After completing its first round of workshops in 2016, New Sun Rising is ready to embark on Ignite Northside 2.0 in partnership with The Buhl Foundation.

The first version of Ignite Northside focused on engaging emerging leaders and entrepreneurs on the Northside, and aimed to help launch and grow innovative community projects and local businesses to develop plans of action and a supportive network. Over 55 Northside projects and businesses benefited from the first Ignite Northside installment.

Ignite Northside 2.0 still encompasses the same mission, but Project Manager Ebony McQueen-Harris said the second installment is definitely “more ramped up and intense” compared to the first series of workshops.

“This level of [Ignite Northside] focuses on developing more resilience in the community in a sense,” McQueen-Harris said.

During Ignite Northside 2.0, participants will partake in weekly one-on-one Entrepreneurial Training Sessions that are specifically customized to each person’s needs, and there will be Leadership Development Workshops held monthly that will focus on strengths and overcoming challenging created
by weaknesses. There will also be quarterly networking events to create connections between peers and mentors.

The workshops will last a total of 10 months, beginning in February and ending in November, and will be targeting a total of 30 participants. McQueen-Harris said even though Ignite Northside 2.0 began on February 22, NSR does not want to turn anyone away.

“There is an emphasis on commitment, and creating a more customized one-on-one consultation for participants,” McQueen-Harris said. “You can be at any stage in order to participate in 2.0.”

Workshops will be held at various locations around the Northside, including The Pittsburgh Project, Alloy 26, Café on the Corner, and the Young Men and Women’s African Heritage Association. McQueen-Harris said Ignite Northside wants to highlight the spaces within the community that entrepreneurs are able to utilize, whether they are resources or support, community members “have these physical [work spaces] in and around the Northside.”

There will also be two events during the program where participants can showcase their businesses and projects through a Business/Project Demo and Skill Swap. These public events will create an atmosphere where Igniters can share their business plans with the community and receive useful feedback.

“Through a successful pilot year launching place-based incubators in the Northside, Millvale & the Hilltop, we helped 75 new projects & businesses launch & grow in their communities,” says Scott
Wolovich, executive director of New Sun Rising. “We strongly believe that delivering training and support at neighborhood-scale not only creates economic impact, but strengthens networks which build the community.”

“This year,” Wolovich said, “we are excited to implement the Ignite Northside program with Ebony and her team. The relationship continues to be a shining example of how local hiring strategies can create stronger outcomes while directing financial investments to benefit the neighborhoods we serve.”

The schedule for workshops is as follows: February 22 at Pittsburgh Project; March 15 at Pittsburgh Project; April 5 at Pittsburgh Project Sanctuary; May 30-location TBD; June 8 at Young Men and Women’s African Heritage Association; July 26-location TBD; September 7-location TBD; November 29-location TBD. All workshops are held from 6-8 p.m.

For more information, visit www.newsunrising.org/ignite-northside-2-0-blog or email ebony@newsunrising.org.