New Growth Potential in Pittsburgh with E3 Alliance and Relationships
What is the E3 Alliance?
The Equitable Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Alliance (E3 Alliance) of Greater Pittsburgh, is a new organization that serves as the coordinating body for Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurial ecosystem, working to 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 strategies aligned with shared outcomes to ensure the long-term sustainability of this work in the Pittsburgh ecosystem. The E3 Alliance was launched earlier this Spring out of Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI) located in Pittsburgh’s North Shore.
Where is Forward Cities Going Now?
The Pittsburgh engagement is ending, but that doesn’t mean Forward Cities will close the book on the city. Instead, they’ll start a new chapter. After a successful engagement with the entrepreneurs and innovators in Pittsburgh, Forward Cities will continue to provide resources and stay connected in the region through the new E3 Alliance, led by executive director, Vernard Alexander.
The purpose of this transition is to create space locally to implement an infrastructure for collective action and impact that can be sustained for years to come. Where necessary, Forward Cities will continue to be involved in key projects, pilots, and designated outputs that were outlined in the 2019 Forward Cities grant, establishing sustainability plans.
Q&A with Hassan Bazzi: The Next Generation in Small Business Growth in Pittsburgh
Forward Cities' Director of Community Innovation Hassan Bazzi
Q: Forward thinking: What do you foresee in Pittsburgh's future in small business and up-and-coming innovation hub?
A: We’ve learned over the last year the importance of an e-commerce presence to a business’s survival. In addition, a business must remain agile and quickly pivot to withstand economic shocks such as the one we faced as a result of the pandemic.
There has been a lot of intention in Pittsburgh around inclusive entrepreneurship and supporting small business, particularly those run by Black entrepreneurs. Cross-sector stakeholders have been working together to align strategies and develop sustainability plans and models that focus on access to capital, strengthening the capacity of entrepreneur support organizations, the establishment of a guiding organization that services as a convener in the ecosystem, addressing regulatory and permitting barriers faced by entrepreneurs as they prepare to launch or grow their business, increasing access to procurement opportunities, commercial corridor strategy, and increasing the cultural competence of entrepreneur support organizations.
After the engagement ends, Pittsburgh is still part and parcel of the Forward Cities network with all of the benefits. With investment from RCI and the E3 Alliance, more of the city’s entrepreneur ecosystem will live in the region. This is an ultimate goal for many of our cities, and we know Pittsburgh will continue to do well in the future.
Q: How will Forward Cities be connected in Pittsburgh after the engagement officially ends?
A: A major benefit to a community engaged with Forward Cities is being connected with other communities in our network and sharing learnings across communities. In addition, since its inception, Forward Cities has held an annual national conference that attracts hundreds of crossector leaders from over 40 communities around the country. These crossector leaders include entrepreneurs, entrepreneur champions and supporters, ecosystem builders, community organizers, philanthropy, as well as local government and economic development leaders. These diverse stakeholders come together to reflect, share ideas and innovative practices from their communities. They learn from each other and get to hear about innovative practices from across the field of ecosystem building. In fact the The Forward Cities’ 2019 National Conference “Advancing Inclusive Entrepreneurship” was held from June 12 – 14th in Pittsburgh.