Team Spotlight: Jason Jones

This summer we are going to spend some time highlighting our team, their accomplishments, and simply what makes them cool people to work with. We are starting with Jason Jones, our Director of Entrepreneurship, who leads our Equitable Entrepreneurship program as well as spearheads efforts to conduct community outreach, partner with community groups, and identify new forms of funding for underserved entrepreneurs.

May 22, 2019

What makes Idea Foundry tick is its team of passionate individuals who complement each other’s skill sets and interests to make a dynamic environment. This summer we are going to spend some time highlighting our team, their accomplishments, and simply what makes them cool people to work with.

We are getting the ball rolling with Jason Jones, our Director of Entrepreneurship, who leads our Equitable Entrepreneurship program as well as spearheads efforts to conduct community outreach, partner with community groups, and identify new forms of funding for underserved entrepreneurs.

Jason, with EE participant Vickey Giddens of Vickey's Soul Grill and meet with Penn State's Mon Valley Launchbox in partnership to support Vickey's business

Jason joined the Idea Foundry team in the fall of 2018, but you certainly wouldn’t think that he has been here for less than a year as he has become an integral part of the team. Jason has a strong background in banking and alternative funding, but what sets him apart is his dedication to meeting people where they are and making sure that anyone is able to understand the complexities of choosing support resources and managing their business effectively. This definitely comes from Jason’s love of teaching - a dream job he got to fulfill this year teaching a business class at CCAC. You can also see this as he works hands-on with each of our EE participants.

In addition to working directly with the EE clients, he is also passionate about spreading awareness of available resources, both our own and others, to help small businesses owners at every stage of their journey. A couple months ago, he partnered with Dr. John Wallace and Own Our Own, to hold two Entrepreneurship in the Community events at Everyday Cafe in the Homewood, providing a casual environment to for people interested in starting a business to receive information about local resources and ask questions. Based on the success of those two events, he conducted a similar session during the City of Pittsburgh’s Inclusive Innovation Summit this year. Most recently, he partnered with Kiva Pittsburgh, the URA, and Honeycomb Credit to discuss their small business resources in the Pittsburgh Community Reinvestment Group’s Summit earlier this month. Earlier this year he also sat on Coro’s Entrepreneurship in All Colors panel, recounting his experience with equity in entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh. Joining Jason at community events is always fun because you get to experience his deep involvement in the community through an almost constant stream of hugs, fist bumps, and high fives from old friends and new ones. It isn’t hard to understand why he was named part of the New Pittsburgh Courier’s Fab 40 this year and part of Pittsburgh Magazine & PUMP’s 40 Under 40 in 2017.

Al Sharpton and Jason following an NAACP dinner

While he has lived in other cities, he grew up in Pittsburgh and is definitely a Pittsburgher at heart. Did you know Jason also has an entrepreneurial background? He ran a hair salon in Pittsburgh for 4 years as well as an entertainment company. When he isn’t working, you can probably find him hanging out with his three kids. A foodie traditionalist, his favorite food is eggs and bacon or his mom’s pancakes. Arguably Idea Foundry’s flyest dresser, make sure to keep an eye out for Jason continuing to support economic and community development through entrepreneurial empowerment here at Idea Foundry.