Making Black History: Lower Hill Technical Assistance Partner, Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI)
This year, the Lower Hill Redevelopment celebrates it's third year of teaching in Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI) BizFit program, a multi-level course to assist business owners with planning, achieving and managing the long term success of their business. As the premier community economic development agency for minority-owned businesses in Pittsburgh, RCI serves as a technical assistance partner for the Lower Hill Redevelopment and a trusted resource for MWBE's to find tips and tricks about how to grow their business.
Hear more about the work of RCI with the Lower Hill Redevelopment from Executive Director, Juan Garrett in the brief Q & A below.
How did you get involved in the Lower Hill Redevelopment project?
I got involved in the Lower Hill Redevelopment by working closely with the community groups and the elected officials to provide back office technical support to Black, Indigenous, (and) People of Color - BIPOC businesses with the end goal of getting them to do work on the many development projects.
What is your role in the project? Today, we provide technical assistance to DBEs, assist in locating capital and build capacity to grow their business for this project but others in the region.
What impact will your work have on the project? We hope that the impact that RCI provides will increase minority participation with increased revenues and hiring of qualified workforce, so that our firms can go on their own to work on other small and major construction projects in the region. If we can get this right, RCI is changing the livelihoods of entrepreneurs and the employees in communities where we live.
Why is this work important for the Hill District and especially the Black community? To me its important because this project will have a long lived story that we can model for other cities and told for decades - the success of a project that benefits all, that was inclusive and equitable to underserved residents.
Do you have any words of wisdom you'd like to share? I do not look at most things as adverse. I see them as a challenge, that I need to come up with a solution that works. It's easy to be adverse but its hard to come with a solution that we all can agree that all gain something. Then being able to build off that solution for the future.
What organizations are you a part of or passionate about? Why?
I have to say I'm very passionate about the work that RCI is providing regionally. I think we have a great family environment that has been created with our staff, each of our clients that we worked with over the years, our funders and networks that we work with to be successful and rewarding. This is hard work and I cannot do this alone. I think RCI is just one small part of a support system to make change in the region.
About RCI Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI), established as the North Side Industrial Development Company in 1983 and now doing business as Riverside Center for Innovation, is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the City of Pittsburgh’s North Side. RCI is proud to be one of the region’s premier community economic development agencies. RCI is the leading and most comprehensive, full-service small business incubator, targeting women, minorities, veterans, LGBTQ, and other disadvantaged ventures in Southwestern Pennsylvania. RCI provides a single point of contact for our target business owners seeking information to start, sustain and grow their business.
RCI helps pre-venture, startup, and existing businesses acquire the tools needed to overcome barriers that may impede growth for small, diverse businesses. We accomplish this by offering: