Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Navigator – Pittsburgh
About Forward Cities
Forward Cities is a national nonprofit equipping communities and regions to grow and sustain more equitable entrepreneurial ecosystems.
About the Pittsburgh Community Entrepreneurship Accelerator
Achieving equitable economic opportunity within a city requires dedicated effort and sustained commitment. To accelerate and sustain this effort, Forward Cities launched a 2.5 year-long capacity-building program, a CEA, in Pittsburgh. Together with a cross-sectoral council of entrepreneurial champions we placed a Local Director of Community Entrepreneurship as a trusted local project manager and facilitator in the city. Through a data-informed approach the decision was reached to focus on two neighborhood areas in the first phase of the work: the Hilltop neighborhood as well as Homewood, Larimer and western Wilkinsburg. To date we have mapped the local inclusive entrepreneurial ecosystem, surveyed entrepreneurs and aligned a diverse set of stakeholders on target outcomes and strategies. Among these strategies was the hiring of two Ecosystem Navigators, based in the two target neighborhood areas, who have served as the primary liaisons with entrepreneurs and resource providers on the ground, providing pathway support customized based on the needs, sector, and stage of the entrepreneurs.
Description of Role
The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Navigator serves as a referral and navigation specialist who connects aspiring entrepreneurs and existing business owners to a wide array of resources and services in the ecosystem, including resources and services that address emerging needs of businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. The work will be prioritized around engaging virtually with existing and aspiring entrepreneurs and getting them connected to local and regional resources, both regular and emergency, by using the tools provided by the Company and the Navigator’s own professional connections/network. All interactions with entrepreneurs must be tracked and relevant data collected in a manner consistent with the Company’s data policies and procedures. The work of the Navigator will be guided by appropriate Forward Cities staff members. The Navigator should have expertise and experience in serving local entrepreneurs, with a focus on individuals of color. Expected breakdown of work can reasonably be projected as 35% working directly with entrepreneurs and small businesses, 30% working with ESOs, 25% data tracking, digital platform management, and learning, 10% other activities.
Responsibilities include (but are not limited to):
Engagement with entrepreneurs & small businesses
- Utilize existing personal network as well as proactively reach out to entrepreneurs and small businesses of various stages/industries, as well as respond to incoming inquiries from local entrepreneurs and small businesses seeking support from across the broader Pittsburgh ecosystem;
- Conduct entrepreneur intake assessments (and follow-ups where appropriate) that are the mandatory first step before entrepreneurs can be referred and matched;
- Assess client needs and match entrepreneurs of varying stages (the clients) to entrepreneurial and small business resources;
- Perform research as needed when entrepreneurial need can not be satisfied within the E3 (Equitable Entrepreneur Ecosystem) network and report findings to Forward Cities’ Community Innovation team;
- Stay up to date about small business developments in the Pittsburgh ecosystem including new business launches, business challenges, gaps, businesses in need of support.
Engagement with ESOs (Entrepreneur Support Organizations)
- Maintain regular and consistent contact with ESOs who are members of the E3 network to keep them actively engaged in the navigator and referral process;
- Using the Entrepreneur Support Services Booklet as a starting point, conduct outreach to ESOs and organizations within the Pittsburgh ecosystem that provide services and support to entrepreneurs and small businesses to make appropriate referrals;
- Expand and maintain a working knowledge of entrepreneurial services and resources, entrepreneurial support organizations, small business development organizations and their programs and services in the Pittsburgh ecosystem and capture that knowledge in a database.
Data tracking, digital platform management, and learning
- Utilize SourceLink platform (or other assigned platform) and database(s) to track all interactions with entrepreneurs and ESOs as instructed by Forward Cities staff;
- Document services provided to clients and provide regular reporting about client referrals in aforementioned platform;
- Help train ESOs partnering with Forward Cities in the use of database(s) and assist in their use (as necessary);
- Produce reports for Forward Cities team including monthly reports with each invoice, recording all documented contacts, baseline intake forms completed by new clients, and ESO referrals made using SourceLink reports;
- Follow-up with clients and resource partners to ensure follow through on referral and quality assistance to entrepreneurs; this includes evaluation surveys for clients and resource partners that Forward Cities’ Research & Evaluation team designs;
- At the end of the engagement, follow up with all participants as needed to ensure they complete a follow up survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the program;
- Actively engage and share best practices and learnings with Forward Cities’ Community Innovation and Research & Evaluation teams.
- Participate in local entrepreneurial ecosystem events, convenings and networking opportunities (virtually and in person where appropriate) to promote and increase awareness of the Navigator service within the ecosystem, and to connect with entrepreneurs and service providers;
- Learn and model the Forward Cities values which promote vibrant, connected, and inclusive entrepreneurial communities;
- Support and partner with Forward Cities’ staff as needed;
The ideal candidate is/has/can:
- Local to or deeply familiar with the Pittsburgh entrepreneurial ecosystem;
- Able to maintain and build trust in the community;
- Understanding of the differences between coaching, consulting, mentoring and has a commitment to high levels of customer service;
- Familiarity (ideally first-hand experience) with the needs of current and aspiring entrepreneurs from different sectors and early growth stages;
- Ability to quickly learn the capabilities of the resource partners within the E3 network.
- Demonstrated skill and diplomacy in working with partners;
- Ability to effectively communicate both orally and in writing with a broad range of constituencies, can resolve complex problems where there are differences of opinion;
- Strong sense of initiative and self-motivation and ability to work independently as part of a remote team; organized, has attention to detail and effectively manages time; and
- Strong computer and software skills including Windows, Word, PowerPoint and Excel; ability to learn new applications and complex features as needed.
Professional & Academic Qualifications:
- 5+ years of work experience – with relevant experience in entrepreneurship, project management and community facilitation
- Bachelor’s Degree and/or relevant professional training is helpful but not required.
- And/or combination of relevant education and experience
Hours & Compensation:
- Work hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with some possible evening/weekend hours.
- Part-time 10-14 hours per week.
- Compensation is $30.00 per hour.
- This is a temporary position through December 2020; however, there is potential to extend beyond that date if additional funding is secured.
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.