Immigrants Make Up A Fraction Of Pittsburgh's Population, But The Economic Contribution Adds Up

Sep 12, 2018

Immigrants comprise 3.4 percent of the Pittsburgh region’s population but are collectively much more likely to be entrepreneurs than native-born Americans.

What resources are available to budding businesspeople? What could further encourage their entrepreneurial spirt? What might better benefit newcomers and the community as a whole?

Brazilian-born food entrepreneur Keyla Nogueira Cook; Gene Leyzarovich, originally from Russia and the founder of Advanced Computer and Network Coporation; and Ketaki Desai, who came from India and was recently named director of growth capital for tech nonprofit FORTYX80, join The Confluence to talk about the challenges and successes to starting and promoting small businesses from the immigrant perspective. All three will speak this week at the second annual All for All Summit starting Thursday.

Elsewhere in the program, Allegheny County Airport Authority CEO Christina Cassotis explains how consumer flight data can help inform how relationships with other airports and airlines should be pursued.

International flights to and from Pittsburgh should be sustainable long-term, she says, and points to recent success bringing British Airways back after a 20-year hiatus. Dublin could be next, but "we'd love to get London secured, started, successful before we bring in another European service," she says.

Cassotis also offers an update on the proposed $1 billion aiport renovation and credits the authority's board of directors -- despite recent concerns that at least two members invested in a startup airline now being sued by the authority -- for much of the support and success enjoyed so far in her three-year tenure.

Later, reporter Allegra Battle introduces a new youth orchestra in Wilkinsburg championing the steelpan drum, and 90.5 WESA's Katie Blackley pays tribute to Pittsburgh rapper Mac Miller, who died in Los Angeles last week at the age of 26.

The Confluence, where the news comes together, is 90.5 WESA’s daily news program. Tune in weekdays at 9 a.m. to hear newsmakers and innovators join veteran journalist Kevin Gavin, taking an in-depth look at stories important to the Pittsburgh region. Find more episodes of The Confluence here.