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BUSINESS: Grant Competition Announces Awardees

Posted by Elwin Green on July 19, 2013 at 12:45 AM

Neil Dorsey, owner of Dorsey's Records, which has been at the same location for 67 years, speaks at the Urban Innovations21 awards ceremony last night, as Dan Taylor, of PNCBank, listens.

Urban Innovation21, a public-private partnership created to help disadvantaged communities in Pittsburgh participate in the city's economic resurgence, announced $70,000 in grants to Homewood-based businesses last night.


The total was divided evenly into two categories of awardees - startup businesses and existing businesses.


In the startup category, the winners were



  • Lively Roots, Linsey McDonald, owner - $10,000
  • Homecare Sustainability Solutions, Keir Wells, owner - $10,000
  • Uncle Mike's Sandwich Shop, Michael White, owner - $10,000
  • Hajj Media, Jomari Peterson and Walter J. Lewis, owners - $5,000



The existing businesses that received grants were



  • East End Notary Etc., Yolanda Hill, owner - $10,000
  • Dorsey's Records, Neil Dorsey, owner - $10,000
  • Lady D's Mini-Market, Steven Dent, owner - $10,000
  • Jones Printing, Denise Jones, owner - $5,000



In order to participate in the grant competition, first announced in October,  business owners had to submit business plans after attending a series of classes that UI21 conducted at the Homewood Carnegie Library earlier this year.


In his opening remarks, UI21 Ceo and President Bill Generett paid tribute to the community of Homewood by noting that the agency's first grant competition, conducted for Hill District businesses, attracted some 30 participants. Based on that, he expected no more than 60 participants in the competition for Homewood-based businesses.


When some 80 business owners signed up, "That moment alone proved to us that there is a deep-seated entrepreneurial spirit in this community," he said.


A mix of businesses owners, political figures and community members came out for the event, held at the New Greater Pittsburgh Coliseum. Councilman Ricky V. Burgess, Councilman Bill Peduto, and County Executive Rich Fitzgerals all made remarks. Majestic Lane, senior executive assitant to state Sen. Jim Ferlo, was also present.


The awards ceremony was preceded and followed by periods set aside for networking, during which some of the competition participants exhbited at tables.

In his acceptance speech, Neil Dorsey, whose business, Dorsey's Records, is in its third generation of family ownership, gave his fellow entrepreneurs a reality check that could weed out those who perservere from those who don't.

"After 67 years, it doesn't get any easier," he said. "Honest."

Categories: Business

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Reply Jomari Peterson
2:25 PM on July 19, 2013 
I would like to add that Hajj Media is not just me. I am one of the Co-Founders. Walter Lewis is also a founder.
Reply Elwin Green
2:32 PM on July 19, 2013 
Noted and changed. Thanks!
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