Urban Innovation21: Building Up Entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh, PA
Leeretta Payne is the owner of Legacy Café, leading entrepreneurship in the community she grew up in, the Hill District. The Hill District is a historic community in Pittsburgh, PA which was once known nationally for its vibrant culture, literary scene, jazz, and successful businesses. Growing up, Leeretta worked in Eddie’s Restaurant and experienced the food industry while engaging with the community. Unfortunately, since then, Eddie’s restaurant and many other Hill District businesses have closed, decreasing the number of jobs in the community, but a few new businesses have opened.
The Legacy Café is a mobile café catering company. It was the first business endorsed by Urban Innovation21 and had a story so compelling that it was fully funded within 24 hours. Leeretta was able to purchase cooking materials and equipment upon receiving the loan. Most recently, she has catered City of Pittsburgh-Allegheny County events and continues to gain additional business based on referrals.
Scott Thomas-Tunstalle of Power 59 Construction is the tenth entrepreneur to be endorsed by Urban Innovation21 for a Kiva Zip loan and is currently fundraising a $5,000 loan. Power 59 Construction offers renovation and repair services for residential and commercial properties in the Pittsburgh region. Scott is a Hill District business owner looking to employ residents from the community while providing quality and reliable work to all clients.
These are just two of the ten business owners that Urban Innovaton21 has endorsed for a Kiva Zip loan since March 2013. Nine of the loans have been fully funded for a collective total of $35,500, and one is fundraising currently. Urban Innovation21 is proud to have reached the status of Tier Three Trustee - the first in Pennsylvania and the eighth in the United States. In addition to endorsing businesses for Kiva Zip loans, Urban Innovation21 provides clients with a range of other services, including pro bono legal services from Reed Smith. One of our flagship programs is a community-based grant competition that includes business workshops as well as the potential to win a grant.
Urban Innovation21 greatly appreciates the ongoing support of Kiva Zip and its international community of lenders for the business owners we serve, and we hope you will consider lending to Scott today.