The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh is involved in hundreds of projects throughout the city. Considered Pittsburgh’s economic development agency, their goals are to create jobs, increase the city’s tax base, and improve the vitality of businesses, neighborhoods, and the city’s livability as a whole. Throughout its 71-year history they have constructed and rehabilitated tens of thousands of homes, reclaimed thousands of acres of contaminated brownfield and riverfront sites, and assisted hundreds of businesses in neighborhoods throughout its footprint.
One of the URA’s commitments is to provide equal opportunities for business growth and development to minority and female business owners. Through their Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program, their obligation is to advance equitable development by working with developers and other stakeholders to connect minority- and women-owned firms to capacity-building opportunities designed to increase the sustainability and success of MWBEs in the region. Serving as the URA’s centralized liaison with businesses and the public at-large concerning MWBE program matters, the program’s mission is to monitor minority and women inclusionary participation in URA-affiliated projects.
“We are looking at how to improve and how to help groups become more competitive. Our plan is to do more listening and to host more informative events to hear from MWBE firms to get to know one another,” said Robert Rubinstein, URA executive director, during a recent meet-and-greet event officially introducing their newly-appointed MWBE program officer, Diamonte Walker. “We are delighted to have Diamonte on our team. She knows community development and is ready to hit the ground running.”
Walker, with a career span of over 15 years in the for-profit sector and having recently served as a business development program manager in the non-profit sector, working with existing and startup business owners says she understands the complex challenges we face as a region when trying to effectuate meaningful change in neighborhoods. “This is an exciting time in Pittsburgh and I am elated and ready to get to work.”