16 Local Minority Food-Based Entrepreneurs Selected for First Catapult Culinary Business Incubator Program
PITTSBURGH, PA (July 2, 2021) The City of Pittsburgh and Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) have announced that 15 local businesses have been selected to participate in the inaugural Catapult Culinary program cohort through Catapult Greater Pittsburgh (formerly Circles Greater Pittsburgh). Catapult Culinary is a 12-month business incubation program for minority food-based entrepreneurs.
The program provides entrepreneurship support to existing minority-owned, food-based businesses, those looking to grow and learn, and/or those who have an interest in starting a food-based business.
The business owners selected for the program are:
- Jewel Edward - Jewel The Baker
- Keyla Cook - Casa Brasil
- Glenn Ford - Season With A Reason
- Shauntel Green - Dirty Birds Chicken
- Darryl Robinson - Catering
- Nckeon Saunders - City Smoke BBQ
- Eric White - PGH_Dumplingz
- Reginald Hudson and Ohnedaruth Swain - Baked Cafe
- Cheyenne Bronzell - Phat Girlz A Cookin
- Terina Hicks - CobblerWorld
- Lisa Freeman - Freeman Family Farm
- Ariana Rueben - Nice to Be Iced Cookies
- Regina Brown - The Fine Feather Inc.
- Gracia Younger - GG Pops
- Nicole Porterfield - Cake Nikki P
Of the 15 enterprises selected, 10 are woman-owned, one is Latino-owned, 14 are Black-owned, and two are veteran-owned.
“Catapult’s expansion of a premiere program for food-based entrepreneurship is an exciting next step in supporting local minority entrepreneurs,” said Mayor William Peduto. “Eliminating barriers for minority businesses and expanding our food and beverage business community benefits all.”
Cohort participants will receive business and technical training and support, including:
- One-on-one mentoring with knowledgeable business consultants
- Participation in monthly educational seminars focused on business and a specialized food-industry curriculum
- Business tools and resources to help their business grow
- Future access to new and innovative commercial kitchen space with Fulton Commons
- Access to the Food 21 Food and Beverage Network
- Access to food packaging services with Community Kitchen
"This expansion of Catapult to include a culinary component is a prime example of how creative partnerships can empower entrepreneurs by providing not just funding, but a whole battery of tools inclusive of resources, training and the technical assistance needed to better ensure success," URA Deputy Executive Director Diamonte Walker said.
Catapult Culinary has also launched a partnership with Giant Eagle, who will assist entrepreneurs with food industry expertise and mentoring with the possibility of in-store product placement and pop-up demonstration spaces.
"We've been conceptualizing the Catapult Culinary program for almost two years now,” said Catapult Greater Pittsburgh Executive Director Tammy Thompson. “Every time we release an application for our Catapult: Startup to Storefront program, we are inundated with applications from food-based businesses. I quickly realized that we needed to develop something specific to that industry and with a strong focus on the local, Black food economy and now we have Catapult: Culinary. I'm very proud of our team and the amazing partners who will be helping us deliver a program that I believe will be life-changing for many entrepreneurs."
“Black entrepreneurs face unique challenges and systemic barriers to small business success,” Lachelle Binion, Director of Entrepreneurship at Catapult Greater Pittsburgh said. “Our goal with the Catapult Greater Pittsburgh - Catapult Culinary program is to continue to create innovative programming, opportunities, and experiences that help break those barriers and ensure systematically disenfranchised communities can achieve economic justice in the area of entrepreneurship and beyond.”
Catapult Culinary is part of Catapult’s entrepreneurial portfolio funded by the PNC Foundation, URA and City of Pittsburgh.