Archive for August, 2011

Young Pittsburgh Shapes Our Future
August 26, 2011

When I came to Pittsburgh in the mid 90’s, the city was in the process of rebuilding and reinventing itself from the closings of the steel mills. It was undergoing the transformation from an industrial city … to one that would become a center for technological advancement and achievement. At that time, I was 27 and the city was not exactly one that catered to the whims of young people. Back then, the strip was where young Pittsburgh partied and played and we were still years from “America’s Most Livable City”.

Fast forward to today and this city has truly has earned a place on the world stage. From technologies to science, Pittsburgh is the place to be. We have hosted everything from the G-20 to Baseball’s All-Star game and major events of all kinds. Part of what is powering the growth of Pittsburgh is a belief that while we have reinvented ourselves, we have done it with a growing population of younger people. Pittsburgh is already a city of schools and universities. Now, with the creation of new business and infusion of new ideas, young people are playing a more prominent role in Pittsburgh’s future.

“Business Bout”: The six young Pittsburgh professionals looking to fund the next big business thing. Part of a growing group of young Pittsburghers helping our city grow.

We have a young mayor and that’s only the beginning. There are many technology start-ups headed by recent college graduates, like a recent company I found that is designing web technology which will allow you order the perfect fitting shoe on the web by virtually conforming it to the shoe you are currently wearing.

Not every creation by younger Pittsburghers is technology-based. I met Dan Desko a couple of years ago. He was one of the founders of Fresh Factory, makers of vintage t-shirts that have both style and a message. They are sold in many boutiques and stores around town and Desko believes Pittsburgh is prime territory for young entrepreneurs. He is not alone.

I recently did a story about six friends, all under 30 and all successful in their fields, who have decided to back up their belief in Pittsburgh with cold hard cash. The six sponsored a contest called “Business Bout“. The idea was find a new or current business idea and fund it with the $5000 they had raised and well as their own expertise. The goal: to make that business a success here in Pittsburgh.

It’s amazing to see what has transpired in this city in the 16 years I have called this region home and it makes me happy to know the city’s youngest residents have played a key role in reshaping the “Steel City”. There’s never been a better time to be young nd be here. Makes me wish I was still 27.

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