Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
MAYOR RAVENSTAHL, THRILL MILL TO PRESENT WINNER OF $25K 'BUSINESS BOUT' AWARD FOR BEST STARTUP IDEA
(PITTSBURGH) Feb. 13, 2013 Mayor Luke Ravenstahl today will join Thrill Mill in announcing the winner of the 2013 Business Bout award - Thrill Mill's annual business plan competition that awards grant funding to the best startup idea. This year’s winner, Project Aura, will receive a $25,000 grant from the Urban Redevelopment Authority's (URA) Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, and will join the first class of companies to occupy the City’s newest incubator, the Hustle Den. The Hustle Den offers one year of free office space and support to startup teams. The build out for the 5,000-square-foot space was funded by a $150,000 URA loan, which leveraged $750,000 in funding awarded to Thrill Mill, Inc. from an anonymous foundation. The event will take place at 6 p.m. at 6024 Broad St., East Liberty.
"The City's new Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship has allowed us to identify and support opportunities - like the Business Bout award and the Hustle Den - that align with our ongoing efforts to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs, and to establish Pittsburgh as a top destination for startups and new business creation," said Ravenstahl. "We are pleased to support Thrill Mill, and look forward to celebrating the future success of Project Aura and the entire first class of the Hustle Den."
After receiving over 150 entries for Thrill Mill's Business Bout competition, finalists were judged by a panel that included members from the Hustle Den's board of directors, the URA and the anonymous foundation. Project Aura is a Carnegie Mellon University spin off company created by two undergraduate engineering students, Jonathan Ota and Ethan Frier, whose product is a bicycle lighting system that aims to reshape bike safety. Business Bout funding will allow them to expand from an idea to formation and early commercialization activity.
“We are very excited to play our part to work within and positively impact the growing innovation ecosystem in Pittsburgh,” said Bobby Zappala, Thrill Mill cofounder. “By focusing on young, often idea-stage businesses across all industries, Thrill Mill fills a gap in our region's current incubator offerings, encouraging those who might otherwise leave Pittsburgh to pursue their dreams of building their own business right here instead.”
Project Aura will join the first class of startups to occupy the Hustle Den, which actively seeks entrepreneurs across all industries to enable collaboration and interaction across a variety of skill sets and disciplines. Those interested in joining the Hustle Den next year can contact Zappala at email@example.com for more information. The current list of companies making up the first class includes:
ABOUT THE URA’S CENTER FOR INNOVATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP (CIE)
The CIE was created through Mayor Luke Ravenstahl’s PowerUp Pittsburgh initiative with a mission to ensure effective collaboration among government and the Pittsburgh region’s innovation, technology and entrepreneur communities to drive job growth in Pittsburgh. The Center works to achieve this mission by leveraging partnerships to execute high-impact programs and projects, including:
ABOUT THRILL MILL, INC.
Thrill Mill, Inc. is a nonprofit organization that encompasses a business plan competition, a business incubator space and a music festival. The purpose of Thrill Mill is to create an organic, self-sustaining cycle of entrepreneurial growth that will invigorate the strong entrepreneurial core of students and professionals, generate new businesses and jobs in the Pittsburgh region, thus attracting new investors and ultimately creating a cycle of innovation that will drive Pittsburgh as the next generation matures.
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Office of Mayor Luke Ravenstahl
512 City County Building | 414 Grant Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15219
telephone: 412-255-2626 | facsimile: 412-255-2687