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URA Announces First URA Ventures Main Street Cohort

Press Release
September 8, 2022

PITTSBURGH, PA (September 8, 2022) The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA) announced today that its URA Ventures Pilot has closed on its first cohort of Main Street investments: Hazelwood Cafe LLC, Blanket & Board LLC, and Live Fresh Cold Pressed Juice + Smoothie Bar. 

"The Ventures Pilot is the type of program we need to address the inequities in the business community when it comes to access to capital for MWBE companies," said Mayor Ed Gainey. "Congratulations to this first cohort of minority and women-owned businesses. I look forward to your future success, and I applaud the good work the URA is doing to uplift and support our entrepreneurs in our great city." 

URA Ventures is an early stage, diversity-focused fund, seeking to invest in companies within the City of Pittsburgh. The program’s objective is to change the face of entrepreneurship by making strategic investments, and by accelerating access and availability of capital to historically disadvantaged small businesses, while creating quality jobs and spurring economic growth. The URA announced the social impact pilot in March 2022.   

Part of the URA Ventures Pilot suite of programs, Main Street Ventures provides revenue-based investment in the start up and growth of local, neighborhood serving small businesses.

“We are excited to welcome this first cohort to the Main Street Ventures program,” said URA Deputy Executive Director Susheela Nemani-Stanger. “These businesses and what they are doing for their communities align with the mission of the Ventures program as well as the URA’s work. We are looking forward to helping these passionate and creative entrepreneurs advance their companies.” 

“It’s important to note that all three of these companies are 100% MWBE, setting the standard for future cohorts,” said URA Business Solutions Administration Assistant Alissa Monette.

Hazelwood Café, located at 5017 Second Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15207, is a coffee shop, specializing in African coffee and its history. 

"We contribute to the community one cup at a time by serving Single-origin African coffee, from ethical sources."  

Blanket & Board, is an award-winning event planning company that provides pop-up, luxury picnics in the city of Pittsburgh. Services include charcuterie boxes, setting up picnics in Pittsburgh’s parks, and catering private events. 

"With the current COVID-19 crisis, Blanket & Board provides a space for people to come together safely to engage in socialization and self-care. As a minority-owned business, we also want to create safe spaces where people of all backgrounds can feel welcome, seen, and heard.” 

Live Fresh Cold Pressed Juice + Smoothie Bar, with locations in Homestead and the Northside, is designed to deliver the most refreshing and nutritional experience through their 100% natural and 100% tasty cold pressed juices, fresh fruit smoothies, and signature açaí + smoothie bowls.

“Here at Live Fresh, we believe that consumers have the right to expect healthy options in a market full of fast food, while balancing daily responsibilities and routines. Creating healthy food options creates better communities and is a crucial part of the balance of growth and well-being of our community.” 

"I’m excited to see the Ventures program moving forward," said URA Board Vice Chair and Councilman R. Daniel Lavelle. "The program is designed to provide numerous benefits including wealth building and economic stability opportunities in communities where it is needed the most, particularly Avenues of Hope corridors. Congratulations to this first cohort!"

More information will be provided at the URA Board of Directors virtual meeting this afternoon, Thursday, September 8, at 2:00 p.m. Board meeting information can be found here.


About the Urban Redevelopment Authority of Pittsburgh (URA)
The URA is the City of Pittsburgh's economic development agency, supporting the City’s economic development goals, which are designed to create a city of inclusive opportunity for residents, stakeholders, and communities. The URA is committed to creating more housing that is affordable to the average Pittsburgher; encouraging more entrepreneurship and small business development; promoting inclusive growth and quality job creation; expanding neighborhood and main streets revitalization efforts; and developing a talented workforce that is equipped with the skills of the future.

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