A new $660,000 business incubator that opened in a new second-floor space in Pittsburgh's Beechview neighborhood last fall is up and running, executive director Guillermo Velazquez said.
In the last three years, the Pittsburgh Hispanic Development Corporation has helped more than 70 small business owners get their ideas off the ground, offering help with business and marketing plans, licensing, permitting, payroll and taxes. Velazquez said the new office inside the Beechview Healthy Active Living Center on Broadway Avenue gives people a safe space to meet with experienced staff.
“We basically go through a two-hour session," he said. "We make projections on how much they think they’re going to be selling in a day, in a week, in a month and in a year. We help them understand whether the business will make money in its first year.”
Velazquez said setting up a small business can be challenging for Latino entrepreneurs who aren't native English speakers, especially all the planning, paperwork and legal documentation.
“We want to make sure they go through a transformation; knowing how to make decisions, understanding physical and financial resources in order to make their business successful,” he said.
Success means more jobs for the neighborhood, he said, and a contribution to the community well beyond just expanding the tax base.
The incubator is funded in part by Allegheny County and Pittsburgh's Urban Redevelopment Authority, as well as the Richard King Mellon Foundation.