Connections the World Over

Fostering connections across the globe widens perspectives, increases creativity and collaboration, and enables local innovation to address global challenges. Attracting global talent and capital to our region supports Pittsburgh as a global hub.  From supporting a diverse team here in Pittsburgh to forging relationships on the other side of the globe, we build global bridges.

Global Collaboration

Fostering connections the world over

Idea Foundry is engaged in global collaborations between industry professionals, students, investors, and families. Our services are adapted to support economic development in the local region and the development of innovation and societal impact across the globe.

Global Bridge Projects:

Initiatives in China

We partnered with VisitPittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance to form two initiatives,  FriendlyPittsburgh and FriendlyPA. With a focus on the Chinese market, we introduce education, tourism, business and investment, real estate opportunities and assets within the state of Pennsylvania. 

Market Access for Innovation

Idea Foundry hosts global visitors seeking access to U.S. markets in order to help them establish a Pittsburgh presence. We import innovations to our region through relationships with economic development organizations throughout the world.

Foreign Direct Investment

Idea Foundry owns and operates the Pittsburgh Regional Investment Center (PRIC), focused on bringing investments from around the world to Pittsburgh-based projects.
The PRIC offers investment opportunities to foreign investors seeking permanent residency in the United States.

Solving World Problems from Pittsburgh

Our globally-focused companies

Many of our companies have rooted themselves in the Pittsburgh region but offer technologies and solutions across the globe. The world’s most pressing problems are found across all corners of the globe, such as the availability of clean water, accessible energy, health services, and affordable housing. Our companies are working towards solving those problems and more. Here at Idea Foundry, we are proud to be situated in Pittsburgh and have seen first-hand what Pittsburgh has to offer for the international community.

Some Global Changemakers

Thread International

Based in Pittsburgh, Thread’s operations spark economic development and sustainability in Haiti and Honduras. Thread’s idea came from observing the large amount of discarded water bottles from aid packages in Haiti and the desire to help this country become less reliant on aid. Thread’s concept was to use recycled plastic from these bottles to create usable thread for clothing and accessories. Thread implemented their idea in Haiti and its success has led them to create similar efforts in Honduras as well.

Mexico Collaboration

Idea Foundry has launched 4 startups across Mexico by extending Idea Foundry’s expertise and guiding them through business development services. These companies work in the fields of housing, education, and healthcare. We also developed relationships between universities and economic development organizations, helping to support Mexico’s economy.


Solinius is one of Idea Foundry’s accelerator portfolio companies which offers portable solar energy kits to provide solutions to energy access problems. Through Idea Foundry’s global network, we were able to set up a connection between Solinius and a representative from the Democratic Republic of Congo. After an initial meeting and discussion, they reached an agreement for Solinius to launch a pilot project, bringing affordable energy solutions to this part of Africa, where access to reliable energy is limited.


The idea behind Module Housing came about after the CEO traveled through South America and saw the need for affordable housing solutions across the globe. Module offers economical houses which start at a small size and are expandable in various ways to fit the needs of the owner as these needs develop over time. Module sees a future for housing that is adaptable to meet the needs of people throughout the globe.

What Others Have Said

“We felt so pleased to meet [the Idea Foundry team] in Wuhan. The team is formed by young people with energetic action, passion, especially strong beliefs, dreams, and entrepreneurial spirits. We are very fortunate to cooperate with them on the Wuhan Education Expo and welcome FriendlyPA program to be exhibitors introducing Pennsylvania as an educational destination!”

Sherry Zhang
Director of China (Wuhan) International Education Exhibition Committee

“[The] FriendlyPA team is professional and dedicated. Every member of Beijing Invisible Wings organization, myself included, is very thrilled and fortunate to have [the] team as our strategic partner in building an education link between Pennsylvania and our schools in Beijing.”

Bin Chen
Beijing Invisible Wings Education

“The Idea foundry team is helping RMU build important connections with students in China. They have invested a great deal of time getting to know our University, and providing insight into the most effective ways for us to recruit Chinese students who are a good match for our school. They have been responsive, creative and proactive in their approach. I am very encouraged by the progress we have made to date and look forward to increasing RMU’s Chinese student enrollment through this partnership.”

Kellie Laurenzi
Associate Vice President, Enrollment, Robert Morris University

“I can feel that FriendlyPA team is sincere to people, and is truly thinking about the clients. I respect your mission, and believe we share the same values as well.”

Father of Chinese student applicants

“Working with FriendlyPA has solved our many problems and helped us make more rational decisions. It was my great pleasure meeting [the] FriendlyPA team.”

Mother of a high school applicant from Chengdu

“From the beginning, FriendlyPA/Idea Foundry has demonstrated a clear commitment to getting to know about Cal U, our priorities and goals. Throughout the year, FriendlyPA/Idea Foundry communicates their plans, initiatives and specific opportunities for Cal U’s benefit and collaboration. Their detail-oriented approach is thorough and comprehensive.”

Elizabeth Bennellick
Director of International Programming, California University of Pennsylvania