Urban Innovation21 Transitions its Programs to Riverside Center for Innovation

New partnership between the organizations will provide additional opportunities for startup companies in Pittsburgh’s underserved communities


Pittsburgh, Pa. (August 8, 2018) – Urban Innovation21 (UI21), a unique public-private partnership that has supported the growth of entrepreneurship within Pittsburgh’s innovation economy for more than a decade, today announced that it is transitioning its inclusive innovation programs to Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI).

Since its inception more than 10 years ago, Urban Innovation21 has offered programming to support and help grow more than 150 startup companies that have established their operations within Pittsburgh’s underserved communities, including investing more than $10 million of tax credit and early-stage grant funding into these businesses and their communities.

Urban Innovation21’s inclusive innovation programs include education, mentoring, networking, and entrepreneurship support, as well as a paid internship program utilized by more than 800 students, including 40% African Americans and 60% women.

With this recent announcement, all Urban Innovation21 programs and staff will shift to Riverside Center for Innovation to expand the scope of an evolving partnership relationship that has existed between the two organizations since the inception of UI21. Because both organizations offer complementary programs and services within underserved communities, its leaders say that strengthening and integrating the relationships between the organizations will provide additional synergies and economies of scale.

“As a consortium of local government, corporate, non-profit, and charitable organizations, Urban Innovation21 is built upon the belief that an inclusive innovation economy is key to increasing regional competitiveness and sustainability,” said Scott Lammie, board chairman of UI21. “This more integrated services model with Riverside Center for Innovation will further leverage the scope, scale, and reach of both organization’s programs and services for the benefit of our entrepreneurs, residents, and their communities.”

Juan Garrett, executive director of Riverside Center for Innovation, said he welcomes the addition of Urban Innovation21’s Inclusive Innovation Programs to RCI’s family of services, adding, “Urban Innovation21’s programs and personnel will complement and enhance the scope and reach of services that Riverside Center for Innovation is currently providing to aspiring entrepreneurs within our underserved communities, including the Hill District, Homewood, and the Northside.”

For more than 25 years, Riverside Center for Innovation has been creating entrepreneurial change in Pittsburgh by providing business resources for minorities, women, and veterans who want to start, sustain, and grow their businesses.

Initiatives such as RCI’s “Diversify Pittsburgh” program help to connect businesses, consumers, and nonprofit organizations with contracting opportunities to certified diverse entrepreneurs in the City of Pittsburgh and across the 10-county region. RCI also hosts supplier diversity programs that serve the construction industry, veterans, and healthcare organizations.

Riverside Center for Innovation’s efforts have resulted in more than $500 million of regional economic impact while creating and sustaining more than 3,500 jobs over the past two-and-a-half decades.

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About Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI):  The Riverside Center for Innovation provides low-cost leasing and a wide variety of services like consulting, office support, technology training programs, aid in commercial real estate transactions, business plan preparation, and more. Founded in 1992 with the goal of fostering small business growth, RCI works with clients as a business “work tank” that incubates businesses, provides them with resources, and helps them become successful in areas such as accounting, public relations, risk management, research, and help with real estate ventures.


About Urban Innovation21 (UI21):  Urban Innovation21 is a consortium of local anchor institutions, government, corporations, non-profit organizations, and charitable foundations. This unique public-private partnership supports the growth of entrepreneurship in Pittsburgh’s innovation economy and connects that growth to underserved communities and the residents who live in those communities. Programs in the UI21 portfolio include the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone Program, Urban Innovation21 “Inclusive Innovation” Internship Program, Community-Based Grant Competition, Inclusive Innovation Equitable Development Program, Kiva Pittsburgh, and the Citizen Science Lab.