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Course & Subject Guides

Entrepreneurship Resources @ Pitt

Information and resources to support multidisciplinary entrepreneurial research and activity.

Business Planning: Why is this important?

It is essential to map out the foundation and next steps for your business ahead of time. Doing this can help you determine:

  • business model and structure
  • the products or services you'll design and sell
  • market and industry viability
  • the customers you want to reach
  • your production, management, and marketing plans
  • key financials including startups costs and projections for earnings and losses

Use the links below to access information and resources to guide you.

Plans and Guides

Pitching and Marketing Resources

Developing a pitch presentation is another important element of starting and sustaining a business. In order to secure funding, outside investors including venture capitalists, angels, or nonprofits, may request a pitch. A pitch is a condensed sales presentation that outlines:

  • Your company and team--what do you do, what do you sell, who is your customer
  • the problem your product or service is addressing with said customers
  • the competitive landscape of your industry
  • your financials including profit/loss projections
  • how you would use the funds

Pitch example from MSNBC's tv Elevator Pitch

Legal Resources

Before registering your business you will need to choose your business structure. Depending on the structure you choose, your tax obligations and asset protections vary. Here are the most common business structures:

  • Sole Proprietorship
  • Partnerships
  • Limited Liability Companies (LLCs)
  • Corporations
  • S Corporation

In order to legally operate your business, you will need to acquire proper business licenses (federal, state and local), file tax paperwork, and research employee/employer laws, business insurance and more.

Pennsylvania Resources

Funding Resources

The Art of Start Up Finance - The Kauffman Founders School

This online course and materials provides a great overview of basic financial concepts important for entrepreneurs. Check out the full details at the link below and watch the introductory video.

There are many ways to help determine whether or not a funder is going to be a potential fit for your needs, idea, or startup. Here are some options:

1. Look up the funder on Crunchbase

2. Check out the funder's website

Look for information on what kinds of projects or startups they are currently working with, or success stories they are promoting.

3. Look for news articles about the funder.

There are many places to search for news articles, including:

Angel investors typically provide money to help small startup companies take their first steps.They are not typically as concerned as venture capitalists with the potential profit they might make from the business. Angels can be family, friends, or strangers.

Below are some options to help you explore or find Angel funders.

What's the difference between Benefit Corporations and Certified B Corporations (B Corps)? In a nutshell, Benefit Corporations are legal, for-profit companies whose purpose is to “create a positive impact on society and the environment” in addition to generating profits. While the purpose of Certified B Corps is similar to that of Benefit Corporations, B Corps are certified by the nonprofit B Lab to “meet the highest standards of verified, overall social and environmental performance, public transparency, and legal accountability."

Here are some venture capital groups that either focus on or support B-Corps/Benefit Corporations:

Crowdfunding allows an entrepreneur to raise money from a large group of people. There are several types of crowdfunding:

  1. In "debt crowdfunding," also know, as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, people loan money with the expectation of repayment plus interest at some point in the future.
  2. In "donation-based crowdfunding," people contribute money usually to support a cause.
  3. In "equity crowdfunding," investors become part-owners of an early-stage private company by exchanging money for equity shares.
  4. In "rewards-based crowdfunding," people contribute money for a reward, such as a finished product or service.

Some popular crowdfunding platforms include:

Government resources that provide funding options in support of innovation and entrepreneurship.

Pitt's Innovation Institute lists various funding opportunities for Pitt faculty, staff, and students. Use the links below to learn more about the different programs (which often include funding and mentorship support) available.

Venture capital is a form of equity financing in which wealthy investors, investment banks, and other financial institutions provide financing to startup companies and small businesses that are thought to have high growth potential.

To look up VCs, try NVCA.

Below is a list of local VC groups, organized alphabetically.