Introducing Co-CREATE 2016

We are very excited to announce the Co-CREATE Business Ignition Program. The Pittsburgh Technology Council is launching this pilot creative industries acceleration program with support from Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.

 THE 2017 CO-CREATORS (FROM LEFT) DAVE WECHTER, LORI HEPNER, HEATHER WECHTER, MONICA YOPE, ASHLEY CECIL, CHRISTINE BETHEA WITH CO-CREATE DIRECTOR, KIM CHESTNEY (GINA MAZZOTTA NOT PICTURED)

THE 2017 CO-CREATORS (FROM LEFT) DAVE WECHTER, LORI HEPNER, HEATHER WECHTER, MONICA YOPE, ASHLEY CECIL, CHRISTINE BETHEA WITH CO-CREATE DIRECTOR, KIM CHESTNEY (GINA MAZZOTTA NOT PICTURED)

Kim Chestney, Founding Director of Co-CREATE, has been working to make this program a reality for close to 10 years. As a part of the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Creative Industries Network she feels, “The Creative Industries are such an invaluable part of a city’s ecosystem. Creative cities are vibrant, and innovative. And they are the places people want to live and work. The Creative Industries Network has a mission to support that ecosystem through entrepreneurial empowerment, creative innovation and connectivity,”

Co-CREATE was developed after the team spent over a year meeting with various incubators in thriving creative cities around the nation, including San Jose, Detroit, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco, to learn from their best practices.

Jim Denova, of the Benedum Foundation, believes that, ”The Co-Create program is an innovative way to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit of artists and artisans. It is a critical component of the Creative Industries Network which the Tech Council launched under Kim Chestney’s leadership. The growth of the Network, and its national recognition, clearly demonstrate that the intersection of art and technology, if properly supported, can lead to new business ideas and contribute to the economies of cities, neighborhoods, and small towns  -- wherever working artists call home.”

This program will follow 7 entrepreneurs over the course of 12 months. Their journeys of starting and managing their own business will differ from one another, but the Co-CREATE program will strive to help them each in the areas that are most needed. Each Co-Creator will have access to coworking space, grant opportunities, educational meetings, and contacts that they normally wouldn’t be able to get in front of.  

Who are these Pittsburgh entrepreneurs embarking on this journey with us?