Ben Kamber

It’s round two of the “Business Bout” and this time the prize is seriously bountiful.

What began last year as a project of several young Pittsburghers, the “Business Bout” business plan competition has blossomed into a $25,000 funding opportunity for the next great idea in our region. Any entrepreneur across all industries is eligible to compete as long as your business currently brings in less than $1 million in revenue. All that’s needed is a two-page submission outlining your plan and the people moving it forward. Oct. 31 is the deadline for submissions, which can be sent to

But the deal gets even better. Thanks to a $750,000 grant from an anonymous donor, the “Business Bout” is launching a 5,000-square-foot incubator in East Liberty. Called the “Hustle Den,” the space will offer the top 40 “Business Bout” entrepreneurs a place to call their own. This is an incredible opportunity for any up-and-comers who hunger to get their idea off the ground and perhaps make it big. Once you send in your “Business Bout” submission, you’re in the running to snag some space at the “Hustle Den.”

College Prowler’s Luke Skurman, one of the founders of the “Business Bout” and the “Hustle Den,” appeared on WPXI’s Our Region’s Business. Check out his interview below and head over to for more information on how to enter the competition.

Cassie Buseck
Buy Pittsburgh First Founder Chantel Goldstrohm.
(Photo Courtesy Pittsburgh Business Times)

There’s power in a purchase. Chantel Goldstrohm urges you to use it wisely.

Goldstrohm is the founder of BuyPittsburgh First, an organization working to connect local industrial suppliers and service providers with other businesses in the region. The goal, she recently explained on WPXI-TV’s Our Region’s Business, (see video here or below) is to keep B2B dollars in the Pittsburgh region, helping individual companies to thrive and spurring overall economic development.

Buy Pittsburgh First is hosting an expo on Thursday, Oct. 11 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the carpenters union’s training center in Robinson Township. The free event will offer participants opportunities to connect in a tradeshow setting. Sustainability Strategist, Scott Zintz will speak at 11:30 a.m.

Buy Pittsburgh First is supported by the Pittsburgh Impact Initiative. That’s an effort by the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance to help a unique subset of high-growth firms to thrive. Research indicates such companies are helping create 60-80 percent of all new jobs in the Pittsburgh region, job creation which is helping to bolster the overall economy.

You can register for the expo here.

Bonnie Pfister

It’s less than two weeks until more than 1,000 emerging leaders from around the world gather in Pittsburgh for the first One Young World summit to hit U.S. shores. Ages 18 through 30, these delegates will spend Oct. 18-22 tackling issues around education, public health and the role that businesses can play in fostering sustainable development and social justice.

Designed for OYW 2012 by Pittsburgh-educated Burton Morris

As the region gears up to host these guests, it’s worth remembering that Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center has already hosted more than 10,000 bright young people from around the globe in 2012. That includes more than 8,500 engineers and student members of the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE), and the world’s largest pre-college science research competition.

That gathering, the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), showcased cutting-edge research and inventions by more than 1,500 students from 70 countries. Among those who earned a place at the competition were seven Pittsburgh area students. ImaginePittsburghNow caught up with four of them during the fair. You can watch video interviews here or below with Natalie Nash of Vincentian Academy in the North Hills, Chareeni Kurukulasuriya of Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill, Robert Vaerewyck of St. Joseph High School in Natrona Heights, and Andrew Lingenfelter of Seneca Valley Intermediate High School in Harmony.

It’s not just young visitors who are finding their way here. Increasingly educated newcomers – and boomerangers — in their 20s and 30s are building their careers, making their homes and building their lives in what used to be one of the oldest population centers in America. Pittsburgh has jobs, and is a place big enough to have fun, but small enough to be affordable and to allow you to feel like you’re making a difference  – in innovation, business, research, the arts and more. To stay abreast of what’s happening, sign up to get our blogposts directly into your email via RSS feed, find us at and follow us on

Natalie Nash of Vincentian Academy in the North Hills


Andrew Lingenfelter of Seneca Valley Intermediate High School in Harmony


Chareeni Kurukulasuriya of Allderdice High School in Squirrel Hill


Robert Vaerewyck of St. Joseph High School in Natrona Heights


Spied recently at the Learning Express in Cranberry: Good Night, Pittsburgh.

Riffing on – but apparently not affiliated with – the wildly popular Goodnight, Moon, it is one in a series of children’s board books heralding places across North America in hopes of “instilling an early appreciation for the continent’s natural and cultural wonders… starring a multicultural group of people visiting the featured area’s attractions and rhythmic language guides children through the passage of both a single day and the four seasons while saluting the iconic aspects of each place.”

Others include Good Night, New York; Good Night, New Orleans and – in Spanish – Buenas Noches, Estados Unidos.

Featured in Good Night, Pittsburgh are dreamy depictions of our region’s three rivers, parks, museums, zoo, aviary, sports teams, Cathedral of Learning and the Pitt Panther.

Check it out, young Pittsburghers!

Phil Cynar
Elected officials and community members gathered for a ceremonial ribbon cutting to open the new Pittsburgh International Airport in October 1992.

Getting to Europe and beyond – without the potentially unpleasant hassles often associated with using major east coast hubs such as New York and Philadelphia – will continue in 2013 on Delta Air Lines from Pittsburgh International Airport (PIT).

Delta announced this news on Oct. 1 at a news conference that was part of the 20th anniversary celebration of the airport.  Additional regional media coverage is available here.

The nonstop flight from PIT to Charles de Gaulle will continue until Oct. 25.  The flight will then be on seasonal hiatus due to a decrease in leisure travel in the winter months.  It will resume at five-day-per-week service in May of 2013.  Details on 2013 service will be available here in mid-October.

Having a nonstop flight to and from Europe is critical to the Pittsburgh’s region’s status as a major center for international business.   The Allegheny Conference on Community Development – alongside other key partners and members of the regional business community – worked to secure the return of nonstop air service to Europe from Pittsburgh in 2009.  Regional business and leisure travelers are encouraged to use the flight whenever they can to help ensure that it’s retained.


Southwestern Pennsylvania’s expertise and ability to address water-relatedneeds are creating business opportunities both at home and abroad.

Such opportunities are detailed in a report by water, environmental and engineering experts from Carnegie Mellon University. It was released Sept. 27 at a conference at ALCOA’s headquarters on the North Shore. Click here or on the slideshow below to see photos from that event.

Conference sponsors the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance and Sustainable Pittsburgh also announced creation of a Water Economy Network of business, academic and non-governmental organizations to advance regional water innovation, leverage market development opportunities and solidify southwestern Pennsylvania’s competitive advantage while addressing water challenges here. The Pittsburgh Regional Alliance (PRA) is a 10-county coalition that markets the benefits of doing business in southwestern Pennsylvania, and assists companies looking to relocate or expand here. Sustainable Pittsburgh builds coalitions to integrate economic prosperity, social equity and environmental quality for communities and businesses.

Dennis Yablonsky, CEO of the Allegheny Conference on Community Development (of which the PRA is an affiliate) noted that Pittsburgh’s signature rivers differentiate the region.

“These abundant supplies of water are important to industry and commerce, but the preservation of them as natural assets is equally critical,” Yablonsky said. “Pittsburgh is globally recognized for investment in striking this balance, and we’re driving innovation related to the sustainability and security of water. We already have a foundation of firms – 3,000-plus strong – with the potential to identify and operate as a regional water cluster.

“And there’s room for more,” he added. “The implementation of the report released today and the formation of the WEN can help existing businesses access new water-related opportunities and will encourage new business ventures and job creation in a cluster that embraces supply and treatment, components, services and transportation related to water. This will position the Pittsburgh region to be a national center for excellence for the water industry overall.”

Jeanne VanBriesen, director of CMU’s Center for Water Quality in Urban Environmental Systems and a report co-author, said, “In developing the Sustainable Water Innovation report, we collaborated with a cross-section of regional stakeholders to evaluate past successful projects relating to water to identify criteria for future sustainable and innovative projects.

“The demonstration projects presented in this report help set the path towards distinguishing our region as a leader in water innovation and address water challenges here, while leading the way for other regions,” she added.

Eight projects from four broad areas were identified as potential tasks for a regional water innovation consortium, including:

(1) energy development and water management;

(2) navigation infrastructure, monitoring, and water security;

(3) stormwater and green infrastructure; and

(4) regional watershed and drinking water interactions.

The full report, Sustainable Water Innovation Initiative for Southwestern Pennsylvania can be found at  Pittsburgh’s H2Opportunity: An Assessment of Southwestern Pennsylvania’s Water Sector can also be found at this website.

Photos from the Sept. 27 conference: