Idea Foundry Chosen as Winner of Google.org Impact Challenge: Round 2 Public Voting Continues

On February 21st, Idea Foundry was chosen as one of four winners of Google.org's Impact Challenge Pittsburgh, which aims to support non-profits working to create economic opportunity in the region.

March 9, 2018

The other winning organizations include Community Kitchen Pgh, Landforce, and Prototype PGH. Each of the four winners will receive a grant of $50,000 and goes on to participate in a round of public voting from February 28th through March 14th. A single winner will be chosen from the four organizations to receive an additional $50,000. Voting for Idea Foundry can be found here: https://impactchallenge.withgoogle.com/pittsburgh2017/charities/idea-foundry-pgh

This grant helps Idea Foundry support their new Equitable Entrepreneurship Program, which was launched on February 22nd, following the public announcement of the Impact Challenge Winners. The EE Program is designed to specifically support entrepreneurs from groups which are often underrepresented in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. More information on this program is available on the Equitable Entrepreneurship Program Page. The first batch of applications will be accepted from March 15th to April 15th.

“We are very excited to start this new chapter at Idea Foundry and are especially happy to have the support of an organization like Google, whose technology is already breaking down barriers and leveling the playing field for entrepreneurial activity,” says Mike Matesic, President and CEO of Idea Foundry. Groups which face unique challenges and barriers still have a large part to play in the entrepreneurial space. For example, immigrants are more than twice as likely to start their own business than non-immigrants and over 40% of Fortune 500 list for 2017 were founded or co-founded by a first or second generation immigrant. This proclivity towards entrepreneurship is not just seen in immigrants. Babson College’s Global Entrepreneurship Monitor reported that in 2015, African Americans were developing new businesses at a higher rate than whites. However less of these ventures were becoming established businesses, revealing a retention problem. The EE program aims not just to address barriers to entry, but to provide the expertise needed to help entrepreneurs grow their companies sustainably.

The EE Program will provide Idea Foundry’s signature, individualized and hands-on business development help to Minority and Immigrant Entrepreneurs from across our region. The cornerstone of this program is, not surprisingly, being “equitable,” which is why this program will accept business ideas from its widest pool yet, including traditional small businesses and idea stage innovations. The EE Program also promotes region-wide economic opportunity and is not focused on any particular neighborhood or community. In an interview with Lian Bunny from the Pittsburgh Business Times, Mike said, “Even the definition of minority or immigrant is quite flexible, because really what we’re hoping to do is incentivize and encourage people to pursue things they’ve been thinking about as a business but not sure if anyone would support or believe them.” Idea Foundry's goal for the EE Program's first year is to support 10 immigrant or minority led companies.