Grantee Spotlight | Allies On The Ground | BizFIT Construction Training Program

Aug 30, 2017

A grant from Neighborhood Allies supported the BizFIT Entrepreneurial Construction Training Program, which trains disadvantaged and minority business owners in operating their construction-based business from start-up to becoming a prime contractor. 

BizFIT is an initiative of the Riverside Center for Innovation (RCI) that combines strategy, connections, and expertise to enable disadvantaged construction entrepreneurs to grow sustainable enterprises by identifying their strengths and weaknesses, looking at their capabilities, and evaluating the market place to see how they fit into the industry. Using an educational program developed by RCI, in collaboration with the University of Pittsburgh Institute of Entrepreneurial of Excellence, support and resources are provided to DBE’s at every stage of their business development–from exploration of entrepreneurship as an option to opening the doors for the first time to development–to the development of a detailed plan to grow the business.

  • Tier 1: Power to Prosper – Managing Long-term Growth and Success
  • Tier 2: Roadmap to Success
  • Tier 3 Establishing a Winning Business Plan

With Neighborhood Allies support, over 40 MWDBE firms were trained on the necessary tools and skills that better qualify their business enterprises in bidding, hiring, bonding, use of technology, front/back office support, mentoring and managing growth. The participants completed either three (3) months or six (6) months of educational workshops in conjunction with University of Pittsburgh Institute of Entrepreneurial of Excellence, through its Power to Prosper and New Business New Beginnings curriculum. Along with those intense workshops, participants have become 10/30 hour OHSA certified, Lead Based Paint Certified, Contractor’s Bond Educational Trained, and perhaps most importantly, they understanding to how properly bid and estimate a project. Other achievements include:

  • 75% of the graduates are bidding contractors with local firms and/or individuals seeking work with MWDBE firms
  • Over 16 part-time jobs have been created in hopes to leading to full-time positions
  • Leveraged an additional $242,500 in funding for the program

Under this three year initiative, RCI is starting to recruit its next cohort of BizFIT participants for the Fall of 2017, which will newly offer HUD Section 3 Business Certification! Registrations are currently being accepted–visit the Riverside Center for Innovation Website to register!

Top Header Image Photo Credit: Prototyping Larimer Stories by artist John Peña, photo by OPA