Collaborators in Equitable Ecosystem Building

Forward Cities is fortunate to have a growing number of funding and ecosystem building partners to help us deepen and expand our work.

Forward Cities offers several opportunities to move your community forward. From long-term engagements to ABIDE training sessions, we have comprehensive solutions designed to build or strengthen your entrepreneurial ecosystem.


Over the past several years,  a group of cross-sector stakeholders in Pittsburgh has worked with the national nonprofit organization Forward Cities to strengthen the region’s equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem.  A central strategy for this work, reinforced by a recent regional equitable economic recovery strategic planning process is the launch of a “guiding organization”.  

Tentatively named the Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Alliance (E3 Alliance) of Greater Pittsburgh, the organization will serve as the coordinating body for Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurial ecosystem and foster a culture of equity for every entrepreneur. The organization will lead and synchronize a diverse group of stakeholders in the development and implementation of an agreed upon set of strategies aligned with shared outcomes to ensure the long term sustainability of this work in the ecosystem. 

The E3 Alliance of Greater Pittsburgh is now looking for a Director to lead this effort.  

Description of Role:

As the leader of the E3 Alliance, the Director should be a social entrepreneur possessing a relevant professional experience with developing and delivering entrepreneurial support programming, as well as a familiarity with and a passion for fostering action-oriented collaborative networks within the Pittsburgh region.   

The position will be housed within Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI), and will report directly to RCI’s Executive Director and be supported by Forward Cities The Director will work closely with local partners and cross-sector stakeholders in Pittsburgh including entrepreneur support organizations, entrepreneurs, philanthropy, community leaders, local government, economic and community development organizations. The position is funded via philanthropic support from local foundations. 

Job responsibilities include but are not limited to:
  • Serving as a connector in and between various groups of entrepreneur support organizations, entrepreneurial stakeholders, and local entrepreneurs; Supporting the local E3 (Equitable Entrepreneur Ecosystem) Network, a network of Pittsburgh based entrepreneur support organizations  by convening current members, identifying future members, and aligning them around a shared vision and strategy for Pittsburgh’s equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem; 
  • Convene cross-sector community and civic leaders across the city/region to help advance ongoing understanding and support for leveraging the assets and addressing the gaps of the city’s equitable entrepreneurial ecosystem 
  • Serving as lead project manager for all agreed upon deliverables including: engaging and coordinating local partners to support the research and evaluation, strategic planning, and implementation work; Identifying and amplifying important stories emerging from the work in partnership with local media partners; 
  • Building awareness of and support for the work among local and regional partners and stakeholders including fundraising to meet the budget needs of the E3 Alliance and increasing funding support for the broader ESO network;
  • Helping to develop and convene a Steering Committee of diverse stakeholders that acts as a governance advisory board for the E3 Alliance. Emerging lessons learned from the local work for sharing with the broader Forward Cities Community - and bringing promising practice information from the national field back to the Pittsburgh community;
  • Managing the organization’s budget and, once sufficient funds are raised, building the E3 Alliance’s team to manage the functional responsibilities of the organization and deepen/broaden the impact of the E3 Alliance and the broader ecosystem; and
  • Addressing additional needs through entrepreneurial thinking and opportunities as they arise consistent with the mission of advancing inclusive entrepreneurial supports locally and regionally.
  • Build and develop a team within the E3 Alliance as well with collaborative stakeholders partners.  
The ideal candidate is/has:
  • Local to or deeply familiar with the community;
  • Able to maintain and build trust in the community;
  • An experienced ecosystem builder engaged with the local innovation economy and its important contributors;
  • A strong and trusted facilitator - especially across diverse constituencies;
  • A well-organized project manager with demonstrated management experiences, attention to detail, and effective time management skills;
  • An entrepreneurial spirit with experience growing a new venture, and building a team;
  • Demonstrated budget management and fundraising experience;
  • A strong collaborator and strategic thinker; and
  • An ability to learn and model the values which promote vibrant, connected, and inclusive entrepreneurial communities. 
Professional & Academic Qualifications:
  • 10+ years of work experience - with at least 3 years of Director level and/or project management experience.  Relevant experience in entrepreneurship, ecosystem building, project management, and community facilitation
  • Bachelor’s Degree 
  • And/or combination of relevant education and management/executive experience
Reporting Authority

The Director E3 Alliance of Pittsburgh will report directly to the Executive Director of Riverside Center for Innovation.,The E3 Alliance of Pittsburgh will be located within the RCI.  Workspace will be provided at RCI.  Work will include a combination of in-the-office, in-the-field, remote, and may include working with distributed teams.    

Professional Development Support: 

The Director E3 Alliance of Pittsburgh will receive support from the Forward Cities team, including access to shared learning, best practices, as well as:

  • Access to key cross-sector stakeholders and decision-makers within the city to help support the success of the work;
  • A robust network of peers, partners, and supporters locally, regionally, and nationally dedicated to the work of inclusive innovation and economic development in under-connected communities across the national Forward Cities network. 
Salary Range & Benefits

$65,000 - $75,000 depending on education and experience - includes full benefits (PTO, parental leave, group health plan/health insurance stipend, life insurance, telecommunication stipend, and 403(b) plan participation after 90 days with the organization). 

To Apply, Visit Our Application Portal

Forward Cities provides equal employment opportunities to all employees and applicants for employment and prohibits discrimination and harassment of any type without regard to race, color, religion, age, sex, national origin, disability status, genetics, protected veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other characteristic protected by federal, state or local laws. This policy applies to all terms and conditions of employment, including recruiting, hiring, placement, promotion, termination, layoff, leaves of absence, compensation, and training.


Forward Cities is seeking applications for a temporary (six-month) full-time Research Assistant to join our team.

Forward Cities is a national leader in developing and applying research tools that support communities to better understand the inner workings of their entrepreneurial ecosystems. We’ve created a suite of assessment and evaluation tools that have been applied in communities around the country. Most notably, these research tools include the Entrepreneur Support Organization Survey, and the Survey of Entrepreneurs. Evidence gathered through the application of the tools has helped local stakeholders better understand entrepreneurship in their community, including to whom entrepreneurship is inaccessible and what actions need to be taken to enhance equity in entrepreneurial opportunities for underserved communities. 

Start date: November 30, 2020

STATUS: Full-Time Temporary

This position is currently funded for 6 months with the potential for additional funding to extend the temporary position to 12 months. 

REPORTING RELATIONSHIP: Reports to Senior Research Staff




The Research Assistant will primarily support the research team in the deployment of our primary data collection tools, including both the Survey of Entrepreneurs and the Entrepreneur Support Organization Survey, and the production of data visualizations for all of our data sources. The position will also support the preparation of outgoing reports for various audiences including local project funders and key stakeholders, individual Entrepreneur Support Organizations, and public presentation of key indicators in data dashboards.


  • A strong understanding of systemic racism and inequities in the United States
  • A demonstrated commitment to the mission and work of Forward Cities 
  • Highly motivated with a desire to learn
  • Ability to communicate data to internal and public audiences
  • Proficient in Google Suite, specifically Google Docs and Sheets
  • Strong verbal and written skills
  • Bachelor's degree in related field plus 2 years of experience OR Master’s degree in related field
  • Comfortable learning new technology/software for data analysis and visualization
  • Preferred qualifications: research experience, experience with survey administration and management, software: Tableau, Qualtrics


Ability to work independently in a remote work environment


Forward Cities is a national nonprofit equipping communities and regions to grow and sustain more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems.


To be considered for this opportunity, please submit your application, including a cover letter and resume/CV, to the Director of Research and Evaluation, Dr. Stacey Williams using the form linked below. 

Submit your application for the Research Assistant 

Please submit your application by November 10th. The application portal may remain open if we are still taking applications after that time.