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Resource Roundup: Here’s where to find free startup advice in Pittsburgh

Start the new year right by consulting these six entrepreneurship resources in the city, outside of accelerators.

Bakery Square, one of Pittsburgh's main tech business districts. (Courtesy photo by Walnut Capital)

This editorial article is a part of Startup Health Month of's 2022 editorial calendar.

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

Looking to grow your startup on a budget?

The Pittsburgh tech community has plenty of free resources to get you started. While the city offers a host of accelerators and dedicated aid for the area’s university students and alumni, there are also plenty of options for the general public to maintain and improve startup health. While this list has room to grow, there are signs that pathways to innovation are becoming more available to Pittsburghers of all backgrounds and education levels, bringing the benefits of the tech industry’s growth to everyone. will cover plenty of other startup-geared resources in the area as part of our Startup Health Month, but this list of free ones are enough to get anyone off the ground. Plus, don’t forget to check out our monthly Events Roundups to keep up on the latest goings on in Pittsburgh tech.

Innovation Works Startup Recipes

Early stage investing firm and startup hub Innovation Works released a set of “Startup Recipes” in November as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week. Included in the package were 20 actionable guides to the sometimes overlooked sides of building a business, including advice on creating a positioning statement, building a website and gathering early customer feedback. Though not a comprehensive guide to launching and growing a startup, the guides are a free and helpful tool in checking in on the minutiae of a young company.

Free resources from Ascender

The combination coworking space, incubator and entrepreneurship community offers a wide range of resources for its members and the general public alike. While only members are able to access the physical space for work, there are plenty of events and other programs that Ascender offers for entrepreneurs at all levels. Most notable are the organization’s monthly workshops, which featured focuses on financial planning, mental health, ecommerce, branding and more throughout the last year. For each month’s theme, Ascender hosts webinars and posts relevant resources. This January’s theme is “Stand Out Online,” which includes webinars, interactive workshops and guides on website content and SEO, all of which can be found here.

Riverside Center for Innovation

The small business incubator and economic development agency offers programming and resources for entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and industries to grow their ideas. The center’s programs include ties to the Diversity Business Resource Center, Kiva Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Central Keystone Innovation Zone and CoLab 18. The website also offers its own resources for boosting and business and for maintaining business health through the setbacks of the COVID-19 pandemic.

RustBuilt Pittsburgh

While RustBuilt Pittsburgh hosts some of its own events and programming, much of the organization’s website is devoted to providing a hub for resources and other activity across the Pittsburgh tech community for interested founders. By gathering news, resource links, events, job postings and more, RustBuilt Pittsburgh helps both budding and established founders find what they need from the Pittsburgh tech community. You can find all of the guides and resources on Pittsburgh startups and more here.

University of Pittsburgh Small Business Development Center

Similar to other small business development centers hosted by universities across the country, this one at the Pitt provides area entrepreneurs with information on business growth and the local economy. With resources posted for assistance across intellectual property, human resources, business plans, finances, management, market research strategies and more, the center is a one-stop shop for new founders looking to learn the basics of starting a company. Even as you hit a growth stage, these resources and other connections the center provides, can help you check in on the health of your company along the way. Also worth checking out for more resources is Duquesne University’s Small Business Development Center.

OneValley Pittsburgh Entrepreneurship Platform

Last summer, global innovation platform OneValley launched its presence in Pittsburgh with a new innovation space at Hazelwood Green as well as an online hub for local entrepreneurship and innovation. While that online platform is still in its early stages, it so far includes a message board, event postings, a knowledge base of resources and mentors available for connection. All of that is free to access once you make an account through the website, which also offers access to Amazon Web Services, Zoom, Airtable and more.

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: RustBuilt / Ascender / Innovation Works (Pittsburgh) / University of Pittsburgh
Series: Startup Health Month 2022

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