycomb credit logo


"Honeycomb Credit is a web-based platform that allows small business owners to borrow loans from their own customers and community. We recognized that many great local business owners struggle to get access to small growth capital loans for their businesses while many individuals are looking for ways to invest locally in causes and companies they believe in – Honeycomb connects these two groups through our platform to build communities one small business at a time."

Learn More About Honeycomb Credit

8. Riverside Center for Innovation

riverside center for innovation

"We’re a nonprofit company that is breaking barriers for disadvantaged businesses by serving as a single point of contact for minority, women, veterans and other business owners seeking information to start, sustain and grow their business. Our services help pre-venture, startup and existing businesses acquire the tools they need to break down the barriers that may impede their growth."

Learn More About the Riverside Center for Innovation




9. University of Pittsburgh's Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE)




"The Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE), part of the University of Pittsburgh’s Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, has served businesses throughout Western Pennsylvania for more than 25 years. Offering a dynamic mix of consulting, education, and networking opportunities, the IEE strives to be an innovative leader in economic development in the region.

The IEE includes four centers:

    1. The Small Business Development Center - a resource for small business owners that provides consulting, workshops, and other specialty business-building support at all stages of the business lifecycle.
    2. The Urban & Community Entrepreneurship Program - a program that advances entrepreneurship in underserved and moderate income communities and to help business leaders of today and tomorrow prosper. The focus of the Urban and Community Entrepreneurship Program is to help foster economic empowerment by investing in one individual, one job, and one business at a time.
    3. The Entrepreneurial Fellows Class - a competitive, yearlong certificate program open to CEOs, founders, and business leaders looking to enhance their knowledge and expertise in managing and growing their businesses. 
    4. PantherlabWorks - the commercialization center of the Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) at the University of Pittsburgh which assists startups and business owners in the Pittsburgh region by providing product development-based consulting, educational workshops, and networking opportunities.

Learn More About the IEE

Contact the IEE



10. Bridgeway Capital


bridgeway capital logo


"For over three decades, we have been at the forefront of community development as a leader in supporting equitable projects that create thriving communities.

Bridgeway was founded in 1990 to combat injustices and advance opportunity in communities devastated by disinvestment and lack of viable jobs. We believe that mission-driven lending can transform underserved areas by making capital and support resources accessible to those denied economic opportunity. Our collective investments in people help them grow businesses that provide quality jobs and reactivate real estate to develop vibrant communities where all can prosper."

Learn More About Bridgeway Capital




11. Catapult: Startup to Storefront


"Catapult: Startup to Storefront is a nine-month business incubation strategy for minority and women entrepreneurs who want to start a business and existing businesses that want to grow. Gallery on Penn is a storefront space each participant has access to for selling and developing their product and reach in the community. This space benefits not only the business owners but is beneficial to the entire East Liberty community.


One-on-one mentoring consultations, educational seminars, and local strategic partnerships are designed to help companies achieve sustainable success. Each business graduates the program with a working business plan. Catapult: Startup to Storefront is a partnership of ELDI, Circles East Liberty, The Urban Redevelopment Authority, Paramount Co-Op, and Larimer Consensus Group."

Learn More About Catapult: Startup to Storefront