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$50,000 in Google funds will boost Pittsburgh minority and immigrant entrepreneurs

A grant from Google will help minority and immigrant entrepreneurs in Pittsburgh bring their business ideas to fruition.

Idea Foundry, an economic development organization in Oakland, won $50,000 from the search engine giant earlier this year in the Impact Challenge.

The agency is using the money to fund a new program, Equitable Entrepreneurship, that over the next year will provide business assistance and loans to 10 fledgling firms owned by minorities and immigrants.

Among them is Aldrea Reese-Brown of Avalon, a black woman who wants to launch what she called a “money mastery” business.

In addition to providing instruction on how to budget and save money, her business would convene support groups where individuals could get feedback and input from their peers who are also trying to learn how to better manage their finances.

For the past two decades, Ms. Reese-Brown has been home-schooling her six children. With the youngest two preparing to finish high school in a couple years, “I am aiming to start a business,” she said.

She earned an MBA from Waynesburg University to help prepare for entrepreneurship and learned of the Equitable Entrepreneurship program while researching funding sources on the Internet.

When she applied, she was relieved that Idea Foundry did not expect her to have a business plan already developed. “They had me do surveys to pull out of me what I wanted to do,” she said.

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