From E-fabrics and clocks crafted from recycled materials to pet backscratchers and vegan soaps, local teen entrepreneurs are learning to build and brand unique businesses, and thanks to Startable Pittsburgh, they are accessing opportunities and expertise they might otherwise never have.
“Our goal is to provide access to resources while encouraging more young people, especially those traditionally underrepresented in the field, to consider starting a business and/or pursuing a career in skilled trades,” said Program Coordinator Jackie Shimshoni.
Now beginning its fourth year, Startable Pittsburgh is a free eight-week summer program developed by Innovation Works for teens aged 16-18 to learn entrepreneurship and maker skills, in order to start their own businesses.
The program mentors students to develop, design, prototype, build, brand, market and sell products of their own creation by partnering with local retailers. Students earn a program stipend and keep all profits from the sale of their products. While anyone is welcome to apply, it prioritizes minority and female applicants.
And just in time for the Jan. 1 opening of its 2017 application season, Startable Pittsburgh has received a $150,000 grant from the BYN Mellon Foundation of Southwestern PA to sustain and grow its programming.