Pittsburgh Technical Council

Introducing Co-CREATE 2016

Introducing Co-CREATE 2016

Article Published: October 20, 2016

We are very excited to announce the Co-CREATE Business Ignition Program. The Pittsburgh Technology Council is launching this pilot creative industries acceleration program with support from Claude Worthington Benedum Foundation.


Kim Chestney, Founding Director of Co-CREATE, has been working to make this program a reality for close to 10 years. As a part of the Pittsburgh Technology Council’s Creative Industries Network she feels, “The Creative Industries are such an invaluable part of a city’s ecosystem. Creative cities are vibrant, and innovative. And they are the places people want to live and work. The Creative Industries Network has a mission to support that ecosystem through entrepreneurial empowerment, creative innovation and connectivity,”

Co-CREATE was developed after the team spent over a year meeting with various incubators in thriving creative cities around the nation, including San Jose, Detroit, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, San Francisco, to learn from their best practices.

Jim Denova, of the Benedum Foundation, believes that, ”The Co-Create program is an innovative way to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit of artists and artisans. It is a critical component of the Creative Industries Network which the Tech Council launched under Kim Chestney’s leadership. The growth of the Network, and its national recognition, clearly demonstrate that the intersection of art and technology, if properly supported, can lead to new business ideas and contribute to the economies of cities, neighborhoods, and small towns  -- wherever working artists call home.”

This program will follow 7 entrepreneurs over the course of 12 months. Their journeys of starting and managing their own business will differ from one another, but the Co-CREATE program will strive to help them each in the areas that are most needed. Each Co-Creator will have access to coworking space, grant opportunities, educational meetings, and contacts that they normally wouldn’t be able to get in front of.  

Who are these Pittsburgh entrepreneurs embarking on this journey with us?











Christine Bethea, GA/GI Festival

“When Pittsburgh was voted one of of America's most livable cities, I took the cue to move forward with my dream of expanding opportunities for local artists.”

Ashley Cecil, Artist

"A deep love of nature coupled with my keen interest in painting led me to turn my studio practice into a business of making artwork and handmade goods of flora and fauna."

Lori Hepner, Artist

“It was only in the past few years when I began to realize that being an exhibiting artist WAS a business, which seems so obvious in retrospect.”

Heather and Dave Wechter, tribepool

“Our hope and inspiration is that tribepool will propel carpooling into the everyday routine of families, and that this new standard of transportation will strengthen our communities.”

Monica Yope, Pop Craft

“It is very rewarding to me when I get to see people take pride in their own creative handiwork, especially when I can help inspire them.  That’s why Pop Craft’s mission is to ignite people’s creativity.”

 Gina Mazzotta, Milner

“I fused my new training with experiences and contacts I gained while working in the Fashion Industries in both Pittsburgh and New York and embarked on a new journey.”  

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