Black entrepreneurs poised for more growth in 2018

The summer was productive for Audryana and Richard Hatcher as they fulfilled their dream of expanding their eatery, Lettuce Eat, into other cities. Their concept is now located in Chesapeake, Virginia, operating under the name of Seven City Salads. Their first venture, Lettuce Eat, is located in the Monroeville Mall Food Court. Originating out of the couples’ quest to lose weight and as a personal desire for quality vegetable and meat options, they consider Lettuce Eat and Seven City Salads as a “fast casual healthy eating” eatery. Using the slogan, “food served fast and fresh,” the menu is inclusive of salads, soups, wraps and fruit bowls. The build-your-own salads offer over 30 toppings. This year the couple has hopes to expand into the Squirrel Hill or Lawrenceville neighborhoods.

CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY BOOMING IN THE REGION—Walter J. Bentley, Minority and Diversity Recruiting Specialist for the JATC, demonstrates fiber optics as a wave of the future.

President and CEO of Bridgeway Capital, Mark Peterson, in November during the organization’s annual meeting announced that $20 million in loans and investments have been made into the projects and people making a difference in Western Pennsylvania. It was reported that over the last five years Bridgeway Capital has made 174 loans to minority-led enterprises and 188 loans were made to women-led enterprises. The organization’s mission is to assist underserved populations by providing capital and education to ignite business and job growth, to develop communities, to support entrepreneurs and to expand vital services that strengthen the region. It is making Western Pennsylvania a thriving region by promoting economic opportunity and community revitalization.
With the goal to assist the 7800 Susquehanna Street building in Homewood regain its position as an economic and cultural hub in a revitalized community, Bridgeway Capital is the owner of the former Westinghouse Electric facility. The first four floors of the building are leased to 21 enterprises including seven craft businesses, five artists and three job training programs, including the University of Pittsburgh Manufacturing Assistance Center. A resource of the Industrial Engineering Department of the Swanson School of Engineering, MAC trains individuals and professionals in precision manufacturing, CNC and CAD/CAM technologies, which provides quality training opportunities in an atmosphere where innovation meets modern technologies.
With the next Electrician’s Selection Test scheduled for Spring and to introduce candidates to opportunities in construction fields, on Jan. 27 the Builders Guild, Pittsburgh Penguins and Master Builders Association of Western Pennsylvania are co-sponsoring a Construction Trades Careers Community Workshop. Designed for people interested in entering one of the Joint Apprenticeship and Training Committee programs offered by members in construction trades, Walter J. Bentley II said: “This is a great time for people, including minorities and women, to be involved in the construction field.”
The Minority and Diversity Recruiting Specialist for the JATC points out that the region’s commercial construction industry is at historic highs and continues to grow. “The need for people with drive and desire to build a sustainable, well-paying career and to help build our region has never been greater.”
The free Construction Trades Careers Community Workshop will take place from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at PPG Paints Arena. Attendees can expect to meet representatives of the Pittsburgh region construction trades and learn about the application and acceptance process into the Apprenticeship Training Programs. Available resources will include Duquesne University Law School—guidance on criminal record expungement; the A. Philip Randolph Institute—information on obtaining a driver’s license or recovering a suspended license; the Energy Innovation Center and Breaking the Chains of Poverty—Pre-apprenticeship programs designed for those who need to improve math, reading and interpersonal skills; Community service organizations who offer programs to help prepare for testing and interviews; and CCAC—Adult education programs.
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