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Pittsburgh's Innovation Works: Facts You Need to Know about Build Back Better

Facts You Need to Know about Build Back Better

The White House announced that the Pittsburgh region has been awarded $62.7 million in Build Back Better funding to help support innovation and economic growth. Innovation Works is proud to be partnering with the Allegheny Conference, Carnegie Mellon University, Catalyst Connection, the ARM Institute, the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission, InnovatePGH, the Pittsburgh Robotics Network, and others to help foster the region’s growth. Innovation Works is leading the Applied Robotics Startup Factory, one of 5-interconnected initiatives designed to strengthen and build our robotics and autonomy ecosystem into a world-leading center for innovation and commercialization.

Here are the important takeaways about the project IW is leading:

  • What it is: The Applied Robotics Startup Factory is a multi-layered accelerator that will provide support to entrepreneurs from early ideation, through company formation and into large-scale growth. In the Formation stage we will foster partnerships between industries, academia, and entrepreneurs to define market needs and develop a minimal-viable product. During the Launch stage we will provide a series of one-on-one engagements with industry experts to create stronger entrepreneurs with focused solutions. The Growth stage will provide deep manufacturing assistance, supported by our production-grade prototyping shop, to drive the demand for parts to be produced by our local manufacturers.

“Our region has a rich manufacturing history and is a global center for technology. These funds will help us build both of those strengths together creating new and dynamic relationships for both parties.” — Rich Lunak, Innovation Works’ President and CEO
  • Why is it important: The Applied Robotics Startup Factory will help grow our region’s robotics and autonomy startups and connect them to local manufacturers for mutual growth. By leveraging local suppliers, startups will have greater control over their supply chain while helping to grow the local ecosystem. The Robotics Factory will promote a manufacturing-centric mindset which will accelerate the transition from concept to scale with local manufacturers.

“Manufacturing is a critical capability for many companies, especially in robotics and autonomy. Partnering with local suppliers enables startups to leverage those manufacturers’ years of expertise resulting in superiority. By working locally product development can be greatly accelerated through close interactions. We are excited to build and scale this model which will showcase the strength of our technology and manufacturing not only in this Pittsburgh region but around the country.” — Mike Formica, Innovation Works’ Managing Director of Hardware and AlphaLab Gear
  • How does it foster growth: The Factory will foster an industry-first mindset supported by our region’s deep network of subject-matter experts. These startups will go to market faster with more focus which will increase their success rate and sustainability. Strong market traction will increase external investment opportunities, further fueling regional growth. Innovation Works is supplementing the $12M EDA award with $3M in matching funds plus an additional $4M in investment dedicated to supporting local robotics and related technology companies.

“IW has been a continuous resource for our region’s startups to get to their next stage of growth. We are excited to be able to amplify BBB by providing the funds solely dedicated to startup investments.” — Rich Lunak, Innovation Works’ President and CEO
  • Commitment to Diversity: IW is committed to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in all of our programs. We are excited to be teaming with our other regional partners to support their increased pathways to entrepreneurship and job creation. The Startup Factory will build on those efforts to provide additional opportunities through our collaborations.

“This is an exciting time for IW and the region! All of this activity drives job and financial creation which benefits our entire ecosystem. This will allow us to reach individuals in all communities while demonstrating equity throughout the region. That’s the foundation for future growth that benefits the entire community.” — Kelley Benson, Vice President, Human Resources & Inclusion

Build Back Better is an amazing opportunity for our region and we are happy to play a role in supporting startups and manufacturers. More details regarding Build Back Better, the Applied Robotics Startup Factory, investment dollars, and the DE&I initiatives will be coming in the future. Stay tuned for more information.

Congratulations to the Pittsburgh region!


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