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Startable Pittsburgh • Empowering Young Entrepreneurs • Creating the Innovators of the Future!

Startable Pittsburgh

Pittsburgh, PA
Startable Pittsburgh™ is a free program that teaches high school students entrepreneurial and maker skills. Students work in teams to design, prototype, build, brand, and market products of their own creation. Participants earn a stipend, keep all profits from their products, and pitch for more funding at our final event.

What is Startable Pittsburgh?

“My favorite part of the program was having the ability to work freely and decide what I wanted to make, all while having the guidance and resources to go above and beyond my initial thoughts of my products.”

Storm, Startable 2019 Participant

Startable Pittsburgh™ is a program of Innovation Works, which provides free business startup programming for teens and access to our nationally ranked accelerator communities, facilities, mentors, and founders. Our curriculum encompasses the philosophies of Lean startup methodology and the engineering design process. 

Startable teens gain a wide rage of skills through the course of the program and beyond. Participating students will learn electrical, mechanical, computer, and industrial engineering basics from experts in the fields. They gain experience forming equitable partnerships, managing meetings, creating and executing project timelines, and budgeting.

Together participants create a prototypes, product packaging, and marketing materials. They then sell, present, network, and acquire further funding for their businesses. The program culminates in a final community event, where friends and family can see product demonstrations and cheer on the competitors in the Pitch Competition.

All of this amazing work is built on the foundation of community. Working in several locations, with many community entities allows for students to continue tapping into local resources and utilize these long after the program ends.

The support students receive during the program includes cash stipends, lunch and snacks, transportation, supplies, tools, networking connections, and potentially more cash investment. Beyond these, returning students can benefit from internship opportunities and our Alumni in Residence program. 

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Innovation Overview
12 - 18
Age Group
Tips for implementation
Startable provides free programming, bus passes, meals, and stipends to youth participants who are recruited from under-served communities in the Southwestern Pennsylvania region. This includes populations of young women and minorities and students who would not otherwise have access to prototyping resources and technology training. Teachers and community leaders who participate as mentors in our program, receive a stipend, which includes development time to build on their areas of expertise. They join the large network of mentors who help deliver our curriculum and serve the young entrepreneurs in our program. The Startable program is foundation funded and supported by community partners. We are always looking to expand our partnerships and scale our program for greater impact.
Contact information
Staci Offutt

See this innovation in action

Pitch Practice Makes Perfect
Startable Final Event and Pitch Competition
Students Become Mentors
Making and Breaking Molds
Design Studio
Learning to Code
2018 Pitch Competition Winners and Esteemed Judging Panel


Achievements & Awards


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