Professional Development
Accelerators / Entrepreneurs / Incubators / Resources / Startups

Resource Roundup: Ascender and LifeX Labs are looking for startups to accelerate

Take advantage of these Pittsburgh resources to kick your biz idea into high gear this spring, from these entrepreneurship hubs to local universities serving student founders and technologists.

Carnegie Mellon University's Scott Hall, with the Cathedral of Learning, located on the University of Pittsburgh campus, in the background. (Photo by Flickr user Cam Miller, used under a Creative Commons license)

Resource Roundup is a look at open applications for business and career-building programs around the region. Want to tell us about a program or new opportunity for entrepreneurs and technologists? Email us at

There’s no better time to get back into gear than the early spring. Or at least, that seems to be the case for some of Pittsburgh’s entrepreneurship organizations.

From startup community hub Ascender to life sciences resource center LifeX Labs to the University of Pittsburgh’s student entrepreneurship programming, there are a lot of deadlines for great opportunities coming up. Whether you have a simple business idea or a detailed commercialization plan, these resources will help you take your startup goals to the next step.

Take a look at these programs and events coming up:

Ascender is taking applications for its business incubator

The org announced that applications are open for its 2022-2023 business incubator, which helps companies grow from the early idea stage to a developed product and business model. The 12-month program will provide 10 startups with one-on-one business coaching, access to a wide network of experts and mentors, $12,000 in business assistance and up to $5,000 in direct funding. Plus, companies in the incubator will have access to Ascender’s coworking space in East Liberty.

The incubator is open to all industries, and the program is not limited to tech startups seeking venture capital. The deadline to submit applications is March 21 at 11:59 p.m. EST.

Apply here

LifeX Labs has applications open for its spring 2022 accelerator

Applications are now open for the spring 2022 LifeX Accelerator, which provides early-stage life sciences and healthcare companies with help in commercialization planning, dedicated mentors and interns, and access to a network of life sciences experts across the world.

The program starts on March 15 and will end on June 9, with virtual group sessions every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon from 3 to 5 p.m. Those interested in applying must have a proof of concept, be in the process of securing any relevant IP, and be working on the commercialization of their business concept in the pharmaceutical, medical device, diagnostic or digital health space.

The deadline to submit applications is Feb. 14.

Apply here

Carnegie Mellon University is launching new online courses in product management and innovation

In a new partnership with online learning company iDesign, CMU’s Integrated Innovation Institute said it would publish a suite of online courses offering certificate programs in product design innovation, technology for product management, methods and tools for product innovation, and new product management. After completing each of the four certificates, participants in the course program will have access to a final capstone that enables students to earn an online master’s degree in integrated innovation for products and services.

“As companies seek meaningful top-line growth to improve their competitiveness, employers are in short supply of professionals with the skill set required to work with diverse teams to design, test and scale new products and service offerings,” said Peter Boatwright, director of the Integrated Innovation Institute, in a statement. “The unique multidisciplinary curriculum will enable experienced professionals to develop the integrated cross-cutting human, design, and technical skills required to take complex — and novel — ideas and translate them into scalable products and services to drive meaningful growth.”

Learn more

CMU will host the fourth annual INTERSECT@CMU Conference

This week, CMU announced that it would host the fourth annual INTERSECT@CMU Conference on Feb. 10 through Feb. 11 to discuss the overlap of business, technology and sustainability. The two-day event will feature keynote speakers and other panelists on topics like resilient and inclusive economies, cities and infrastructure, climate action and more.

Keynote speakers for the conference include former Salesforce co-CEO Keith Block, US Department of Energy Deputy Secretary David Turk and Rockefeller Foundation SVP of Innovation Zia Khan. Past conferences — which began in 2018 but did not take place in 2021 — focused on the long-term societal effects of the pandemic, health care innovation and the future of business, technology and society.

This year’s virtual event is free and open to everyone.

Register here

Pitt’s Big Idea Center is hosting an evening entrepreneurship bootcamp

The Big Idea Center, an entrepreneurship hub for students, will bring together current Pitt students, postdocs or other members of the community for an evening bootcamp on entrepreneurship and innovation.

The two-hour session from 5 to 7 p.m. on Feb. 17 will provide basic information on the startup launch process, free resources available at Pitt, and how to pitch an idea for upcoming competitions like the Randall Family Big Idea Competition (which, by the way, has a submission deadline of Feb. 11 at 11:59 p.m.). The bootcamp will also feature current entrepreneurs in residence to share pitch competition advice.

Register here Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member for Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by the Heinz Endowments.
Companies: Ascender / LifeX / University of Pittsburgh / Carnegie Mellon University

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