Pitt Creates Program for Urban Entrepreneurs

Plus, St. Vincent completes its labyrinth and a CCAC student finishes third on 'Top Chef.'

Pitt program will strive to sustain inner-city business
The University of Pittsburgh hopes to keep more “Open” signs lighting urban storefronts and has figured out a way to accomplish that. Pitt’s Institute for Entrepreneurial Excellence (IEE) has developed the Urban Power to Prosper certificate program to share survival tactics with small businesses that are beyond the start-up phase but aren't in a position of sustainable growth just yet. Starting Oct. 19, local entrepreneurs can begin the nine-month program designed to help them master the tricks of the trade.

When establishing the curriculum, the IEE worked with Boston-based Interise, a nonprofit organization that created the “StreetWise Steps to Small Business Growth.” That award-winning education program is designed to help owners “work ‘on’ their business instead of ‘in’ it.” Adopting the program’s basic framework, the IEE then personalized courses and concepts to uniquely relate to Pittsburgh. The three-hour-long, intermittent Wednesday night sessions will cover topics centered on plans for development and longevity (as opposed to day-to-day business operations), such as access to capital and to new markets, sales strategies and human resource management.

Chris Kush, associate director of the IEE, called the new program a “win-win for everyone,” proposing that it would stimulate not only the enrolled businesses, but also the communities they serve, generating wealth for future generations. To be eligible, a business must have been established for at least three years in one of Pittsburgh's inner-city neighborhoods, have full-time employees and produce at least $300,000 in revenue. Let the gains begin!
—Richelle Szypulski, PM Editorial Intern

St. Vincent labyrinth created to encourage contemplation
As campuses build and advance, it sometimes seems that one thing gets left by the wayside: a place to actually, you know, think about something. St. Vincent is out to change that. The college recently completed its labyrinth, a paved outdoor walking path located in the center of campus. This meditative spot “offers the opportunity for spiritual reflection with peaceful results,” says Saint Vincent Wellness Center director Mary Alice Armour, R.N. Don’t worry about getting lost as you stroll, though; not only are there no walls, there is only one path through the labyrinth. And if you’re not close enough to St. Vincent to enjoy this haven for reflection, there’s always the movie and boardgame."
—Sean Collier, PM Associate Editor

CCAC student finishes strong on “Hell’s Kitchen”
It’s not the sort of ranking we normally cover in Great Minds, but impressive nonetheless: Pittsburgh native and CCAC student Elise Wims finished in third place on the recently completed ninth season of “Hell’s Kitchen.” The Fox reality show pits aspiring chefs against maniacal, bombastic chef Gordon Ramsay. Wims’ take-charge attitude in the kitchen is currently being honed at CCAC’s Foodservice, Lodging and Recreation Management program, where she is a sophomore; professors and friends in the track were quick to point out that the show’s portrayal of Wims as something of a villain is not accurate. Congrats to Wims on a strong showing, and here’s hoping we see her running a ‘Burgh kitchen after graduation!

“Rivers of Steel” exhibit looks at Pittsburgh history
It’s said that Pittsburgh was built on steel and water, and an exhibit at Point Park investigates that industrial heritage. Rivers of Steel at Point Park University highlights local artists’ interpretations of the working-class mills and industry that put Pittsburgh on the map, from the bustling heyday of the early 1900s to today. In addition, photographs from current students will be on display, investigating the dilapidated remains of several local mills. And if you’re filled with civic pride, a number of works will be on sale. Rivers of Steel runs through Dec. 30 in the Lawrence Hall Gallery (at the corner of Wood Street and the Boulevard of the Allies); the photographs will be on display in the Lawrence Hall Lobby through Oct. 9.

>>CORRECTION: In the previous edition of Great Minds, we incorrectly characterized Seton Hill’s “Labor of Love, Saturday of Service” event as an initiative of Chatham University. The event, an early-semester day of volunteer service by Seton Hill faculty and students, is, of course, a Seton Hill tradition; Chatham was not involved, yet its name was inadvertently inserted in the newsletter. We sincerely regret the error. For more news from Seton Hill, including the story of four siblings currently enrolled together, visit the university's website.

Categories: Great Minds